Ganart Technologies Builds Financial Transaction Cloud on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

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August 30, 2010

Customer: Ganart Technologies

Geography: North America
Country: United States


Business Challenge:

To cost-effectively drive datacenter growth to scale with business needs

Solution:

A financial transaction cloud built on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Dell hardware

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat Network Satellite, Red Hat Training

Hardware:

Dell R7 10s with 64gigs of RAM, 2-3 processors

Benefits:

Achieved scalability and flexibility for its datacenter; built a successful cloud to enable customers and partners to pay only for consumed services; expanded performance capabilities of its datacenter; enabled PCI compliance for its systems; experienced up to 60 percent cost savings

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Background:

Ganart Technologies is a provider of reserved and compliant cloud processing for financial information and transactions. Based in the United States, but reaching customers globally, Ganart aims to provide the banking underserved with ease of access to financial activities and benefits. Its solutions are designed to reach the entire financial pyramid, but are specifically geared toward the “unbanked” and “underbanked,” who have little to no access to formal banking and its benefits. Based on a cloud software system with the ability to push a vast array of value exchange services to units in its networks, Ganart’s systems offer customers consistency with their financial services systems from end to end.

Business Challenge:

When Ganart embarked on its development of the software and systems to bring consumable banking to the masses, it built its datacenter in India based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system.

“We wanted to put something in the datacenter that was secure, responsive, high-performing, and reliable, so Red Hat was the default choice,” said Kris Glover, vice president of Software Development at Ganart Technologies. “We use Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based servers for everything in our datacenter from basic testing and development services to quality assurance (QA) and production.”

Building on its marked success with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ganart looked to scale out its business, which meant growth for its datacenter. Ganart needed the ability to drive different networks to be PCI-compliant and required many full networks for QA, staging, and production. Challenged with driving datacenter growth on a limited IT budget, Ganart realized that adopting virtualization technology would be its best strategy.

Solution:

As Ganart began investigating virtualization technology solutions to help scale out its datacenter, it only evaluated two leaders in the virtualization industry, Red Hat and VMware.

“When it came to VMware, one of the issues was cost. For the types of things we wanted to do, the VMware solution was vastly expensive compared to the investment we were making in our datacenter. With Red Hat, we realized we would get not just the cost benefit, but also benefits in performance, scalability, and security,” said Glover. “Since our servers were already running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization was a natural addition. To have both our operating system and virtualization technology from Red Hat, the synergies made a lot of sense.”

Ganart needed its virtualization technology choice to also provide the highest levels of security in order to be PCI-compliant to meet the standards demanded by its financial services-focused business.

“We are processing financial transactions and our customers are giving us sensitive private information like credit card numbers, so we need to execute with the highest levels of security standards. We needed a solution where even if our first level of applications were compromised, no one would gain access to our customers’ data,” said Glover. “With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, we realized we would be able to get our firewalls all running on a single set of hardware so that if any system were to be compromised, we could quickly and easily shut off the system and keep our data safe.”

With the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s security, cost, performance, and scalability advantages over alternatives, Ganart adopted the solution, built on Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology, in late 2009.

Today, Ganart maintains a full Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization stack with seven Dell R7 10s with 64GB of RAM. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization forms the base of five different networks, made up of over 40 Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based servers that are all PCI-compliant. Ganart uses Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to manage the virtual machines themselves and the actual physical clusters. The company also uses the complementary Red Hat Network Satellite systems management solution to keep its Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems up-to-date with patch management and the deployment of new systems. It also utilizes Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop for its ATM machines.

Ganart’s Red Hat-based datacenter is organized as a cloud that allows it to deliver its services as transactions-as-a-service, which enables its distribution partners to pay only for the transactions that they use. With its financial transaction cloud, Ganart’s partners can offer services ranging from money transfers to cashing checks with no complex set-up fees or processes. Ganart hooks providers of these services into its ATM network to offer multi-function kiosks to customers and distribution partners that enable “unbanked” customers to reduce the cost and time spent completing banking-related activities.

“When we talk about the cloud, we are talking about delivering more services, cheaper, to allow our partners and customers to pay only for what they need and use. Where Red Hat fits in is that with the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we can dynamically move capacity around as needed to fit the needs of our customers,” said Glover.

Benefits:

With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Ganart is able to affordably scale with business growth. It has achieved expanded scalability, performance, flexibility, and security while reducing costs.

A large benefit for Ganart was combining its already-in-use Red Hat Enterprise Linux technology with the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization platform, which share the same ecosystem, security, and overall technology bases. “With the combination of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we are driving all of our networks to be on the same flexible, scalable stack,” said Ryan Murray, infrastructure architect at Ganart Technology, who is a Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA). “We’re able to build out our datacenter without any extra servers because of what virtualization has enabled for us.”

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization has delivered an easy-to-use management interface that enables Ganart to “point and click” to migrate systems and enable flexibility between virtual and physical instances. Additionally, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization delivers excellent performance and scalability for Ganart’s systems.

“The performance with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is very high and we don’t have a lot of overhead for the systems,” said Murray. “Also, with the solution’s scalability features, we can take a node out of service and physically upload it or expand the cluster itself very easily. We can scale out as we need to per network or for the whole cluster.”

Built into a cloud, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization also enables the company to quickly and easily adapt to spikes in demand to meet customer and partner needs. “Part of the benefit of the cloud is that we can add processing power and services as we need to,” said Murray. “We can easily both horizontally and vertically scale our cluster. We can add more clusters with no downtime and can live migrate virtual systems over as well. We can also upgrade that system and migrate the virtual systems. We really can flex the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization cloud as we need to in order to fit our unique needs without impacting our customers.”

Ganart has also gained benefits from the flexibility and reliability of Red Hat’s support model. “If I need support, it’s there. There is an active engagement with Red Hat. I’m not getting charged for every ticket I open. It’s exactly the kind of thing you want in a partner and it’s why we see Red Hat as a partner and not just as a vendor. We will continue to grow and continue to expand our datacenter and we know that Red Hat will support us in that,” said Glover.

“Since our servers were already running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization was a natural addition. To have both our operating system and virtualization technology from Red Hat, the synergies made a lot of sense.” – Kris Glover, vice president of Software Development at Ganart Technologies

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