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Nantian and Huawei Embrace an Open Ecosystem

By Dai Min, General Architect, Software Business Group of Nantian Electronics

The business-critical systems that serve as the pivot point for the digital transformation of banking have long run on mainframes or traditional UNIX servers. As part of the move to Internet-enabled financial capabilities where open-source platforms are the mainstream, the initiatives for architectural transformation are helping banks achieve efficient and strategic service growth.

Nantian Electronics is supporting the move to open architectures for core banking service systems that run on x86 servers. The Huawei KunLun-series of advanced x86 servers are particularly ideal for mission-critical banking services.

Issues with Traditional UNIX Servers

The expanded use of virtualization and cloud computing technologies has exposed the limits of traditional closed-architecture UNIX servers. These drawbacks include high O&M costs and long service delivery cycles.

These architectural issues are putting pressure on the banking industry because they slow innovation in markets that are saturated with promises of expansive, Internet-enabled financial products and services. Unified, standardized hardware platforms with open, low-level access are better able to support distributed applications in a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) framework, which in addition to helping reduce the CAPEX and O&M costs for IT systems, enables an increased rate for product innovations. An essential characteristic of open architecture systems is the enablement of elastic scale-out and scale-up capabilities, which are also critical for supporting the rapid growth of the Internet-based financial industry.

The successful deployments of open-architecture platforms are empowering banks to achieve holistic digital transformations from the lowest layers of the machine to the highest levels of business strategy and customer fulfillment.

Replacing UNIX Servers with KunLun Servers

The Huawei KunLun Mission Critical server is based on x86 processors. Built on a scale-up architecture, able to deliver high performance and reliability, and embracing an open ecosystem, KunLun frees the mission-critical systems of banks from the longstanding reliance on traditional closed UNIX servers. The KunLun Mission Critical Server also empowers banking customers with unprecedented ease and speed to migrate and manage services in both cloud and non-cloud environments while delivering the high reliability and availability required by banks.

The OFP CoreBanking system offered by Nantian Electronics provides a full array of functions, covering various core businesses of existing commercial banks and supporting multiple emerging products and services. The system uses advanced technologies, such as distributed cloud computing and microservices, to support implicit cross-node and cross-process communication in a distributed processing resource environment. KunLun is used to build a private cloud to support flexible deployment of different upper-layer service systems, unlocking superior overall processing performance and high availability. The solution meets bank customers’ requirements for banking services, quick product innovation and rollout, as well as powerful support for core systems.

The combination of the Nantian system with Huawei KunLun unlocks unparalleled processing performance and resource availability. With this system, banks can access their core systems reliably and at high speeds.

Nantian and Huawei have combined their technology and service strengths to implement holistic systems that support the migration of mission-critical applications from UNIX servers and mainframes to x86 servers.

Integrated Solution Highlights

Huawei has deployed large-scale core bank services systems on the high-availability KunLun open platform. These core service systems run on the foundation of the distributed cloud computing and SOA microservice architecture, offering high elasticity through the distributed architecture.

The core service system uses the open Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS 2.0) technology interface provided by KunLun. A proactive error analysis engine is used to further enhance hardware fault detection. It detects potential risks and proactively generates prewarnings through upper-layer application monitoring, implements automatic isolation, and turns reactive fault handling into proactive fault management to ensure the continuity of mission-critical systems.

At Huawei’s OpenLab innovation center in Hangzhou, China, KunLun has demonstrated performance of over 14,000 Transactions per Second (TPS) that, when coupled with KunLun’s reliability features, makes the server ideal for meeting the requirements of banks.

Migrating Core Applications to KunLun

Working in the Hangzhou OpenLab, Nantian tested and confirmed the migration of a legacy instance of the Nantian banking system to the KunLun platform from a traditional UNIX host. The system components ported to the x86 platform include an integrated financial front-end, cloud payment-services, intelligent counter (customer interaction) functions, cloud-computing core services, and rural bank core services systems. Nantian and Huawei have verified these systems to ensure that the underlying APIs and key components of the UNIX architecture have been implemented correctly on the open Linux platform. More than ten service functionality points have been verified to cover migration phases such as code compilation, partial code rebuilds, deployment, and automated testing. In addition to these migration tests, the OpenLab enabled the companies to run performance tests that verified the expected reliability, stability, and performance specifications of each solution.

The core service system supports mainframe offload — the ability to migrate from legacy hardware to the KunLun cloud platform. By enabling mainframes and open systems to work together it is possible to free some mainframe capacity for applications or processes that have yet to be, or need not be ported from mainframes to the newer x86 platforms.

Benefits of the Migration

The Nantian distributed core bank services system is built to meet strict industry requirements for secure and controllable hardware and software. Further, banks are free to run and upgrade their core systems for the purpose of improving Return On Investment (ROI). The move to open computing architectures allows banks to take advantage of a technology ecosystem that includes third-party financial software and better positions banks for digital transformation. Open architectures enable banks to confidently face the challenges of incorporating traditional closed systems into the modern, Internet-based financial services market:

• Closed systems impose long development cycles

• Siloed architectures result in low resource utilization

• High Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) results from the high costs for IT construction and O&M

In contrast, the Nantian-Huawei solution brings a new architecture with many advantages:

• Open platform: A development environment that encourages service innovation and enables faster service rollouts

• Flexible expansion: KunLun enables high elasticity of infrastructure resources for high-concurrency banking services

• Lower TCO: A dramatic reduction in the cost for additional computing capacity and support for the innovative services that keep banks competitive

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