Categories: Case Studies

Kotak Mahindra Bank virtulises desktops for ultra-small branches

Mumbai-based Kotak Mahindra Bank offers a wide range of financial services that encompass every sphere of life. As on Sept 30, 2014, Kotak Mahindra Bank has over 641 branches and over 1,159 ATMs spread across 363 locations in the country. As per RBI guidelines, of the total number of branches proposed to be opened in a year by a bank, 25% should be opened in unbanked rural centers/ultra-small branch. In such ultra-small branches, the bank was facing various operational challenges because of their presence in remote location.

Challenges Faced

In ultra-small branches, the challenges were—connectivity issues due to no network feasibility for MPLS leased line, RF, broad band, air/data card;  Network Speed and Latency, due to abysmal network connectivity, and no option except for VSAT. As a result, even a single transaction used to take a very long time and sometimes other applications were not accessible at all. Since the ultra-small branches were in rural areas, there were major issues of power availability. The UPS which has limited battery backup, also did not support high power consuming devices for a full day. Then there was Support & Logistics problem-if a system, UPS or any major physical device went down, it was difficult to arrange parts replacement due to unavailability of logistics/courier agencies. All these problems were leading to customer dissatisfaction, decrease in branch profitability, employee demotivation and productivity loss.
The Implementation

The bank implemented Virtual Infrastructure with Citrix Hypervisor and Citrix ICA protocol used for client to server. This uses lesser bandwidth and works on low bandwidth network of only 30 kbps. With this implementation, Kotak Mahindra bank solved the issue of network connectivity.

Project Head, Arif Khan
Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank

The Results
Power consumption was reduced by 85% as compared to a conventional desktop. Zero incidents were faced in terms of visits or logistics in 23 branches over the past 9 months. The bank marked not only these tangible results, but also non-tangible benefits like device data loss was protected as there was no USB based data access on local systems. There was centralized control over software deployment (Installation/Uninstallation), and there was no need to push anti-virus updates or security patches to end user devices in these branches. There was no local administrative access given to the end user in these locations; and there was no data loss due to power fluctuations.
Because of lesser bandwidth requirement, transaction time was reduced by 1/9th, as only instructions passed over the network and execution were done by the server at the backend. Apart from this, the application execution also took place on the server side thereby helping execute the operation in lesser time as compared to remote site execution.

Rashi Varshney: