Brilliant and vertical.
In 1985, a system manager with a major German bank was confronted with an impossible challenge. The task was to build up a backup computer center, but calculations revealed that the necessary daily data transfers would take longer than 24 hours. Indeed – a mission impossible, which he solved in a brilliant way: in contrast to methods then in use, the algorithm he developed compressed typically-structured data “vertically”, i.e. columnwise. Moreover, the software based on this idea could be integrated as a driver. The effect was dramatic: due to compression, storage requirement and execution time dropped by 90 percent. The resulting cost reduction was significant. After the founding of limes® in 1986, the software that is essentially based on this algorithm, received the name it is still bearing: Frankenstein-Limes-Access-Method, or, in short, FLAM. From the start, prominent global financial institutes began using it for daily updates of their computing centers – also a task that could barely be solved but was accomplished by FLAM. Also, the compatibility problem of data originating from different platforms was eliminated in-the-fly. No wonder that more and more financial institutions and stock exchanges soon became customers of limes®. Thus, FLAM became standard for bank-clearing and for credit card companies.
A memory over 30 years.
The amount of data that is cumulated when all payment transactions are to be stored is inconceivable, even more so when that is to be done over a period of 30 years – as is the case with a major Central Bank. Only thanks to FLAM for VSAM was it possible to adequately compress, encrypt, and archive them and still retain the ability to quickly locate specific transactions. The decisive aspect here was the feature enabling searches in compressed and encrypted data and returning compressed and encrypted result sets. For that was the precondition for safely outsourcing the archived data. In a sense, we implemented our first cloud solution as early as the early 1990s.
End-to-end security for smart cards.
Along with our partner IBM® we have integrated into FLAM advanced encryption methods and have created an option to connect to many different cryptogrphic infrastructures. The first deployment was to secure the ordering process of bank and credit cards between the German private banks and their roof organization on one hand and the participating card manufacturers on the other hand. For that purpose, IBM® developed a specification, allowing the partners involved to process orders in conformance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – an innovation that has since become more and more pervasive. Because FLAM allows securing both Data at Rest as well as Data on Transit within a single solution and just a few card data records needed for production are present in storage as plain text, opting for FLAM means opting for the future. For here, the goal of End-to-end Security has already been achieved.