Leading Investment Bank Enhances Digital Services with Modern Storage

Facing new competition and regulation, one of Europe’s largest investment banks doubled down on its digital transformation to stay competitive and explore emerging technologies.

As disruptors flood the investment banking market unburdened by the same weight of regulations that govern the sector, established players are realizing that they will either live or die by the capabilities of their IT infrastructure.

That’s why they’re doubling down on digital business models. Leading the way is one of Europe’s largest investment banks, which has partnered with Pure Storage® to build its business and culture around a modern storage platform and data-driven decision-making.

After years of planning and strategic investments, including the decision to shift its data workloads to the public cloud, the company put an exclamation point on its transformation in 2020. It has not let up since, capping 2021 with stronger digital services, stronger financial results, and most importantly, stronger relationships with its investment banking customers.

With Evergreen//One™, underpinned by FlashArray™ and supported by Pure Professional Services, the bank is now on a journey to consolidate and automate its storage, helping it to depend less heavily on external partners to service its data center. Evergreen//One is central to the bank’s cloud migration, allowing it to seamlessly migrate data between its on-premises and cloud-based systems. Moreover, the ability to scale storage on demand ensures it can migrate and modernize its legacy systems quickly while reducing storage costs, both in terms of capacity and upgrades.

Modernizing the Virtual Infrastructure with Future-ready Storage

Like many established financial giants, the bank has a huge virtual infrastructure. While virtualization is a modern technology, the underlying storage was not, making it inflexible and complex to manage and causing regular performance issues.

That’s where we came in. Pure replaced the bank’s legacy storage with powerful and flexible FlashArray devices that now fuel its virtual machines. Pure has a whole host of integrations for virtual environments, allowing for automation of common tasks, which reduce administration costs and also help protect against human error.

The bank is also becoming more agile each day by reducing its dependence on legacy storage partners. The ability to automate its storage at pace has empowered the business to scale instantly rather than waiting months for an external supplier to complete the task, which means it can spin up new development environments in just days. In practical terms, this has led to a significant increase in storage speed, faster time to market for IT-driven customer services, and a dramatic reduction in costs.

In fact, the company reduced its storage footprint by 94%—from over 1,200 rack units to just 75 units—with Pure. In addition to simplifying data management by orders of magnitude, this consolidation brings significant savings as external partners generally charge banks by the rack units and power they consume.

It is also contributing to the bank’s efforts to operate more sustainably—cutting emissions while gaining performance, speed, and flexibility. The bank is intently focused on reducing its carbon footprint, joining initiatives like the UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which makes these efficiency gains even more impactful.

A Solution Tailored for Growth and Governance 

The bank is now looking ahead to the major challenges and opportunities that will define its success in the coming years: digital innovation and disruption made more complex by evolving and overlapping regulatory directives. As big tech players and digital-native fintechs continue to inundate the market and cut into the revenues of established banks, Pure’s all-flash storage as a service will be foundational in two ways.

First, it brings transparency to the bank’s data processes, simplifying compliance. Secondly, it helps to foster collaboration and the flexible deployment of data-driven and cloud services, positioning it to move and scale as quickly and nimbly as digital disruptors. To date, the company has already upgraded more than 70 arrays through its Pure Evergreen™ subscription, with more on the horizon. Instead of a traditional forklift upgrade, Pure was able to upgrade the bank’s controllers with no interruption to its service, which has translated to a 25% performance improvement.

Added peace of mind comes from Pure Professional Services, which is delivering the bank’s entire migration to Evergreen//One, including storage arrays, applications, and data. The team’s goal is to accelerate the bank’s cloud and as-a-service plans. Committed to a firm completion date, Pure Professional Services took a strategic approach to the migration, starting with arrays that took up the most space and caused the most maintenance issues to help the bank achieve immediate benefits. Meanwhile, the bank’s IT team has been freed up to focus on the strategic elements of its cloud transformation.

Building on a Pivotal Moment

As the bank continues to shift its IT workloads to the public cloud over the next four years, the focus of its partnership with Pure is now on freeing up IT resources for innovation and achieving a faster time to market for new services. With use cases spanning its customer experience, data failover processes, and everything in between, the bank sees Pure as a long-term partner that will help it achieve its cloud ambitions.

Failover processes became a priority for the bank after one team had to manually fail over 4,000 virtual machines in a single weekend. Having now automated its failover processes with Pure, the bank expects to leave those kinds of experiences in the past.

This is just one of many wins to come. With our help, the bank has set itself up to deliver speed and reliability at scale, and its rollout is still in process. The successes it has enjoyed so far have created a sense of excitement across the business, with teams already thinking about additional ways to modernize their approach to data, from active clusters to data recovery.

A telling sign of the bank’s commitment to innovation and success so far is that it is in the enviable position of hiring new investment banking talent to fuel its growth at a time when many are doing everything they can to stay lean.

Digital talent in particular will help the business to roll out emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), which promises to help reduce costs and risk, improve efficiency, and help customers make better investing and lending decisions. At the core of these enhancements is smarter storage infrastructure that allows the bank to ingest data and scale capacity across a variety of workloads.

This marks a turning point for one of Europe’s most respected investment banking institutions. Our role at Pure is to help the company simplify every aspect of its storage and data management so it can spend less time managing legacy issues and more time serving customers. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we look forward to building from here.