China Merchants Bank New York branch

Banks on virtual desktop infrastructure with IBM System x, Linux and innovative KVM technology

Published on 21-Nov-2012

"With the IBM System x and KVM solution, we can quickly create a virtual machine for users, which requires less administration and saves a lot of time." - Long Ren, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology, China Merchants Bank New York branch

Customer:
China Merchants Bank New York branch

Industry:
Banking

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Virtualization, Virtualization - Desktop

IBM Business Partner:
Sirius Computer Solutions, Inc.

Overview

In October 2008, China Merchants Bank became the first Chinese bank to open a branch in the US since the inception of the Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act of 1991. Its New York branch offers a variety of services including cash management, corporate banking, trade finance, project finance, trading and consulting. Founded in 1987, China Merchants Bank is based in Shenzhen, China and is the sixth largest bank in China with 73 branches, including the one in New York, and 749 sub-branches in 87 cities throughout the country.

Business need:
China Merchants Bank New York branch needed a more efficient way for its employees to securely access two separate networks than by using two desktop computers—which was costly and draining to productivity, as well as double the work for IT staff. They needed a solution that could reduce IT complexity, administration and costs, while boosting employee productivity.

Solution:
The New York branch deployed IBM® System x® 3550 and x3650 class servers with intelligent Intel® Xeon® processors running Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology. They also implemented Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization based on KVM technology, along with IBM Systems Director and IBM System Storage® DS3400.

Benefits:
The IBM solution reduced the number of physical workstations by 50 percent, saved 20 percent on software licensing and hardware costs, and provided faster storage performance and improved operational efficiency.

Case Study

In October 2008, China Merchants Bank became the first Chinese bank to open a branch in the US since the inception of the Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act of 1991.1 Its New York branch offers a variety of services including cash management, corporate banking, trade finance, project finance, trading and consulting. Founded in 1987, China Merchants Bank is based in Shenzhen, China and is the sixth largest bank in China with 73 branches, including the one in New York, and 749 sub-branches in 87 cities throughout the country. The bank has received international recognition by several institutions and publications, including the award of “Best Private Bank in China 2010.”2

Finding a way to streamline and simplify IT

For security purposes, China Merchants Bank New York branch has a unique network infrastructure that includes two isolated networks—one production network for critical banking transactions and one network with access to the Internet. As explained by Long Ren, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology. “We are segregated into two networks, so if a computer connected to the Internet gets a virus or is under attack, it will not affect our production system.”

According to the bank’s security requirements, not a single computer at the branch could connect to both networks. Initially, this required a large number of branch employees to use two desktop computers, one connected to each individual network. But this presented several challenges to branch employees and IT staff. Not only did this prove to be costly—requiring additional hardware—but it had become a productivity drain for employees, who needed to switch between computers to complete different business tasks. The efficiency of the IT staff also was impacted, requiring them to support twice the number of computers compared to a configuration with only one workstation per user. “With two computers per user,” says Long Ren, “the responsibility of the IT staff was doubled.”

Looking to virtualization to improve efficiency

After identifying several key challenges and evaluating possible solutions, the branch decided to implement a new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution from IBM. This would enable the branch to consolidate multiple workstations onto a single host—eliminating the need for two computers per user—and would provide the capabilities to meet the branch’s unique security requirements.

By implementing System x servers with Intel Xeon processors running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including KVM technology, the branch was able to use KVM as a cost-effective hypervisor to support its VDI solution and maintain the necessary network isolation.

Working with IBM Business Partner Sirius Computer Solutions, the New York branch was able to implement, configure and begin using its new IT solution in only a few days. The solution includes four IBM System x3550 servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux with KVM technology. Each of these production servers typically runs 18 to 20 virtual machines at one time. An additional IBM System x3650 server with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (based on KVM technology) is used to manage the virtual machines and provide a web-based interface for branch employees to access the VDI environment. IBM Systems Director helps easily manage the System x servers.

In support of its new server environment, the branch also deployed an IBM System Storage® DS3400 to function as the branch’s Fibre Channel storage area network. This provides a high-performance, scalable and secure storage system that enables branch employees to efficiently share storage across workstations.

Recognizing cost savings and improved productivity

Since the implementation of the branch’s IT solution, employees and IT staff have recognized numerous benefits. Using KVM to run a VDI environment has helped the branch to save an estimated 20 percent on software licensing and hardware costs. The solution also enabled the branch to reduce its number of physical workstations by 50 percent. This, in turn, helped to reduce overall power consumption and the administration required by IT staff, cutting the branch’s desktop computer support requirements in half.

The IBM solution also led to improved operational efficiency for the branch, enabling centralized management for its networks. “With the IBM System x and KVM solution, we can quickly create a virtual machine for users, which requires less administration and saves a lot of time,” says Long Ren. And by reducing the need to switch between desktop computers, the solution helped to improve employee efficiency and productivity, as well.

The branch’s System Storage DS3400 has provided optimal support for its virtualization environment. “Each virtual machine image requires about 20 gigabytes, so we need a large amount of space to store the images. The DS3400 easily meets this requirement,” says Long Ren. Regarding the performance of the DS3400, he says, “The IBM storage system provides great performance with fast disk response time. This directly affects our employees’ day-to-day work. They do not see any delays or lags in performance.”

Overall, one of the main benefits of the IBM solution is that it has supported China Merchants Bank in doing business in the US. The unique capabilities of the flexible System x and KVM solution enable the New York branch to meet its security requirements in a cost-effective way.

Finding international success with IBM

China Merchants Bank has been an IBM customer for many years, and with the opening of its New York branch, the bank has carried on this tradition of success by implementing a new IBM solution. Reflecting on the branch’s current relationship with IBM, Long Ren says, “In our environment right now, we run only IBM servers.”

Through its achievements in improving security, reducing administration and lowering costs, China Merchants Bank continues to recognize the value of working with IBM and plans to keep building upon this relationship into the future.

For more information

Please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us at: ibm.com/systems/x/index.html

For more information on IBM Business Partner Sirius Computer Solutions, visit: mysiriuszone.com

For more information about China Merchants Bank New York branch, visit: ny.cmbchina.com

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Storage: DS3400, System x: System x running hypervisor - KVM, System x: System x3550 M3, System x: System x3650 M3

Software:
IBM Systems Director Editions

Footnotes and legal information

1 China Sourcing News, “China Merchants Bank Gets First US Banking License,” June 16, 2008. http://www.chinasourcingnews.com/2008/07/16/40343-china-merchants-bank-gets-first-us-banking-license/ 2 Source: http://www.euromoney.com

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