Leading Indian Financial Services Firm Cuts Costs and Increases Agility with Red Hat and Intel

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November 12, 2013

Due to its expansive growth and its need to rapidly respond to changing business demands, CIBIL sought to implement a cost-efficient, stable, scalable, and high-performance virtualization platform to support its mission-critical credit bureau applications.

Customer: CIBIL

“Red Hat freed us from vendor lock-in, and enabled us to use the existing hardware platforms to deliver flexibility and high performance.” - Shiju Rawther, vice president, I.T., CIBIL

Red Hat Business Partner: Intel
Geography: APAC
Country: India


Business Challenge:

Due to its expansive growth and its need to rapidly respond to changing business demands, CIBIL sought to implement a cost-efficient, stable, scalable, and high-performance virtualization platform to support its mission-critical credit bureau applications.

Hardware:

Dual socket 10-Core Intel Xeon MP, 2267 Mhz processor

Benefits:

Red Hat provided CIBIL with an enterprise-class solution at an affordable price without any compromise on stability and performance.

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Background:

Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited, or CIBIL, is the first and the largest Credit Bureau in India and plays a critical role in India`s financial system. The use of CIBIL`s products have led to massive change in the way the credit life cycle is managed by both load providers and consumer in India.

Business Challenge:

Consolidating I.T. infrastructure through virtualization

Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL) provides credit reports that help lenders evaluate and approve loan applications. Because of its large data processing and analysis needs, the firm has been strategically using I.T. since its inception in 2000. “Our core credit rating and reporting applications are from Dun & Bradstreet and TransUnion,” said Shiju Rawther, vice president, I.T., CIBIL. “Apart from them, we have many other business-critical applications for different business units.”

CIBIL had its own datacenter and hosted all of its business-critical applications on more than 100 physical server boxes. “The core applications were on HP-UX boxes while all other applications, including the new initiatives and the datacenter infrastructure applications, were on Intel Xeon processor-based platform,” said Shiju.

Deploying the entire I.T. infrastructure on physical machines limited business growth. “With the expansion of business, there were multiple new requirements for which new I.T. applications needed to be built,” said Shiju. These new requirements would have significantly increased the number of physical boxes. “Since this was a costly affair, we were forced to postpone building new I.T. applications and systems.”

Building the infrastructure platform for new applications was a tedious process. “We used to take nearly two months to commission physical hardware for any new business application,” said Shiju. These long timelines severely impacted the company’s operational flexibility and agility.

CIBIL stopped its one application/one server approach and consolidated its I.T. infrastructure using virtualization.

Solution:

Building an agile, scalable, and high-performance virtualized platform

The CIBIL I.T. team evaluated multiple server consolidation and virtualization products. “The key parameters we considered were stability, reliability, performance, memory requirements, manageability, and cost,” said Shiju. After careful internal consideration, the firm chose Intel and Red Hat as its trusted technology partners and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization as its virtualization platform.

“We conducted a rigorous evaluation which involved a proof of concept study and detailed demonstration of the features and functionality of different products,” said Shiju. “Our TCO/ROI analysis proved Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization has the lowest TCO in its class. And 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 CIBIL and for decision makers across business units and users,” said Shiju.

CIBIL took a phased approach to implementing Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization by initially moving the user acceptance testing (UAT) environment along with certain, less-critical applications onto the solution. In phase one, the I.T. team virtualized one server box and hosted 16 virtual machines (VMs). “In phase one itself, we could reduce four physical boxes, which is quite a significant achievement,” said Shiju.

After successfully migrating multiple business applications in the first phase, the firm decided to migrate its business-critical applications in phase two. “Because of the confidence we gained from the implementation of Red Hat’s virtualization solution, we migrated certain core business applications, including credit bureau applications, on the second virtualized box in phase two,” said Shiju. In this phase, CIBIL’s I.T. team could also accommodate new application requirements of the business units. “We catered to as many as 26 new business application requirements,” he said. In this phase, CIBIL reduced another four physical boxes while hosting 18 VMs on the virtualized box.

“The initial deployment happened smoothly without any glitches,” said Shiju. “The support from the Red Hat team throughout the entire solution implementation life cycle has been excellent.” Since deployment, CIBIL’s infrastructure has been stable and performance has greatly increased.

CIBIL’s I.T. team also benefited from Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization’s live migration and system scheduler features, which automatically move running VMs between hosts and continuously load balance the VM’s resource usage. “This makes the manageability of the system simple,” said Shiju. “These features have made Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization a change-friendly solution since migration and load balancing happen seamlessly,” he said.

Benefits:

An ideal platform for building secured, high performance, and cost-effective I.T. infrastructure

“With Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization on Intel Xeon processor-based servers, we were able to extract tremendous value from our applications,” said Shiju. “Red Hat freed us from vendor lock-in, and enabled us to use the existing hardware platforms to deliver flexibility and high performance.”

CIBIL experienced the typical benefits of server consolidation such as improved server use, reduced hardware and power costs, and simplified management. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization also allowed CIBIL to rapidly respond to changing business needs because it could build a production platform in less than 48 hours — a task that previously took nearly two months. “Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization helped our business become more agile,” said Shiju.

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization also helped CIBIL take on a significant number of new application requirements, which leads to better manageability and analysis of customer data. “Red Hat solutions are scalable. So, operationally, they can handle our expanding data analysis requirements,” said Shiju. Overall, this has helped CIBIL to achieve greater ROI from the I.T. infrastructure.

With a significantly reduced server footprint, the firm realized substantial cost benefits. “Not only did we reduce eight physical boxes, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization additionally eliminated the need to procure 26 new physical boxes to cater to the new requirements,” said Shiju. With cost savings from a reduction in new server procurement and annual maintenance costs as well as reduced power and cooling requirements, the firm realized ROI of about 12.5 million with the new virtualization platform.

Red Hat provided CIBIL with an enterprise-class solution at an affordable price without any compromise on stability and performance. “With the lowest TCO in its class, excellent performance and scalability, and wide ecosystem of hardware and enterprise software, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization on Intel Xeon processor-based servers is the complete solution for building an infrastructure platform for the future,” said Shiju.

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