Case Study: Austin Bank Expands, Leverages New Virtual Environment

Peter Melerud (Profile)
Tuesday, May 17th 2011


Austin Bank is a family-run bank with 30 locations in 21 cities and 10 East Texas counties. The bank has undergone exceptional growth due to recent mergers while its online and mobile banking operations have also grown based on increased customer traffic. 

Austin Bank's goal is to build a strong Internet customer service capability and, consequently, implemented load balancers to manage its increased traffic and maintain high availability of web infrastructure. 

A Commitment to Excellence

Stability and trust are important aspects of the Austin Bank mindset and that extends to its IT infrastructure as well. The company has virtualized everything in its datacenter, except for the mainframe, to simplify application management. One of the goals for the 110-year old bank is to “increase customer loyalty through lasting relationships by providing exceptional service, innovative products and services,” which extends to application delivery and uptime.

To support its most recent growth, the bank purchased load balancers from KEMP Technologies - Virtual LoadMaster (VLM) and LoadMaster DR to work in conjunction with the existing physical boxes. Load balancing is required to direct traffic to the best performing server at the time of a given request. Moreover, if one server suffers an outage, the load balancer can dynamically and seamlessly reroute traffic to another server without any disruption. It also optimizes the performance of Web and application infrastructure providing high availability, high performance, flexible scalability and secure operation, all of which are on Austin Bank’s list of priorities for customer service.  Austin Bank has known KEMP products for quite awhile. It first purchased KEMP’s hardware-based LoadMaster application delivery controllers in 2005.

In addition to its hardware appliances, the bank decided to deploy a virtual solution in order to simplify its network architecture and to keep its external traffic separate from internal traffic.  Austin Bank has virtualized almost everything in its data centers to reduce total cost of ownership and improve flexibility in being able to handle problems without taking equipment offline. Through virtualization, the bank is also benefitting from reduced usage of electricity and air conditioning. They do not have to worry about overloading circuits. While at one time, virtualization was feared, it is now much appreciated. The bank is able to upgrade gear easily and to test new equipment by downloading trial versions. The key benefit of virtualization, according to Austin Bank, is “flexibility” and "better use of resources."

The external traffic from bank customers is now being handled by KEMP’s virtual load balancer, the VLM. The VLM is KEMP’s software version of its server load balancer, running in a virtualized environment. The VLM eliminates the power and maintenance cost associated with a physical server, not to mention the energy costs associated with running it.  Using a virtual machine, Austin Bank can avoid having to take a server down to do maintenance.  Online banking traffic is heaviest in the evening, a time of day during which maintenance tasks are usually scheduled therefore it is not conducive to doing scheduled maintenance on physical servers or the network in the evening.