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China CITIC Bank Goes Digital with Huawei All-Flash Storage

In 2020, China CITIC Bank (CCB) replaced its traditional storage with Huawei’s high-end OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage system, marking the beginning of CCB’s journey to building an advanced digital commercial bank.

All-Flash Upgrade of IT Systems for Enhanced Competitiveness

In the era of digitalization, industries are forced to adapt and develop their Information Technology (IT) systems to stay relevant. The financial sector is no exception. Developing Financial Technology (FinTech) and improving IT governance capabilities, then, are now essential for banks if they are to offer the services their customers require.

As the key infrastructure for carrying financial services, a bank’s Data Center (DC) is its lifeline, covering the core and front-end systems, and keeping payments, card exchanges, mobile banking, e-banking, counter services, and the credit card system operating stably.

While servers, networks, and storage can be considered the three pillars of a bank’s IT infrastructure, storage — the accommodation of data — plays an especially important role in ensuring data security, as well as maintaining rapid and efficient data processing.

In terms of data storage, flash disks are the preferred choice for financial institutions to undertake informatization. Such disks provide high performance with low rates of failure, and their small physical footprint means more availability of invaluable space in equipment rooms.

Pioneering the upgrade to all-flash, China CITIC Bank (CCB) has replaced its traditional storage with Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado flagship all-flash storage system, to build a platform that can process the data of its critical transaction systems with ease. The storage pools of CCB’s production systems have all been upgraded to high-end all-flash storage arrays, with clear benefits gained.

Large-capacity all-flash storage improves system reliability: Compared with Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), OceanStor Dorado’s Solid State Drives (SSDs) feature five times higher reliability and support hundreds of thousands of Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS). Their performance is clearly powerful enough to satisfy the needs of multiple service systems for high concurrency and low latency during peak hours.

Huawei fully understands the complexity involved in, and critical importance of, data storage. Its OceanStor Dorado high-end all-flash storage can implement end-to-end acceleration on key paths such as transmission, computing, intelligence, storage, and management — ensuring IT systems and services run smoothly during peak hours.

Large-capacity all-flash storage shortens response times and improves data processing efficiency: Banks are constantly pursuing faster and faster IT systems to cope with the influx of enormous data volumes. With all-flash storage, read/write latency is slashed, ensuring high-performance processing of service data. CCB adopted such high-end all-flash storage to break the limit of millisecond-level storage response times, enabling faster transactions and a better service experience for customers.

Large-capacity all-flash storage greatly reduces Operations and Maintenance (O&M) risks: In CCB’s initial planning stages, scalability wasn’t sufficiently prioritized. They reached a point where their reserved storage resources could no longer meet the needs of rapidly growing service data, requiring new storage devices to be purchased and additional data to be migrated. This is a waste of resources and an O&M nightmare, with the wide range of potential risks that arise during data migration.

The elastic architecture found in a high-end all-flash system such as OceanStor Dorado supports a high level of scalability, helping banks effectively cope with unpredictable explosive service growth in the new era.

Applying Technology to Build a Green Data Center

For banks to achieve digital transformation, they must strive to simplify front-end processes, centralize back-end big data processing, create agile product and service feedback mechanisms, and make risk control more compliant. CCB has long been applying technology to improve IT governance and strengthen IT infrastructure construction, making it one of the top banks in China with the most advanced information technology. By the end of 2019, the capacity of OceanStor Dorado systems deployed in CCB’s mission-critical service databases exceeded 10 PB. Traditional storage systems with such large capacity would normally occupy huge space in equipment rooms. However, a single 3.84 TB SSD is now the standard disk found in Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado system, replacing the traditional 300 GB HDDs. Together with Huawei’s intelligent data reduction technology, one cabinet can now support 1 PB of available capacity, reducing required cabinet space by more than 90 percent. In addition, electricity and air conditioning costs are reduced by approximately 70 percent, which in turn slashes Operating Expenditure (OPEX) by up to 80 percent. The idea of creating real-world green data centers has now become a reality.

CCB will continue to drive technological innovation and promote the application of FinTech. The bank will cooperate with top infrastructure suppliers and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions providers to jointly accelerate digital transformation in the financial industry, with the aim of building a brand new digital bank, better serving the customer as well as facilitating national economic development.

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