SpareBank 1 is one of the biggest financial institutions in Norway. It is comprised of an alliance of 14 different savings banks that are providers of financial products and services to individuals and companies.
As SpareBank 1 grew, their logs increased by 15-20% each year. All departments were contributing to the growth in data. This put a strain on their budgets as their costs increased out of control. Roman Kovalenko, product manager for observability and monitoring solutions at SpareBank 1 explains the problem, “The price was the number one reason for switching. At one point you realize your log management software isn’t working for you, mainly because of the price.
While other companies can migrate to the Cloud to achieve their scalability needs, because of EU’s GDPR compliance requirements surrounding the security of banking data, SpareBank 1 chose to keep all their data on premises. Roman explains, “All of the data has to be on-prem. We cannot use cloud solutions.”
This greatly narrowed the number of log management services they could use because not many provide on-prem support.
The search was short. SpareBank 1’s requirement of on-prem servers meant they only had three options to test. After testing it side by side on physical servers, Humio was the best solution because it came at the lowest cost, and was the option that best met their needs of logging everything. Roman recalls, “We made a proof of concept with physical servers to see that Humio delivered everything it promised, and we got a positive result.”
Compared to other institutions that may have a few users of Humio, SpareBank 1 has somewhere between 400 and 500 users of Humio and dashboards generated from Humio. While every department at SpareBank1 finds value in Humio’s dashboards, some employees don’t even know they’re using Humio because of the customizations built into it by Roman and his team.
While Humio is used for all departments, Roman notes it’s deployed in “all departments I can think of — from security to developers, to user support, network — everything I can think of.” According to Roman, Humio is a primary tool for their security department. SpareBank 1 uses it for forensics, fraud detection, and alerting, in conjunction with Corelight, one of Humio’s security partners.
Humio provided a big boost to SpareBank 1’s security by giving them the ability to log everything. “The main value Humio provides us is that we can log anything we want” By doing so, it enables the security team to ask questions about the system they never saw coming. Roman explains that when you have a new question to ask your system, ‘you don’t know what data you’re going to need to use. When using Humio, you can log everything, you have this data and you can solve your issues.”
Roman was impressed by the level of support Humio’s developers provided during the transition. While the low price was the initial reason SpareBank1 sought out Humio, the added value they received from the Humio support team made using Humio even more indispensable. Roman explains the value, “We get a lot of support from Humio on new features and training our users, so, at this point, I can’t see any alternatives.”
Due to how much Humio was able to reduce the cost of hardware and license fees, SpareBank 1 was able to make their solution future-proof by building a system that could log double their current needs and still stay on budget.
By deploying Humio, SpareBank 1 increased its log data collection tenfold. Previously, SpareBank 1 was ingesting 1 TB/day. Now they are ingesting 10 TB/day with the potential to do more. Roman explains, “Humio is a very scalable system because we can just add more servers and we can ingest even more data.”
Humio enabled Roman to cut costs on hardware and the staff required to look over the software. “Instead of having something like 80 servers, we have 14 servers. So yeah, it’s quite a difference!”
Additionally, due to Humio’s advanced data compression, SpareBank 1 gained an increased ability to search historical data without paying to expand storage. “We found that Humio’s compression rate is 7-8x on average. And on a different solution, we only had half that.” SpareBank 1 found Humio to be a powerful tool for solving many of their security and data problems, and they are enthusiastically looking for ways to expand for additional use cases. They currently have proof of concepts in the works for using it as a tracing solution and an APM solution. Roman notes, “Humio solved the data storage solution well, so why not use the same solution for our other needs?”