Challenge: To accelerate data analysis, reduce the total cost of ownership and provide for mandatory reporting under new legislation.
Solution: Replacement of underperforming data warehouse solution with Hitachi Unified Compute Platform for Oracle Database.
Raiffeisenbank a.s., present on the Czech market since 1993, is the country’s fifth largest by asset volume and one of the fastest growing universal banks in the Czech Republic. It is part of Raiffeisen Bank International AG, one of the leading banking groups in Central and Eastern Europe.
Raiffeisenbank’s approach is unique as all financial and nonfinancial data are stored in a single data warehouse. However, the original solution, based on the RISC architecture with IBM® AIX® operating system and running on older Hitachi storage, could not keep pace with a growing volume of data. It also could not meet demands for faster analyses for financial and business purposes as well as new, more stringent regulatory requirements for reporting.
"Sound managerial and financial decisions and a detailed knowledge of our clients’ needs are essential for execution of our business strategy that is focused on dynamic growth. For that, we need a fast and reliable access to business, financial, customer and marketing data from our central data warehouse,” explains the Head of IT Operations at Raiffeisenbank, Tomas Jaburek.
In 2014, loading of daily data from transaction systems to the warehouse and data mart calculation took approximately 20 hours. If an error occurred during this complicated process, administrators had a maximum of four hours to fix it. The data was only available to users two days later, after 10 a.m. For example, Monday’s data was not available until Wednesday, and so on. While this situation did not represent a competitive disadvantage, it did become a barrier to execution of the bank’s business strategy.
Hitachi Unified Compute Platform 6000 for Oracle Database
Hitachi Compute Blade 2500
Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform G600 with flash module
Hitachi Compute Blade with logical partitioning
Hitachi Compute Systems Manager
Hitachi Storage Virtualization Operating System
Hitachi Data Mobility
Hitachi Local Replication
Hitachi Command Suite
Design, deployment and tuning services provided by Hitachi TrueNorth Partner MHM computer a.s.
“The inconvenient two-day delay and uncertainty regarding data availability should any issues occur, coupled with our inability to easily scale up the capacity and performance of the solution prompted us to consider acquiring a new solution,” says Jaburek.
Having considered the options to upgrade the existing solution, Raiffeisenbank a.s. decided in 2015 to call a tender to select a supplier for a new data warehouse infrastructure.
“We asked the selected vendors to take our data sample and prove they can process it in a quarter of the current time, specifically in less than two hours,” says Jaburek, describing the selection procedure. Hitachi Vantara and one of the other two bid-ders accomplished the task with a similar result and qualified for the second round of the selection procedure.
Key factors in the final decision included the price and openness of the platform. Hitachi Vantara offered a smoothly integrated and well-tuned platform based on the x86 architecture with Red Hat Enterprise Linux that can be customized and scaled as needed. The other vendor offered a significantly pricier closed solution with high administration costs, which was scalable only in fixed steps.
Implementation of the data warehouse took approximately two months, with subsequent data migration in two stages over a period of four months.
“The data warehouse is a critical component of the corporate IT environment and we could not afford any substantial dropouts. That was why we opted for an approach that would make sure the migration would not affect the bank’s operations,” says Jaburek. “Prior to the switchover, the old and the new solutions worked in parallel. At the moment of transition, the users received data from the old system on one day, and from the following day on, they have been receiving data from the new system.”
The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform for Oracle Database solution has cut the time needed to load the daily data to the data warehouse by half from 20 to 10 hours and tripled the speed of user-query processing. The availability of all corporate data in a single location allows users from all departments to create queries across all systems. This way, they can obtain a comprehensive contextual view of the client, with the ultimate goal of improving the bank’s services.
“For me, personally, it is important that we have achieved the goals of the project. The data warehouse is more powerful, the users are more satisfied, and the bank is able to meet regulatory requirements as well as to be more agile in responding to business and market developments, thanks to ready access to quality data for decision-making processes,” says Jaburek.
The transition to the UCP solution from Hitachi Vantara has reduced the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the data warehouse by 65%. For Raiffeisenbank a.s., which is committed to socially responsible and sustainable business, it is also important that the new solution has led to a substantial decrease in power consumption: The bank’s annual carbon footprint has been reduced by 270 tons of CO2.
Another major benefit of the Hitachi solution is a new flashback feature that allows for a virtually instantaneous return to any previous state, up to two days, retrospectively, with-out the need to restore data from backups. The new solution also makes it possible to quickly calculate missing data, as far back as two days.
The data in the warehouse are mirrored in real time in two locations, one of which uses Hitachi Compute Blade’s logical partitioning (LPAR) virtualization feature to serve as a testbed for development and testing. The increased performance of the new hardware facilitates faster development and deployment of improved and more comprehensive data outputs.
“A bank’s most valuable asset is their clients’ trust. In order to achieve maximum stability of our systems, we only purchase trustworthy solutions. UCP for Oracle Database has been in operation for some time without a single glitch and has met all our challenging requirements. We have achieved real and measurable improvements, and we are considering utilizing the same concept to modernize other information systems of our bank as well.” says Jaburek.
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