SVC Bank implements Enterprise Grade Storage Solution

by May 7, 2015 0 comments

SVC Bank implements NetApp’s enterprise grade storage solution to provide cloud/hosting services to over 75 client banks, thereby increasing business volume.

Established in 1906, The Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank Ltd (SVC Bank) walks on its simple philosophy of ‘make banking easy’, and always endeavored to find the right solutions. The bank has 170 branches and presence in 9 major states- Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

SVC Bank had initiated the development of a core banking software ‘Genius’ in the year 2001. The Bank acknowledged the need to keep pace with the ever changing evolutions taking place in the technological fronts and adapted itself accordingly. SVC Bank also acknowledged that unless it kept pace to the ever changing needs of the industry, business could get adversely affected.

The SVC Bank has been permitted by the RBI to offer this CBS solution to various co-operative banks, co-operative credit societies, DCCBS and private sector Banks. It has hosted applications for various co-operative banks along with the CBS and ancillary software, which has helped smaller banks to improve their efficiency, increase accuracy in terms of computations, increase controls in terms of inbuilt system consistencies, automate their business processes and rationalize their manpower. The SVC bank has 77 sub-member banks with more than 450 branches who have availed the SVC’s software services.

Challenges faced

Given the task of ensuring top-quality service to its sub-member banks, SVC had to adhere to industry best practices of a low RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and an almost zero RPO (Recovery Point Objective) for critical services. Understandably, RTO is the targeted duration of time and a service level within which a business process must be restored after a disaster in order to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity, and RPO is the age of files that must be recovered from backup storage for normal operations to resume if a computer, system, or network gets disrupted due to hardware, program, or communications failure.

Moreover, it has to meet the Reserve Bank of India’s mandate for having a working Far Disaster Recovery site. Add to that the necessity of providing Application-wise Business Continuity and strict adherence to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) commitments signed with hosted client banks, and one can imagine the mammoth task that SVC had in hand. The bank also wanted to achieve certifications or standards like ISO 27001, ISO 22301 and PCI DSS.

The bank had to address the storage virtualization and data replication/availability requirements to cater to about 77 client banks for various services it offered to them viz hosted core banking solution services, ATM switch sharing services, RTGS/NEFT sharing services and shared CHI services. The bank chose an enterprise grade storage deployment for its data centers to cater to the ongoing challenges.

The Implementation

The bank implemented storage infrastructure from NetApp and IBM at both its primary and Disaster Recovery (DR) sites, with a total storage capacity of about 26 TB. IBM storage was virtualized under NetApp and the primary and DR sites were connected over multiple 10 mbps fibre links from multiple network service providers to ensure redundancy.

Various features of NetApp like SnapManager for SQL/Oracle, Snap Mirror, filer-replication, and operations nanager etc were used to ensure consistency of replicated data from primary site to the DR Site. VMware’s server virtualization features complemented NetApp’s storage virtualization and block-based replication. This combined implementation helped the bank address all the challenges they were facing in achieving its set targets.

However, ensuring that all expected features worked during the proof of concept (POC) and ensuring that all critical data gets replicated within the set RPO to the DR site, was a challenge for the bank while implementing the project.

Along with this, the bank also ensured that the expected RTO is achieved during DR drills and testing, and replication bandwidth is used optimally. Infact, achieving application-wise business continuity from DR site also posed a challenge for the IT team at SVC bank while deploying the project.

The enterprise storage deployment is meant to cater to users of SVC Bank’s core banking solution, which is the branches of Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank and its client banks.

The Results

The impact of the implementation was clearly visible in terms of growth particularly in business volumes, in the number of customers that are being handled and in the number of transactions that are being processed. The implementation also contributed significantly towards the growth in business. There was also a reduction in the Operating System licenses due to server and storage virtualization. Efforts in patching and updation activities for DR Site servers were also no longer needed, and there was reduction of power consumption & Improved RTO and RPO values.

The bank was able to adhere to compliance and regulatory requirements set by authorities like RBI, NPCI and IDRBT for DR drills etc. There was reduced downtime and failure rates due to storage and server consolidation.

The deployment enabled the bank to provide hosting/cloud services to more than 75 client banks and achieve industry-recognized ISO 27001 (Information Security Management System), ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management Systems) and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) certifications in a span of one year.

The implementation helped the Bank has put in place the necessary modules to give a 360 degree view of its customers across the Bank. Customer service improved due to reduced downtime and failure rates. The data of the bank is replicated to the DR Site on a real time basis and is also available in real time for generation of MIS for customer service improvement.

The implementation has improved the bank’s reputation by increasing the CIA levels (confidentiality, integrity and availability) of its customer data.

“This not only helped in enhancing the goodwill of the Bank in the eyes of it customers, stakeholders etc. but also enabled us to gain a substantial increase in growth particularly in business volumes, in number of customers that are being handled and in the number of transactions that are being processed, thereby enhancing our business turnover which today stands more than Rs 17,500 crore,” said Ravikiran Mankikar, Chief GM – IT, SVC Bank.

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