Case Study: Wells Fargo's Move to MetaFrame

Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco

Big Bank, Slim Software

Who They Are: A commercial bank

Goal: Eliminate branch-office servers and use thin-client technology to deliver line-of-business applications.

Challenge: Branches connect via low-bandwidth 128K bit/sec. connections.

Strategy: Use Internet Explorer and a plug-in from Citrix Systems Inc. to let users connect to a MetaFrame front-end intranet Web server. Give each user a personalized application Web page based on his Active Directory profile.

Comment: Wells Fargo tested Windows 2000 Terminal Services and Tarantella before settling on MetaFrame, which needed a connection of about 21K bit/sec. The bank's MetaFrame server farm spans data centers in three states. Until the release of MetaFrame XP, Citrix server farms were limited to a single subnet. Now, if a data center goes down, users are automatically rerouted.

Data centers use rack-mounted Compaq Computer Corp. DL360 dual-processor 1U server blades (1U equals 1.75 in.) and Cisco 6500 switches for load balancing. "We find this more effective than a four-way or eight-way box," says systems architect John Bolz. "We've architected it differently than most, but if a server fails, it's relatively easy to pull that blade out and rebuild the server with a scripted install."

Issues: Retail bank users need both Windows- and Unix-based applications. Citrix's MetaFrame for Unix would require an additional set of server and client licenses. This means that Wells Fargo would have to pay for both Windows 2000 Server and Citrix Windows client access licenses for every user.

Tarantella gives access to both platforms without extra licenses. But "Tarantella wouldn't let us use the architecture we put together with Terminal Services," he says.

Payoff: More than 7,000 users now use line-of-business applications via MetaFrame. Wells Fargo plans to convert all of its retail banking group to thin clients. Eliminating branch-office servers, desktop-related software, and system monitoring and remote control software should cut the total cost of ownership by 75%.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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