Infrastructure Redesign for a $70 B Financial Services Client

SGA Teams Up With a Global Financial Services Client, and Provides an Essential Resource to Overhaul and Redevelop Aspects of Critical Infrastructure

What are Network Gateways/DataPower?

A Network Gateway is a pivotal part of digital infrastructure – without it, the internet would be useless for us. The Network Gateway is a key stopping point for data while fulfilling a user request that requires data to leave or enter the current network. A gateway typically consists of a device (or node) that can move the data to the proper location based on a set of parameters, or the configuration. One such device that allows for the customization of parameters is the IBM WebSphere Datapower Gateway. DataPower Gateway appliances are part of a larger family of rack-mountable IBM devices that can improve a company’s infrastructure by effectively controlling all data transmission between networks and services.

SGA healthcare

The Client’s Problem

Recently, The Client was having issues with their Gateway Framework for infrastructure devices. The existing framework was legacy, and had its own disadvantages which consumed too much time and effort. The routing rules and policy configurations were difficult to read and modify, in addition to adding new components. Only a small amount of regular expressions, or none at all in some areas, were used in the configuration files for network devices. The security related configurations had also depreciated with the existing routers, creating a potential risk. Authentication and authorization of users/applications was a tedious task, which consumed much time and involved even more server configurations. Additionally, dependencies existed within objects on the server, and upon an error, it was difficult to identify which service within the server was failing based on logs and monitoring – at the time, no logging options even existed. All of these issues were major pain points for The Client’s infrastructure team.

Project Assessments

The Solution

SGA’s Consultant worked with upper management to gain approval for their newly created network architecture and personally implemented a Gateway framework, which improved overall understanding of the routing rules and troubleshooting. The routing rules and configurations were placed in files which were easy to edit and read, making additions easier as well. Regular expressions were introduced to handle lengthier routing entries (character strings containing industry standard commands, instead of improvised syntax). Deprecated security features were replaced with new Security Profiles which efficiently handled both forward and backward security authentications with consumers and back-end applications. User Authentication and Authorization was easily handled after implementing one common policy, and as a result, only one configuration of the network was necessary, compared to the multiple needed in the past. The new routing appliance is independent, light-weight, and has its own configurations which can be easily migrated to any new servers. New rules were added in the router to identify failing services based on URI (Unique Resource Identifier – a string of characters specifically referencing resources). In addition, SGA’s Consultant Introduced a new logging mechanism for improved understanding of the success and failure of services.

Payroll Services

Benefits

The new Gateway Framework saves an abundance of time & effort for the operations and support team. Memory used by the new router is now far less compared to the legacy one, and the network performance is greater. The solution was well received by colleagues and improved the development process, which resulted in a better quality of service. Troubleshooting is much easier with the new router framework, as it provides logging features, status of the router and easy identification of services. Overall, the new solution saves time and money through the cost of long-term maintenance. In addition, it improves process moving forward, as integration of services and devices into the network becomes easier.

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