Leading Chinese bank builds an efficient cloud on IBM Power Systems

Speeding workload deployment and boosting business responsiveness with IBM

Published on 18-Dec-2012

"The IBM SmartCloud Entry solution is an excellent complement to our IBM Power VM technologies, and has allowed us to streamline the deployment of our private cloud platform. Together, these solutions are helping to automate management processes and accelerate workload deployment." - Company spokesperson for a leading Chinese commercial bank

Customer:
Leading Chinese bank

Industry:
Banking, Financial Markets

Deployment country:
China

Solution:
Cloud Computing, High Availability , SmartCloud - Foundation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Workload Optimized Infrastructure Framework

Overview

Competition in the commercial banking sector is fierce. One leading Chinese commercial bank is constantly seeking ways to set itself apart from its competitors and boost profitability. Top-notch customer service is key to this strategy: the bank keeps a sharp focus on developing innovative services that add value and ensure high customer satisfaction.

Business need:
A leading Chinese commercial bank wanted to boost the flexibility and efficiency of its operations in order to better react to customer demands, and stay ahead of competitors.

Solution:
Partnered with IBM to launch a virtualization strategy, supported by servers with IBM® POWER7® processors and IBM PowerVM® technology, as well as the IBM SmartCloud™ Entry solution.

Benefits:
Implementing a virtualized computing environment has boosted flexibility and accelerated workload deployment by 99 percent. The solution has optimized resource use, helping to cut costs and complexity.

Case Study

Competition in the commercial banking sector is fierce. One leading Chinese commercial bank is constantly seeking ways to set itself apart from its competitors and boost profitability. Top-notch customer service is key to this strategy: the bank keeps a sharp focus on developing innovative services that add value and ensure high customer satisfaction.

Reacting faster to customer demands

A leading Chinese commercial bank wanted to differentiate itself from its competitors by launching new business services to meet changing customer requirements. To achieve this objective, the bank needed to increase the responsiveness of its IT infrastructure—facilitating the rapid provisioning of new virtual servers for innovative services.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and the efficiency of our operations,” states a company spokesperson from the Chinese commercial bank. “To achieve this, we put a lot of effort into developing new systems and processes. We found, however, that it was taking longer than we would have liked to deploy these new systems: in the past, it could take up to a month for a new workload or system to go live. We did not want to risk having the business held back by inflexible IT systems.”

Seeking to improve its agility in quickly launching new services, the bank decided that a significant upgrade was required for its computing environment. The organization wanted to improve flexibility and simplify workload deployment efforts, and looked for a solution that combined performance, efficiency, scalability and reliability.

Highly virtualized environment

The bank worked with IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG) Lab Services and an IBM Business Partner to implement a pair of IBM Power 750 Express servers with IBM POWER7 processors running IBM AIX®. These servers provide a robust backbone for the company’s new virtualization platform, delivered by IBM PowerVM Enterprise Edition.

To optimize resource use, both Power 750 servers are configured with six logical partitions (LPARs) each, and use the IBM PowerVM Virtual I/O server feature to share physical resources between these LPARs. This helps to reduce costs by eliminating the need for dedicated network adapters, disk adapters and disk drives.

Taking advantage of IBM PowerVM

Using IBM PowerVM Enterprise Edition, the bank can rapidly create virtualized environments for its core banking systems and dynamically assign computing resources to the applications that need them most.

The bank is leveraging the Live Partition Mobility feature of IBM PowerVM, which allows running virtual systems to be moved from one physical server to another with no application downtime, maximizing system utilization and application availability. IBM PowerVM Micro-Partitioning® technology allows the bank to fine-tune its virtual environment to consolidate multiple independent workloads, boosting performance and increasing server utilization.

“With IBM PowerVM virtualization technology we can create new systems on demand, and deliver new application environments whenever we need them,” notes a company spokesperson. “The new IBM Power 750 Express servers have also brought us much higher levels of flexibility and stability for our core banking systems.”

IBM PowerHA System Mirror for AIX allows the bank to provide greater availability for its mission-critical applications, with enhanced disaster recovery capabilities. By using the solution to cluster its servers, the bank can enable instant failover from one server to another in the event of a hardware failure, ensuring that vital banking systems are always kept up and running.

The solution helps optimize computing resources: with its highly virtualized computing environment, this leading bank can now do more with less. By consolidating six legacy servers to two IBM Power 750 servers, the bank has succeeded in reducing its hardware footprint and energy consumption, and associated costs.

Reducing operational complexity and costs with IBM Systems Director

To streamline administration, reduce operational costs and simplify workload deployment efforts, IBM STG worked with the bank to implement a range of IBM Systems Director solutions. IBM Systems Director Enterprise Edition unifies the management of physical and virtual servers, providing simple, centralized control of the bank’s mix of IBM POWER6® and POWER7 processor-based servers, as well as its virtual machine environment.

IBM Systems Director VMControl™ simplifies virtual appliance deployment across multiple platforms, providing enterprise-wide visibility and control. Combined with IBM Systems Director, VMControl helps the bank to reduce management costs, increase asset utilization and cut complexity, thus reducing the total cost of ownership of the company’s virtualized environment.

The company is also using IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager to measure and monitor energy components built into IBM systems. The solution provides the bank with better utilization of available energy resources, helping to reduce energy consumption and cut costs.

Leveraging IBM SmartCloud Entry solution

Building on its IBM PowerVM virtualization and IBM Systems Director VMControl technology, the bank deployed the IBM SmartCloud Entry on Power Systems™ solution. The solution provides an entry-level private cloud platform that helps to accelerate service deployments on IBM Power Systems servers. Designed to work with the company’s existing virtualized Power foundation, SmartCloud Entry enables the bank to quickly and easily leverage the benefits of cloud computing to respond more quickly to changing business needs.

According to a company spokesperson, “The IBM SmartCloud Entry solution is an excellent complement to our IBM Power VM technologies, and has allowed us to streamline the deployment of our private cloud platform. Together, these solutions are helping to automate management processes and accelerate workload deployment.”

Boosting flexibility and speeding workload deployment

By engaging IBM STG Lab Services and an IBM Business Partner to help implement a virtualized environment, the bank has greatly improved the flexibility of its infrastructure while simplifying workload deployment efforts.

“We have gained much more flexibility when it comes to our server environment,” remarks a company spokesperson. “Now, we can freely move virtual resources to meet changing demand patterns or to enable physical maintenance without any downtime for our users. This helps to guarantee near constant application availability, which means that the business is better poised to react to new developments and customer demands.”

He adds, “We have also greatly reduced the time and effort taken to deploy new workloads. In the past, it took us anywhere from two to four weeks to set up a new production server. Now, thanks to our IBM SmartCloud Entry solution, and IBM PowerVM virtualization technology, we can deploy virtual servers more than 99 percent faster.”

Improved productivity and agility

System complexity has also decreased, helping to reduce the amount of time and effort spent managing the company’s computing infrastructure and allowing IT staff to focus on service delivery rather than routine maintenance. With its new suite of IBM Systems and Technology software, the bank has strengthened control over systems management and boosted productivity.

A company spokesperson concludes, “We are impressed with the results that we have seen so far from the IBM solution, and anticipate that the benefits will only continue to grow as we extend our private cloud platform. IBM Systems and Technology Group has delivered a virtualized environment that will greatly sharpen our agility when it comes to reacting to changing market conditions and customer requirements.”

For more information

To learn more about IBM SmartCloud Entry solution, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/systems/power/solutions/cloud/smartcloudentry

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Power 750, Power Systems, Power Systems running AIX 6

Software:
PowerVM Enterprise (VIOS), PowerHA SystemMirror Enterprise Edition, PowerHA

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
STG Lab Services: IT Optimization, STG Lab Services: Power (AIX)

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America December 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, AIX, Power, POWER7, PowerHA, Power Systems, PowerVM, IBM SmartCloud, and Systems Director VMControl are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. POC03105-USEN-00