UBS Leverages Technology to Deliver improved application performance optimization in its Premium Client Service

UBS is an organization with a clear vision – they aim to be the pre-eminent global integrated investment services firm. UBS intends to attain this goal by applying the same winning formula that has made it one of the world's leading providers of private banking services and one of the largest asset managers globally.

In the highly competitive worldwide financial services market, UBS achieved its current market leadership by combining its formidable financial strength with innovation in offering premium quality services, and by utilizing innovative technologies to support those superior services.

UBS operates in over 50 countries and from all major international financial centers. To better serve its clients, UBS augments its physical presence around the world by offering leading edge online services, as well. This combination of service delivery options lets UBS clients worldwide benefit from the reliance on technology that complements the company's advisory services and allows UBS to deliver services faster, more widely and more cost-effectively than ever before.

Embracing Change - Exploring New Solutions

UBS prides itself on a corporate culture that embraces change. A major element of this is its drive to continually expand and improve service offerings through new technologies. To explore new technologies and how they might apply to UBS, the organization relies not only on the efforts of its headquarters IT departments in Zurich and Basel, but also taps into the technical expertise of the IT professionals in many of its offices around the world.

By empowering its IT resources around the world to experiment, UBS is able to proactively identify the newest and best technology-based solutions that it can then leverage to better serve clients worldwide.

The IT group at UBS Luxembourg takes their charter to explore new technology solutions very seriously. Recently they embarked on a quest to find a better way to manage the interactions of some of their integrated business-critical applications. They searched the Internet and discovered Nastel's AutoPilot for WebSphere/MQ product.

A New Level of Control

The application environment at UBS Luxembourg is typically complex, comprised of a variety of disparate systems including Sun Solaris and OpenVMS, as well as NT platforms for staging and testing. UBS made the strategic decision at the corporate level to standardize on IBM WebSphere MQ middleware as the backbone for integrated application environments enterprise-wide, so the diverse platforms in the UBS Luxembourg shop are all linked via WebSphere MQ.

The challenge facing the Luxembourg IT team was managing the myriad application process interactions traversing their WebSphere MQ network to ensure maximum application uptime and availability. Monitoring all of the transaction flows closely, troubleshooting and correcting problems was difficult and time-consuming.

The team believed that what they needed was a mechanism to automate the process, ideally one with a centralized point of control. They were aware that there were middleware management technologies out there in the marketplace, so they set about to secure the best solution for their WebSphere MQ-driven environment.

"We were intrigued when we started reading about Nastel's software products on their website," said Agostino Spigarelli, associate director at UBS Luxembourg. "The capabilities of AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ sounded like exactly the feature set we were hoping we would be able to find. It looked like it would give us the unified global view of our entire environment that we needed."

"The most crucial criteria in our decision process, though, was that only AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ would integrate with NerveCentre, our Enterprise System Management implementation," added Agostino. "It is mandatory for us to be able to send SNMP traps to our NerveCentre control products over AutoPilot, and it performs this critical task flawlessly."

Rapid and Painless Implementation

"Nastel was very responsive when we contacted them," Agostino continued. "They immediately provided us with all the information we asked for, including references. When we decided to go ahead with a trial, we had a CD in our hands within 2 days so that we could get started on the implementation without delay."

AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ is so robust, reliable and straightforward to use that the UBS IT team has not required any assistance from Nastel technical support since the implementation was completed.

A Valuable Addition to the Infrastructure

Before adding AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ to their IT infrastructure, the process of completing the system testing of applications on the NT platforms and then moving them into the production environment was quite difficult. AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ lets the team simply export the current configuration to a file before moving in a new application. If a problem occurs with the new application, they can instantly auto-restore the previous configuration to keep the rest of the systems running as before.

Not only does AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ make changing things easy, it also takes the tedium and guesswork out of managing the interconnected processes of the integrated applications in their production environment. It monitors all processes in real time, and instantly detects any problem that needs attention, visually alerting administrators with the exact nature and location of the problem, wherever it may be in the network.

"We especially appreciate the visual display of the AutoPilot interface," commented Agostino. "It gives us a global view of all processes as they happen, and its green and red color-coding shows us at a glance the status of any process. This saves us a lot of time we would have spent before watching over all of the different systems and tracing the paths of messages to find the source of a problem."

In addition to the intuitive display, the AutoPilot interface also provides simple point-and-click options that make it extremely easy to configure and browse channels, routes and queues. The IT team no longer has to contend with cumbersome MQSeries commands to accomplish these common everyday functions.

"When we started looking for tools to help us manage our application environment, we hoped to find a solution that would make our lives a little easier. AutoPilot for WebSphere / MQ has given us more control over our MQSeries environment than we imagined was possible," concluded Agostino. "Now we can let AutoPilot keep an eye on our processes and feel safe that things are running as they should be. It's great to be able to feel confident that our employees are getting the information they need to do their jobs, and that our customers are getting the quality of service that they have come to expect from UBS."