Bank On Benefits



HDFC Bank, headquartered in Mumbai, delivers comprehensive corporate, retail,
and treasury banking services. It operates as a clearing bank for both the
Bombay Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. It tries to meet the customer
expectations by providing anywhere, anytime service. For HDFC, with a network of
more than 530 branches across 228 cities in India, real-time banking is an
experience. Branches have online connectivity through multi-branch networks and
ATM services. The bank has Web-enabled most of its core commercial, retail, and
treasury business.

Encountering Growing Pains
Despite the bank’s substantial efforts to create infrastructure for a
world-class bank, the exponential growth of data storage requirements was
becoming an issue. Slowing response time for users, shrinking backup windows,
and complicated regulations were compounding the challenges and risks for the
bank. Considering these issues, the bank’s plans to expand its retail customer
base and extend its financial presence into more industrial and commercial
centers. For this, the bank decided to revisit the technology environment.

The organization’s servers were having direct attached storage (DAS), which
caused fragmented storage upgrades, time-consuming month-end runs, and system
downtime when scaling. Total storage needs were upwards of 100 TB, with core
banking applications running on both IBM AIX and Sun Solaris operating systems
on Microsoft and Sun servers. Business intelligence applications were running on
HP servers. It was felt that the bank would first need to migrate from a
distributed DAS-server infrastructure to a storage area network (SAN)
environment and also implement a disaster recovery plan. A highly scalable
tiered storage solution based on the Hitachi TagmaStore Universal Storage
Platform, with advanced remote replication and single console management, was
chosen by the bank’s IT department to achieve the bank’s storage goals.

Virtualizing Data Assets
The IT team began by installing three Universal Storage Platforms model
USP600. Designed for industrial-strength virtualization and universal
replication, USP600 navigates across heterogeneous storage systems with
scalability up to 32 PB per platform and unsurpassed performance levels of up to
2.5 mn I/Os per second. The USP600 promotes external storage virtualization,
logical resource partitioning, and universal replication for seamless,
non-disruptive movement of data between tiers. The new SAN positioned the bank
to easily scale for growth and to embrace 4Gbps technology.

Realizing SAN Flexibility
To maximize flexibility and responsive prioritization across the bank’s
storage, the SAN was extended with tiered storage. Rather than using production
and off-host servers for end-of-day activities, the new SAN plan moved
production storage onto the Hitachi Lightning 9960 storage system. This
requirement of the bank demands a highly scalable and available SAN
environment-the kind that can be created within a tiered storage solution
based on the Hitachi TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform. The bank believes
in. Continual up gradation of the whole IT ecosystem for which it has currently
ordered around 75 TB of enterprise Class Storage and about 30 TB of Modular and
SATA Storage.

Hitachi Delivers Vault of Benefits
Deploying 150 TB of storage on Hitachi technology, HDFC Bank was able to
evolve from a localized DAS labyrinth to a highly virtualized and centralized
storage universe. To evaluate the performance of new storage infrastructure, the
bank employed in-house benchmarking. Results showed that the bank’s data
warehouse could more than double in storage size without affecting throughput
rates or changing any other configuration. “As our mission is to become a
world class Indian bank, customer service is important to us and by implementing
solutions from Hitachi Data Systems we were able to provide scalable, available,
reliable storage systems and a SAN environment to all our applications. We were
also able to protect data for all our key systems using the storage software
solutions,” says Harish Shetty, vice-president (IT), HDFC Bank. By changing
the way backups and batches are accomplished, the bank has been able to reduce
the cycle times for end-of-day replication activities. The Hitachi storage has
also enabled HDFC Bank to keep the cost low for multiple snapshots of large
production databases-close to 3 TB each. The highly available system
infrastructure provided by Hitachi was also delivering notably faster response
time for users, helping to improve efficiency and productivity.

Gyana Ranjan Swain
gyanas@cybermedia.co.in

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