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ICBC Develops IT System Using Huawei Servers

2015/6/18 0:00:00

“Huawei servers have been proven to be of superior quality. We use a large number of Huawei servers in our new-generation data centers. Different to the servers of other vendors that generate alarms when only about ten servers are put into use, Huawei servers have generated no errors even when dozens of Huawei servers are put into use at a time.”

— ICBC O&M engineers 

About the customer

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC for short) was founded in 1984. It is one of the Big Four state-owned banks and the largest commercial bank in China. As of 2013, ICBC offers financial products and services for 4.735 million corporate customers and 432 million individual customers through outlets, including 17,000 branches in China, 329 branches outside China, and 1,903 agents, as well as with electronic payment systems, including online banking, telephone banking, and self-service banking. Focused on its core business as a commercial bank, ICBC has built a comprehensive and international IT-based business model.

In 2013 and 2014, it ranked first on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of world’s biggest public companies. In 2014, it ranked first in Fortune’s Global 500 in terms of banks.


As the largest bank in China, ICBC has 17,000 outlets in China. Financial informationization and the emergence of Internet-based finance have greatly changed the operating models of financial institutions, and the basic bank services, such as payment, settlement, financing, transfer, risk management, and information search, are provided based on an IT system. In addition, innovative Internet-based services, including online banking, telephone banking, and WeChat banking, present great challenges to traditional financial services.

To support complex service modes and meet customer requirements, ICBC constructed an IT system focusing on data warehouse. The data system provides a basic service platform for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), finance management, performance management, risk management, and information management, as well as customized services including customer analysis and precision marketing.

The Beijing and Shanghai data centers are deployed with platforms for the core production system, disaster recovery system, and test systems. The data centers have the following requirements for servers:

High stability and reliability

The operating of core services varies depending on server reliability. Any server failure may cause performance deterioration or service interruption which, in turn, causes direct or indirect economic or reputation loss for ICBC that handles hundreds of millions of orders everyday. Therefore, to ensure continuous and reliable services, the servers must be stable and reliable, with an annual average availability ratio at least greater than 99.99%.

High performance and power efficiency

Based on the 2013 IDC report, half of the operating costs of enterprise data centers are comprised of servers’ electricity costs, including the server operating electricity cost and cooling cost. In addition, multi-fold growth of business and rapid development of virtualization and cloud computing services poses requirements on high server performance. This requires an optimal balance between the performance and power consumption. Therefore, servers need to provide strong computing capabilities with minimum power consumption.

Large number of servers

With ever-increasing services and customers, ICBC spends hundreds of millions of RMB to purchase thousands of servers each year. This has high requirements on the delivery ability, TCO control, and after-sales service of the vendor.

Quick delivery and deployment

Time-to-market is critical for the new innovative financial services through ICBC’s IT system. In addition, ICBC deploys large amounts of servers in batches each quarter. To meet the service rollout requirements, ICBC requires that the servers should arrive within one week. Therefore, the vendors must ensure quick delivery, strong supply chain control, and rapid site deployment.


Since 2008, Huawei has been deploying its fault-tolerant computers and x86 universal servers in the banks in China and has accumulated rich experience in deploying servers in the financial industry, helping customer construct next-generation data centers.

Based on its deep understanding of bank services and expertise, Huawei provides the latest-generation 4U four-socket RH5885 V3 servers to help ICBC consolidate its IT system.

High reliability

The RH5885 V3 servers provide chip-level fault-tolerant features, such as automatic CPU and link recovery and support dozens of Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS) features, ensuring stable system operation. The RH5885 V3 servers support memory mirroring and memory sparing to prevent system shutdown caused by memory hardware faults. The RH5885 V3 servers support hot-swap maintenance (without opening the chassis cover) for key components, such as PSUs, fan modules, and hard disks. These features enable quick replacement for faulty components during normal system operation.

To provide a high starting point and ensure quality levels for manufacturing, Huawei has high standard requirements on raw materials control, manufacturing, and factory acceptance testing. Huawei also uses the telecommunication production platforms to manufacture its IT products including servers. For example, Huawei performs not only common burn-in tests, but also full disk read/write tests for hard disks. The test standards are higher than the common test standards used in the industry. Therefore, the server fault rate is about 15% lower than the average level, ensuring stable service operation of ICBC.

High-performance and energy-efficient design 

Each RH5885 V3 server supports four Intel® Xeon® E7-4800 v2 series processors. The maximum number of cores per processor is increased from 10 to 15, and the cache capacity is increased from 30 MB to 37.5 MB. The total processor performance is increased by 200% compared with the previous-generation Westmere-EX (E7-4800). The RH5885 V3 can be configured with Huawei ES series PCIe Solid-State Drives (SSDs) and provides outstanding Input/Output (I/O) performance, eliminating disk performance bottlenecks.

In addition, the RH5885 V3 adopts an all-around energy-saving design, including vector airflow management technology, double-faced cellular board technology, Dynamic Energy Management Technology (DEMT), dynamic power-capping technology, and platinum PSUs, to achieve the optimal balance between performance and power consumption, helping ICBC’s data centers reduce electricity costs (Huawei servers offer 10% less power consumption than the servers with similar configurations). 

Quick delivery and deployment

By leveraging its manufacturing and delivery resources in the IT industry, years of experience in integrated delivery of thousands of servers in the Internet field, and streamlined ordering, manufacturing, and delivery processes, Huawei ensures quick delivery for the ICBC project.

Huawei transported the RH5885 V3 servers to the ICBC’s data centers by air to meet the fast delivery and deployment requirements of ICBC.

Customer benefits

In 2014, Huawei RH5885 V3 servers were successfully put into use in the data centers of the ICBC head office to support multiple core services after strict POC tests and trial use. The ICBC-Huawei co-operation helps ICBC alleviate the shortage of IT sources, lays a solid foundation for continuous service development, and underpins its leading position in the China banking industry:

  • Stable and reliable operation: The RH5885 V3 servers offer a failure rate that is 15% lower than the average level and implement non-alarm batch rollout.
  • Improved performance: The RH5885 V3 server equipped with the ES3000 SSD card provides the IOPS up to 510,000, improving the database query performance and customer experience.
  • Reduced power consumption and electricity costs: The RH5885 V3 servers use innovative heat dissipation design and high-efficient PSUs, reducing the energy consumption by more than 10% and lowering electricity costs.
  • Quick rollout: Batch delivery and rollout within one week accelerated new service deployment for ICBC.