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The average person in the Philippines spends more time on the Internet than any other country in the world, with Filipinos logging over 11 hours each and every day, compared to a global average of just six. Indeed, with a total population of more than 100 million, 71% are active Internet users, and this creates the perfect environment to develop the country’s digital economy ecosystem through Financial Technology (FinTech).

In stark contrast to these notably high figures, in 2019, more than 50 million Filipinos — over half the population — remain unbanked. And, according to an official government report, just 8% of Filipino adults had an active e-money account. And with 97% of Filipinos still trading in cash in one way or another, the in-person contact this requires carries increased risks during the global pandemic.

In recent years, Huawei has been collaborating closely with the largest bank in the Philippines, BDO Unibank (BDO), to realize the bank's strategic ambition: to continue improving business efficiency and customer services through digital transformation, in order to bring inclusive finance to more Filipinos.

In April 2021, BDO rolled out BDO Pay, a mobile wallet and contactless payment solution that provides users with convenient and instant access to digital banking services. On the path toward inclusive digital banking, BDO is actively embracing technological innovation to upgrade its legacy infrastructure, improve its competitive edge, and develop more innovative services across the entire business. For any bank, all of this is unachievable without specialist support; realizing this, BDO partnered with Huawei to adopt technology to accelerate its digital transformation.

BDO's digital banking expansion is powered by Huawei's OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage Solution, which implements a reliable, secure, and future-proofed data sharing platform that is virtualized and on the cloud. The Huawei Data Management Engine (DME) and OceanStor Dorado Storage make up the foundation of the solution, intelligently safeguarding the data of the bank's growing customer assets and transactions.

BDO's refresh of its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure was largely driven by the increasing capacity requirements that arose as the business grew. The legacy system was limited in its capacity to fully process and make use of the data resources that can be used to create new value, and an upgrade was therefore required. In addition, the bank was experiencing the effects of siloed infrastructure, resulting in storage utilization of less than 40% and much lower throughput. To remove this obstacle and to create new value, Huawei OceanStor Dorado provides a high Solid-State Drive (SSD) configuration ratio with SmartTier, enabling 1.3 GB/s bandwidth and significantly improving the performance of the data sharing platform. Moreover, OceanStor Dorado features HyperReplication and a Storage Area Network (SAN) + Network-Attached Storage (NAS) unified storage system to meet BDO's file sharing and backup requirements. This helps achieve an active-passive system to protect all business data, from images and voice notes to scanned documents and more. Huawei OceanStor Dorado also supports elastic service expansion, slashes service rollout time, and accelerates data monetization in storage resource pools. In fact, during a Proof of Concept (PoC) performance test, the entire backup service time was slashed from two days to just 6 hours.

In addition to performance requirements, Operations and Maintenance (O&M) was also in need of an upgrade, as the legacy infrastructure lacked an automation orchestration platform. Over-reliance on manual O&M also made system fault diagnosis complex — not to mention inaccurate — resulting in the maintenance department being flooded with complaints. To improve diagnosis, accuracy and problem solving efficiency, as well as bring down related management costs, the answer was obvious: digitalize O&M.

Now, using Huawei's DME, BDO's storage utilization has been boosted from 40% to 70%. And the intelligent fault diagnosis capability of the system has seen efficiency soar to 90%. The DME also manages data resource pools, which are created and configured based on service levels to manage hot, warm, and cold data by layer, using algorithms to automatically convert hot data into warm or even cold data. Such nonessential data is then stored on lower-cost media to reduce resource waste and improve service efficiency. Put simply, Huawei DME effectively ensures the full lifecycle management of the storage system, with backup and recovery solutions available to unleash the full value of data.

"During the Proof of Concept test, I was impressed with the high performance and reliability of Huawei's product. We trust Huawei for its service-centric value, fast response to our demands, and its commitment to continuing to innovate future technologies for the Financial Services Industry (FSI). This is why we hope to build long-term cooperation with Huawei," said Dennis Tangonan, Infrastructure Operation Head, BDO.

BDO's recent IT infrastructure upgrade and refresh of the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is yet another step taken in the bank's digital transformation journey. Meeting the constantly changing demands for capacity and services is at the heart of BDO's business operations as industries enter the intelligent era. BDO will continue to innovate its storage system in order to provide the best products and services for its customers. And, side-by-side with BDO, Huawei will continue to support the bank along its digital transformation road, providing leading services and technology that enable BDO to maintain its position as the largest bank in the Philippines.

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