The Benefits: High Reliability That Supports Banking Operations
Alior Bank implemented 4 Hitachi Unified Storage VM (HUS VM) systems: 2 in each of the centers. The 1st system is equipped with traditional hard drives (more than 170TB of raw storage in total), while the 2nd comprises high-capacity Hitachi Accelerated Flash drives (the basic configuration consists of four 1.6TB drives per one system).
“HUS VM is perfect for those organizations that do not feel the need to implement the largest enterprise systems, and for whom midrange products are not efficient enough or do not have the required functionalities. We did not want to expand our old systems, so HUS VM seemed like the best possible choice,” said Fryc.
Flash drive systems filled a gap in the case of the most critical applications, such as debt collection systems or online banking. These applications require uncompromising performance and instant access to data more than just capacity
“We are testing this solution and we are very impressed by the high performance offered by the system. With a single drive structure, we can achieve results unmatched by many midrange systems,” added Fryc.
In addition to storing block data and files on a single centralized platform, HUS VM also provides advanced virtualization capabilities. The HUS VM built-in virtualization was used by Alior Bank to consolidate the storage offered by the older storage models and take advantage of dynamic relocation of data between tiers (tiering). Fryc admits that even though the performance of the midrange storage systems purchased in 2008 does not match the contemporary products, thanks to virtualization, the bank does not lose valuable storage: The legacy systems can be allocated for less-critical environments or applications, or used when workloads are lower.
Along with the HUS VM systems, the bank also implemented Hitachi Unified Storage 130, located in one of the data processing centers. Alior Bank uses it mainly as a testing (pre-production) environment for performance and security tests before launching services in a production environment. HUS 130 systems come with Hitachi NAS Platform file modules with built-in deduplication functionality. A file system is preferred because the bank relies on the VMware server virtualization. Thanks to removing excess data, the bank managed to reduce the need for storage by approximately 60%.
Most of the storage system environment is managed via Hitachi Command Suite. This advanced management software enables the storage specialists to access all of the necessary information, including reports or resource utilization views, in a single interface.
“Thanks to Command Suite, which is a very ergonomic solution, indeed, we know exactly how many resources we have. For example, we know if we have enough storage to launch a new service without additional investments. Sometimes it is enough to migrate data and put it in a suitable place. This capability is provided by centralized storage system management,” says Fryc.
Due to its IT security and business continuity policies, Alior Bank also uses storage from other manufacturers. However, the managers of the IT Maintenance Department admit that they are exceptionally happy with Hitachi storage. In particular, they stress the high reliability of the system, which ensures 100% data availability.
“From our point of view, data availability is the key factor. Since we started using Hitachi solutions more than 6 years ago, we have never experienced any failures in our storage infrastructure. Hitachi reliability gives it a clear competitive edge,” concludes Grzywna. From an IT department in the banking sector, which relies heavily on the readiness of its infrastructure, this is the highest praise an IT systems provider can get.