Insider Technologies
Insider Technologies

How Sentra Transaction Monitor enabled comprehensive, compliant, optimised querying and reporting for thousands of tape-archived transaction logs in less than 30 days.

This case study is an executive summary of a successful project for businesses seeking to move their wealth of archived card transaction files (numbering 1000’s) from old tape technology to a partitioned, normalised SQL database which includes transaction records and their associated tokens.

Determined to differentiate their customer service as well as meet regulatory conditions, Al-Rajhi Bank were keen to provide the speediest turnaround of customer enquiries relating to debit and credit card transactions dating back up to ten years.

The world’s largest Islamic bank, with assets of SR 221 billion (US$ 59 bn), a paid up capital of US$4 billion and an employee base of over 8,400 associates, also has the largest network of Cash Dispensers (ATMs) and Point of Sale (POS) terminals available across Saudi Arabia.

In order to reduce the costs of relatively expensive authorisation system disk space, the transaction log files for POS and ATM transactions older than six months are typically archived to tape for mass storage by the bank. This reduced costly disk space requirements, but increased the time needed to access the information to unacceptable levels for Al-Rajhi.

To meet their recovery-time requirements, the bank needed to find a solution that enabled the turnaround of card queries in minutes rather than days, used low-cost data-storage, enabled the full transaction archive (terabytes of transaction data) to be queried using any field, built-in security to restrict access by role, and a graphical interface that could be operated by help-desk staff.

Al-Rajhi Bank selected Sentra Transaction Monitor from Insider Technologies as the only product to offer secure, browser-based, user-friendly, field-level querying of ATM and POS transactions with full access to both standard and customised token data.

The result is a fast and secure browser interface for card transaction querying of ATM and POS records, reporting and archiving in line with increasing PCI DSS, compliance and audit directives.

The product also offers real-time monitoring of transaction data should the bank wish to make use of this feature at a later date.

Project Implementation

The first phase of the project involved a Proof-of-Concept (PoC). With this, Sentra Transaction Monitor was installed on a 32-bit Windows Server, extraction agent objects were deployed from the RTLX process console on the Windows Server to the bank’s live authorisation system.

The extraction agents read and relay (across TCP/IP) all transaction data records from the ATM and POS entry-sequenced log files. This data relay is optimised and card transaction data then populates a Microsoft SQL Server database on the Sentra Windows Server. The database is populated using efficient, multi-threaded Sentra processes with best-approach disk I/O optimisations.

The PoC was a success and was subsequently presented to a number of departments within the bank – they were quick to move to the implementation stage of the card transaction-querying project.

After Sentra Transaction Monitor integration testing, the software was installed on two Windows Servers. This approach further optimised performance of the solution by separating the fast parsing of transaction records and token data fields from the database read/write processes – protecting the performance of the critical authorisation server.

Next ATM and POS log extraction agents were deployed, the Sentra Transaction Monitor database was partitioned by month and records inserted according to the entry log time stamp of the original transaction. A disk array was made available by the bank and connected to the Windows Server to receive the transaction data in the appropriate Microsoft SQL Server file group partition.

Splitting out card data into monthly partitions enables Microsoft SQL Server to provide fast look-up transaction querying rows by pre-checking the partition schema for data row location based on the transaction time-stamp.

Batch download speeds for the ATM and POS transaction logs now enable the bank to relay and parse weeks of card data in hours for subsequent querying by various bank departments.

The Sentra Transaction Monitor solution provides the bank with fast and secure, browser-based access to terabytes of ATM and POS transaction and token data. Queries return results in seconds, and have no impact the performance of the payment system.