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    Kazakhstan's Halyk Bank Upgrades the Digital Service Experience with Huawei OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage

As technology and the Internet become increasingly important to everyday life, people now expect to be able to access online banking services through mobile apps and other digital channels. This has created an opportunity for banks to meet — indeed, strive to exceed — expectations, offering their customers ever more convenient, efficient, and innovative ways to manage their finances, around the clock.

A case in point is Kazakhstan's Halyk Bank. Boasting a history that dates back to 1923, Halyk is currently the largest commercial bank in the country, cementing its position by providing a wide range of financial products and services to both retail and corporate customers. With an extensive network of 572 branches and offices, staffed by over 16,000 employees, the bank has an unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality banking services, earning it a reputation for reliability, both at home and abroad.

A Digital Strategy to Build a Proprietary Ecosystem

Recently, Halyk's focus has fallen firmly on enhancing digital capabilities to improve the customer experience and boost convenience for end-users. For example, the introduction of the Halyk Homebank and Onlinebank mobile apps, complementing a fully featured online banking platform, is testament to this commitment to customers, who benefit from greater flexibility and ease of access to their accounts.

Such efforts to improve the bank's digital capabilities have resulted in the introduction of several notable features — such as allowing users to access multiple websites and applications using a single login, or making cash withdrawals from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) possible using only a Quick Response (QR) code — underlining the bank's commitment to the customer experience.

And looking at a bigger picture, Halyk's expansion into other digital platforms — such as the travel agency Halyk Travel, investment tool Halyk Invest, online shop Halyk Marketplace, and ticketing hub — is a strategic move aimed at building an entire ecosystem for its customers. This approach has the added benefit of allowing the bank to diversify its revenue streams and grow its businesses into all walks of life.

Rapid Growth in Digital Service Strains Storage

In recent years, Halyk Bank has effectively implemented its digital strategy and rapidly developed its digital services. The expansion of Halyk's ecosystem services has been a key driver of a surge in its online traffic and transaction volumes. In the second quarter of 2023, the bank enjoyed a remarkable 34.4% Year-on-Year (YoY) increase in its interest income. Online users of Halyk Homebank have also swelled, with Monthly Active Users (MAUs) growing by 29.9% YoY, up to 6.3 million, and Daily Active Users (DAUs) climbing by 20.7% YoY, reaching 1.81 million.

But, with such significant increases leading to far greater volumes of data, Halyk's legacy network infrastructure in the bank's own data center — which included storage devices used for virtualization platforms and Virtual Machine (VM) data storage — began to struggle, simply unable to meet new capacity requirements.

The bank's legacy storage solution relied on mechanical Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), along with a limited number of low capacity Solid-State Drives (SSDs), which could only deliver low performance and had the potential to negatively impact overall system performance. So, a solution based on SSDs that could offer high scalability was sought.

All-Flash Storage Accelerates Digital Platforms, enable 24/7 stabilized service

Halyk offers a comprehensive range of financial services, including deposits, loans, foreign exchange, and more, in addition to its online banking platform. To support these operations, Halyk opted for Huawei OceanStor Dorado storage systems to replace its outdated solution and manage daily business activities. These systems are particularly crucial for the core transaction systems that handle high-speed transactions, large-scale data processing, and real-time monitoring and warning to ensure the safety and functionality of critical data.

In total, new storage capacity has been upgraded by 90 TiB for daily operations and 85 TiB for the core system, supporting future service growth and ensuring high-speed and stable operations for transaction services. OceanStor Dorado's SmartDedupe and SmartCompression features select the most suitable compression algorithm, based on different data types and characteristics, providing a 3:1 optimization rate. Through these technologies, Halyk has significantly reduced the data storage space it requires, cutting related costs and improving storage system efficiency.

When using online banking services, customers expect a seamless experience free from any interruptions, from freezing to crashes. Such issues, of course, quickly lead to dissatisfaction and negatively impact brand reputation. Halyk's new service system uses Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) network technology, which provides ultra-low latency in the microsecond range. This significantly enhances the efficiency of the bank's core tasks and ensures that users enjoy a superior user experience.

Additionally, Halyk also implemented OceanStor Dorado storage systems for the core business, it chose remote replication and snapshot technology to share information between its two data centers, building a gateway-free active-active solution that doesn't suffer from node faults. If one data center goes down for unexpected reasons, the other takes over, ensuring that services are always available, 24/7.

Huawei OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage will continue to support Halyk's future business growth as it evolves through Financial Technology (FinTech) innovation and upgrades, delivering a robust, reliable, convenient ecosystem for its customers and partners, heralding a bright future in a new, connected, and digital world.

“Huawei has brought a fast and reliable solution that caters to a wide range of client needs,this has made Halyk the most trustworthy partner in the market.”

Artem Pavlenko

The CIO of Halyk Bank