«From 5000 to 150,000 transactions per day»


Daniel Monras, Co Leiter Finstar AG, Mit Marco Stadler, Geschäftsleitungsmitglied Der Green Datacenter AG

Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's strategy with the open banking platform Finstar has greatly increased the volume of data in the banking business. The new data center solution sets new standards.

With its glass and metal architecture, the Green Datacenter looks like a futuristic Fort Knox of the Swiss IT industry. Data is stored here instead of gold. Most of the building is not visible. It is located underground. It goes down a total of four floors.

Everything is earthquake-proof, as Marco Stadler, member of the management board of Green Datacenter AG, assures us. We are on the elevator ride down. Once in the basement, the elevator doors open and we enter the world of computing power. The endless whirring of the servers creates a vibrating soundscape.

Since autumn 2023, one of Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's two data centers, which are needed to operate the Finstar open banking platform, has been located here. The devices with the banking data are still owned by the bank and are operated by Finstar employees. Green provides the building and infrastructure. Colocation with a cage solution is the technical term.

«We want to guarantee all our customers high availability of the Finstar system.»

Daniel Monras, Co-Head Finstar AG

Daniel Monras CEO Finstar AG

Classified as critical infrastructure

«Today, companies can hardly operate a data center efficiently on their own,» says Stadler. Green ensures that IT systems can be operated reliably in the building with fiber optic technology, complex security mechanisms at the access, physical security, data processing and connectivity levels, emergency power generators and classification as critical federal infrastructure. The keywords «high availability» and «redundant operation» come up again and again.

«We operate two data centers for Finstar, one on our own premises and one at Green,» says Michael Schwab. He heads up the Professional Services division at Finstar. However, it is not the case that one of the two units simply serves as a backup. «In normal operation, the two data centers share the job of data processing», says Schwab.

In an emergency, however, each data center is also capable of handling the entire load on its own. «If one unit is heavily utilized during normal operation, the capacities of the other unit are automatically tapped. This ensures stable operation at all times», Schwab continues. The fact that the two data centers are several dozen kilometers apart hardly matters. Data transfer between the locations takes place in just a few milliseconds.

Neues Finstar-Datacenter

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Better reliability

The primary goal of the new data center architecture is clear: «We want to guarantee high availability of the Finstar system for all our customers», says Daniel Monras. He is CEO of Finstar AG, which was spun off from Hypothekarbank Lenzburg as an independent company in 2023 (see press release in German).

The volume of data in the Finstar system has increased massively in recent years. Not least due to the success of the open banking strategy of Finstar's parent company Hypothekarbank Lenzburg. The bank cooperates with numerous fintech companies that process their customers' banking transactions via the Finstar system. The smartphone account provider Neon alone has more than 170,000 customers - many times more than the bank's own clientele.

"We've gone from 5,000 transactions a day to 150,000 transactions a day today," says Monras. A new solution was needed. "Today, we need highly available systems with better reliability," says the Finstar boss. The data center at the "Hypi" Lenzburg office in Wildegg, where the servers were located until the move to Zurich, no longer met the requirements. "The new solution with Green makes our system much more stable. This benefits both our customers and our customers' customers," says Monras, while the servers continue to hum in the background.

(This text was first published in Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's 2023 annual report)