Euronet Powers Its Card Management Application on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to Reduce Operational Costs, Enhance Performance, and Improve Business Agility

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April 15, 2011

Customer: Euronet Services India Pvt. Limited (Subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc.)

Geography: APAC
Country: India


Business Challenge:

To consolidate hardware resources to build a platform that is flexible, secure, scalable, high-performance, and cost-effective

Solution:

Migrated business-critical Card Management application from Microsoft Windows to a virtualized platform on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, SQL Server database, Microsoft Windows Server operating system

Hardware:

Intel Quad-core Nehalem processor-based servers from Dell

Benefits:

Achieved increased flexibility and choice by freeing the organization from vendor lock-in, decreased hardware and power costs, simplified management, reduced systems maintenance, increased scalability and performance, improved server utilization, and improved business agility. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization not only reduced our operational costs, but more importantly made our business more agile to rapidly respond to ever-changing business needs. It also helped us to build an ideal infrastructure platform for the future.” Ashish Mehta, director, IT & Infrastructure for Asia Pacific & Middle East, Euronet Worldwide Inc

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Background:

Euronet Worldwide, Inc. is a global provider of electronic payment and transaction processing solutions for financial institutions, retailers, service providers, and individual consumers. It facilitates the movement of payments around the world and serves as a critical link between its partners-financial institutions, retailers, and service providers-and their end consumers, both locally and globally. Founded in 1994, Euronet has established itself as a leading electronic payments provider. Euronet#39;s customers are served from three core business segments: electronic financial transactions (EFT), including payments software, prepaid (epay), and money transfer. In 2009, the company processed approximately $50 billion in ATM, prepaid, and money transfer payments for more than 115 financial institutions, 200 mobile operators, approximately 320,000 retailer and agent locations, and millions of individual consumers across 46 countries. In 2002, Euronet entered India with the launch of Euronet Services India Pvt. Ltd., its Indian subsidiary, with a multi-year ATM outsourcing agreement to operate 450 ATMs for one of India#39;s largest private banks. In India, Euronet successfully introduced the concept of Cashnet, India#39;s largest shared ATM network. In the last seven years, Cashnet network has grown to 10,700 ATMs across India, covering 450 locations countrywide and supported by 14 member banks.

Business Challenge:

Euronet Worldwide Inc., and in particular its India subsidiary, Euronet India Services Pvt. Ltd., has been highly conscious about its IT spending. “The impact of the recession is still there,” said Ashish Mehta, director, IT and Infrastructure for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Euronet. “In such a volatile market, a company just can’t spend money because the technology is innovative. The technology needs to be able to deliver high system performance and scalability balanced with significant overall cost savings, thereby achieving higher return on investment.”

As many of Euronet’s IT systems are mission-critical, the company followed the “one application, one server” approach to achieve high system performance and reliability. This approach led to uncontrolled growth of physical servers, which in turn increased the requirements for datacenter, energy, and other utilities. “We also wanted to optimize our hardware resources because upgrading hardware in short intervals of time was becoming costly,” said Mehta.

Euronet had traditionally been a complete Microsoft Windows shop, but had faced challenges with the proprietary software. “We had issues with Microsoft’s complicated licensing policies,” said Mehta. “In such a scenario, the only way to address the concerns and achieve all of our business goals was to opt for consolidation and a migration to an open platform,” Mehta explains. Euronet wanted to build an agile platform that was flexibile, scalable, secure, and delivered high performance.

Solution:

Euronet’s decision to move to open source-based solutions was made after careful internal consideration. “The overall value proposition and benefits of Red Hat’s open source solutions were so compelling that it made sense to build a solid business case for the top management team at Euronet. Thankfully, our IT team was highly supportive of open architectures, which helped me to make the case stronger,” said Mehta. His team convinced the top management to deploy open source solutions by following a two-pronged approach, which included demonstrating a higher ROI based on Red Hat’s open source solutions and planning phased rollouts to mitigate potential challenges.

“Implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux was one of the key milestones in our IT infrastructure, and it was the first time Euronet was implementing an open source solution,” said Mehta. “After we established Red Hat Enterprise Linux as our operating system of choice, we began investigating virtualization solutions.”

With flexibility, scalability, cost, security, and performance criteria in mind, Euronet’s IT team started evaluating various technology products in the server consolidation and virtualization space. “We evaluated various options, such as VMware ESX Server, Citrix XenServer, and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization,” said Mehta. After evaluating these virtualization technologies on various parameters, including cost, flexibility, performance, and hardware support, Euronet chose Red Hat as its trusted technology partner and decided to use Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as its virtualization platform of choice.

Euronet began the implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in a phased manner by initially moving less critical applications onto the solution. “This helped us in mitigating challenges and also in ensuring that we achieved sound system performance,” said Mehta.

The first application that Euronet chose for implementing on the Red Hat virtualization platform was its Card Management Application. “Being a standalone application, it was ideal to start with,” said Mehta. “Although standalone, it is quite a transaction-heavy application. So, the performance expectations were huge,” he added. The application was also directly impacting the company’s top line. “If lesser transactions take place due to performance bottlenecks then it would lead to direct revenue loss for Euronet,” said Mehta.

“The implementation happened in record time without any glitches,” he adds. Euronet’s IT team was highly supportive of implementing Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. “Training was not an issue as our team had the necessary skills,” said Mehta. Currently, the Card Management System has been deployed on two server hosts each running the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor. The Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization solution was implemented by Taashee Linux Services, Red Hat’s partner in India. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is so comprehensively featured that it takes a while to uncover all of its functionality. But once one gets the command over this wonderful product these features become smart aids for us to integrate them in a complex and real time environment like Euronet,” said Abhishek Datt, chief technology officer, Taashee Linux Services.

The overall performance of the system with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is excellent. “With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, we now get at least 20-25% faster performance from the same application that was earlier running on the Microsoft Windows platform,” said Mehta.

Euronet’s IT team also benefited from Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s Live Migration and System Scheduler features, which automatically move running virtual machines between hosts and continuously load balance the virtual machines on their resource usage. “This makes the manageability of the system very simple,” said Mehta. “These features have made Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization a change-friendly solution as migration and load balancing happens seamlessly,” he adds.

In the near future, Euronet plans to move its more critical standalone applications to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. “The next application in line for virtualization is our Mobile Recharge Application, where we expect its performance to enhance from the current 200,000 transactions per day to around 500,000 transactions per day in the next two years,” said Mehta. “Other similar applications, such as MIS application,s are also in our virtualization pipeline,” he added.

Euronet is also actively looking at using Red Hat’s desktop solution. “We plan to migrate most of our non-critical desktops from Windows to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based environment,” said Mehta.

Benefits:

“With Red Hat’s cutting-edge virtualization solution, we were able to extract tremendous value from our applications,” said Mehta. “Red Hat freed us from vendor lock-in and enabled the organization to utilize the existing hardware platforms to deliver flexibility and high performance.” Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization performs well on a variety of supported hardware configurations as compared to the comparable offerings from other virtualization technology vendors. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization supports a wide ecosystem of hardware and software, which offers us greater infrastructure choice,” said Mehta.

Euronet obtained all the typical benefits of server consolidation, such as improved server utilization, reduced hardware and power costs, and simplified management. Apart from these typical benefits, Red Hat’s solution enabled Euronet to rapidly respond to changing business needs.

“Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization helped our business to become more agile,” said Mehta.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization also helped Euronet to significantly improve its ability to serve new customers and enter into new areas of business. “Red Hat solutions are scalable. So, operationally, they can handle our expanding user base,” said Mehta. Overall, this has helped Euronet to achieve greater ROI from its IT infrastructure.

Overall performance of the infrastructure has also improved multi-fold since the implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. The rejection rate during transaction processing in the application due to technical issues has come down drastically from 11.7% to 2.3%. “This clearly means that we can process a higher number of transactions per day leading to more revenue for the company,” said Mehta.

“We are strongly proposing other business units of Euronet to adopt Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization,” said Mehta. In the long term, Euronet is looking at consolidating its existing datacenters using Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. “My ultimate wish is to build our datacenters in the form of a private cloud based on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization,” he added.

Red Hat provided Euronet with an enterprise-class solution at an affordable price without any compromise on performance. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization not only reduced our operational costs, but more importantly made our business more agile to rapidly respond to ever-changing business needs. It also helped us to build an ideal infrastructure platform for the future,” said Mehta.

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