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    Ukraine's Pivdenny Bank Builds a Smart Banking IT Platform Using a Huawei Data Storage System

Joint-Stock Bank Pivdenny (JSB Pivdenny) is one of the largest commercial banks operating in the domestic financial market. Indeed, the bank ranks among the top 15 financial institutions in Ukraine and is the second biggest Ukrainian private bank in terms of total assets, according to data published by the National Bank of Ukraine.

The bank offers a wide range of services for corporate customers and private individuals alike, nationwide, through its extensive regional network that, as of July 2020, included 102 branches across 18 regions. And the key principle underlying the bank's work? Generate maximum benefits for every customer, all based on simplified, extremely user-friendly services.

Initiating an IT Infrastructure Transformation to Build New Products and Services

It is imperative that modern banks have the ability to innovate products and online services, fast, if they are to flourish in today's hyper-competitive, dynamic environment. Indeed, successful banks integrate best-in-class technology into every aspect of their business, building robust Information Technology (IT) platforms that can help grow client satisfaction levels, drive operational efficiencies, and develop new business opportunities, from smart banking to smart retail.

Truly future-facing core banking IT infrastructure places special focus on scalability, in order to meet the emerging business needs of the next five years and react rapidly to a fast-changing business landscape. By contrast, worldwide, financial institutions of all shapes and sizes are finding that traditional IT platforms, with limited scope for expansion, can hold back performance and future growth. In short, to deliver agility — and a path to rapid development — it's essential to shift to modern IT architecture.

JSB Pivdenny has long aimed for excellence by investing in the best-available technologies. Accordingly, the bank wanted to construct a new testing platform to better meet customer needs for diverse applications, and therefore support rapid business development over coming years.

With years of experience, the bank knew what was most valuable: rock-solid IT reliability. Given the growth in the volume of core system data, and with the need to lower possible risks associated with an increasing number of concurrent transactions, any new infrastructure would be required to operate stably, 24/7 — uninterrupted. It would also need to be extremely responsive, including proactive monitoring of systems. Additionally, the bank knew that a highly flexible storage system was essential, in order to support innovation as well as reduce initial investment costs.

The bank, of course, also wanted to prioritize its customers and improve end-user transaction response times dramatically. The aim was to make transactions seamless and simple, even during peak periods, as well as support smoother overall services, and — stated quite simply — bring a better service experience.

Future-Proof the Foundation: Build a Reliable IT Platform

JSB Pivdenny kicked-off its project by making a comprehensive evaluation of the different IT infrastructure solutions on the market. It became clear to the bank that Huawei offered the technology best able to meet its needs.

"The first time we met Huawei was at a Huawei IT Day event," said Kavetskyi Mykhailo, Server Department Head at JSB Pivdenny, "where Huawei introduced its OceanStor solutions to us. Previously, we knew neither the equipment nor the capabilities of the company's service team. Firstly, we wanted to see how it worked and try it out. We took OceanStor Dorado for testing purposes: mainly, we were interested in data replication. Huawei and its partners delivered, installed, and configured the equipment at both of our sites. But Huawei went even further and offered us a new generation of OceanStor Dorado, one which, at that period of time, had not even been officially released. As it turned out, in all of Ukraine, we were actually one of the very first recipients of next generation OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage systems.’’

After concluding a successful Proof of Concept (PoC) test, the bank decided that the Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage Solution was the best option and, with it, made the shift to an all-flash-oriented architecture for the very first time. A move to all-flash brings banks several benefits, including reduced costs and a big boost to performance.

As such, Huawei's OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage line-up represents the next generation of all-flash, Solid State Drive (SSD) storage systems, offering enhanced customization capabilities for critical enterprise services. It builds a future-proofed block data landscape using a SAN Attached Storage (SAS) model for general, Virtual Machine (VM) centralized storage, and a Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) model to achieve real Database (DB) acceleration.

After initial commissioning tests, the bank effectively reduced the average milliseconds latency figure, also notably improving the database compression ratio. In addition, the bank was satisfied with its experiences with Huawei Hi-Care Premier Support — a maintenance service solution specifically developed for customers who purchase Huawei products — which was provided across multiple cities, from Kyiv to Lviv and Odesa.

Through this service solution, Huawei provides warranty services and rapidly responds to customer requests for Technical Assistance Center (TAC) support and advanced hardware replacement, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ongoing Improvements Will Not Be Hindered by Complex IT Infrastructure

JSB Pivdenny has been impressed by Huawei's solution in terms of the performance figures, the support provided, and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)."During the OceanStor Dorado test, we had to contact the regional TAC in Romania twice, and we were satisfied," commented Kavetskyi Mykhailo. "We cared a lot about this level of service because our data centers are not located in the country's capital but in regional centers instead. Moreover, the local Huawei office managed to provide warehouses for spare parts closer to our data centers and deliver its Hi-Care Support Service.‘’

Both the performance of the OceanStor Dorado 5000 All-Flash Storage system and Huawei's service team met the bank's expectations. JSB Pivdenny is now confident that its new testing platform will equip it for a rapidly changing business environment, offering the bank an opportunity to innovate and meet evolving user needs more efficiently. Cooperation with Huawei has brought real technological innovation to the bank's data storage infrastructure — with much improved performance indicators to match.