AFD Ensures Regulatory Compliance with JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform

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October 15, 2012

AFD required a global exchange platform to replace its aging infrastructure. With Red Hat solutions, AFD now provides high availability systems that increase business continuity and improve deal flows and trades.

Customer: Agence Francaise de Developpement

“Red Hat solutions allows us to be more innovative without compromising on regulatory compliance and security.” Pierre Guiserix, manager of urbanization and architecture information system, AFD

Industry: Government
Geography: EMEA
Country: France

Business Challenge:

AFD required a global exchange platform to replace its aging infrastructure.

Migration Path:

From UNIX and Sun Solaris with ETL from Informatica to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform


Heterogeneous servers


With Red Hat solutions, AFD now provides high availability systems that increase business continuity and improve deal flows and trades.


ABOUT AFD AFD, Groupe Agence Française de Développement, is a bi-lateral development finance institution established in 1941 that works on behalf of the French government. Its mission is to finance development according to France’s Overseas Development Assistance policies. AFD’s activities are aimed at reducing poverty and inequalities, promoting sustainable economic growth, and protecting ’Global Public Goods’ for the benefit of all humanity. Protecting Global Public Goods includes the fight against climate change and pandemics, the preservation of biodiversity, the promotion of social and environmental responsibility, as well as aid to countries weakened by strife, war, and natural disasters. AFD has 70 representations abroad. With this extensive network, AFD can provide its expertise and knowledge to local residents and grant support to the projects it finances.

Business Challenge:

A global project to ensure compliance

The IT Department at AFD is organized into four divisions: production, operation, and maintenance; second business support (desktop and application support); project management; and urbanization and architecture of the technology infrastructure. The urbanization and architecture division is horizontal across the business and ensures consistency of service across all information systems. AFD is wholly owned by the French state, operating under the remit of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Overseas Territories. As a bank and specialized financial institution, AFD is licensed and regulated by the French Banking Authority and conforms to national and international banking regulations and ratios.

In order to comply with the upcoming legislation around SEPA and Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) protocol standards, AFD took the opportunity to completely overhaul its banking communication system.

SEPA is a European standard necessary for all organizations producing bank flow transfers. Its main objective is the standardization of euro payments, messages, transactions, and formats. Under SEPA, the French banking RIB format is transformed to BIC-IBAN throughout Europe.

As a part of the unification project of all trades in its information system, AFD had to select a single solution to manage all interfaces regardless of the type of division. The current solution—ELT, provided by Informatica — was no longer meeting all the company’s needs. To complete its solution portfolio, AFD needed a platform capable of handling many types of communication and protocols, especially real-time communication.


Legislation deadline leads to critical project timeline

To adhere to both SEPA and SWIFT protocol standards, AFD needed to develop a single platform that could bring all its transfers, both single and multiple, to other banks across Europe. An enterprise service bus (ESB)-type solution was necessary for the platform to connect to the SWIFT gateway in messaging mode.

AFD began this project by conducting a comparative study between two ESB technologies from providers it already used in-house: Oracle, which it uses for databases and ERP, and JBoss Enterprise Middleware from Red Hat, which it uses across Java application servers.

The SEPA standard became effective in July 2011 and AFD initiated the project in January 2011. As the bank considered its options for a new ESB solution, it also looked to this project as an extension of its overall technology solution portfolio. This strategy would ensure maximum speed of deployment as well as compliance with the new SEPA standards.

“We were already a Red Hat customer through our use of Java applications,” said Pierre Guiserix, manager of urbanization and architecture information system division at AFD. “As our most strategic Java applications were already supported by Red Hat, it made sense to select JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform to support our banking transactions as well.”

AFD plays a crucial role in capturing and publishing banking transfer information from and to institutions such as the Banque de France, City Bank, and BNP Paribas. Given the highly sensitive, critical nature of these transactions, AFD required close support from Red Hat. Therefore, the leading open source provider suggested Genigraph, a Red Hat Advanced Business Partner, for the development and integration of the project.

During a four-month timeframe, three engineers from Red Hat and Genigraph worked with AFD, helping the urbanization and architecture division implement the solutions necessary to deliver the critical flows of banking data.

As a result of the project, two new servers running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux have been added to the datacenter to support JBoss ESB, among the 100 servers already running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for other critical applications and 60 servers running on Windows.

“Our collaboration with Red Hat has been excellent. With the help and expertise of the Red Hat and Genigraph teams, we have received extremely satisfying professionalism and support throughout the project,” said Pierre Guiserix. “Red Hat was instrumental in helping us achieve our project goals.”


Red Hat middleware solutions enable compliance and high availability

Since June 2011, all bank transfers at AFD, be they for beneficiaries and partners or critical internal transactions such as payroll, have been successful because of JBoss Enterprise Middleware. The bank transfers are not only immediate, but involve multi-currency and multi-country transactions. Since the start of the project, 25,000 transfer orders have been made without a single error.

“This project has definitely been a success. We are now fully compliant with current standards and the scalability and flexibility of open source technology has allowed us to gain high availability,” said Guiserix. “Previously, if we had a computer problem, our only backup plan was to make transfers with other banks by fax. Today, we have a business continuity and computer disaster recovery plan.”

AFD can now detect errors proactively and has significantly increased its ability to anticipate issues. AFD hopes to continue its overall consolidation project for the next five years and transition the majority of its infrastructure to JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform.

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