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State Street Bank links LANs on FDDI.

As State Street Bank rolls out an DDI backbone ring on its North Quincy, Mass., campus, the key word is redundancy.

The bank, which caters to mutual funds and institutional investors, carries vital financial information among its network of domestic and international offices.

Once the backbone is complete, it will create one large local area network, providing access through Cisco routers and Eicon gateways to the corporate mainframes in North Quincy.

"We'll connect LANs in every location that wants to get onto the backbone. We'll just connect the LAN to the router, so once you're on the backbone you can talk to the Eicon gateways," says Eric Rosenberg, senior telecomm analyst in the Global Network Services Division.

State Street's executive offices are in Boston's financial district, and it has offices in several U.S. locations as well as in London, Sydney, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Those offices are linked by T1, leased lines, and a variety of other communications links.

The company has more than 8,000 employees worldwide, about 6,500 of them in the Boston area. Its single largest site is the four-building North Quincy campus.

Rosenberg says there are about three dozen LANs in the company, most of them using a token ring topology running Novell NetWare, with some Ethernet and one large Ungermann-Bass LAN Manager network.

"We have a number of LANs that have been installed in different places. As gateways were needed, they were just put in on a departmental basis," Rosenberg says.

"Our organization was historically somewhat decentralized, so individual departments could purchase different products. A task force last year evaluated SNA gateways and 3270 emulators to come up with a standard for the backbone. We decided on Eicon SNA gateways."

With the gateways, State Street guarantees its users' data gets through by running dual sessions with the IBM ES9000 or 3090 hosts.

"If you need one host session, you'll get two. We're going to give them in pairs," Rosenberg says. "If for some reason something should 'happen to the gateway with your primary host session, you'll still have another gateway with another session on it, so you've got that built-in redundancy.

"Nothing is going to be 100% foolproof, but we're going to be a lot closer."

State Street is putting the gateways for everyone on the network in a single location, its computer center.

"There will be no reason to put the gateways out in the departments" Rosenberg says. "A benefit there is in the administration and maintenance of the gateways.

"Not only are they centrally managed, but the LAN administrator doesn't have to become an expert on the gateway. There are some administrators who are very technical and it's a full-time job for them, but there are others who have administration of their LAN as one of their many duties. They may not have the time or desire to learn the details."

The strength-through-redundancy strategy calls for at least a pair of Cisco routers in each major location. Smaller offices will likely have a single, small router.

Also in some of the smaller, remote locations the gateway approach is passed over in favor of the 3270 emulation software, Access for Windows, with a direct 802.2 token ring connection. In that approach, each workstation serves not only as the logical units but as a physical unit as well.

Rosenberg says the backbone-gateway approach--up to 150 logical units can be served by the gateway physical unit--is especially effective for smaller departments that might not have the money to go out and buy their own gateways.

"Now they can just tie in;' says Rosenberg. "Even a medium-sized department that would have gone out and bought a gateway wouldn't have used the full resources of it. We can now get more bang for the buck, so to speak."

State Street has standardized on Eicon gateways and Cisco routers but doesn't enforce those standards with a heavy hand. Instead, it treats them as recommended guidelines.

"Even without forcing the standards, we will still have standardization pretty much throughout the company," says Rosenberg, "so as you go from one department to another, you will see the same front end software used for 3270 emulation ."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Banking/Finance; Fiber Distributed Data Interface
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Previous Article:PC network keeps bank competitive, customers satisfied.
Next Article:National Westminster Bancorp triples response time with reorganized network.

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