What Comes Next? Reducing the Costs and Environmental Impact of Banking Services with Storage
One of China's four major state-owned commercial banks, the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), is also one of the largest in Asia. With a massive network of some 23,000 domestic branches serving a diverse customer base, since 1995 the bank has also been operating in Japan through its dedicated Tokyo branch. This branch acts as a full-service bank offering both commercial and investment banking, as well as asset management, with a wide range of products and services, from deposit accounts and loans to credit cards, foreign exchange, and investments.
With digitalization now a key strategy in finance, ABC is committed to an unwavering focus on innovation and technology and, as such, has been investing heavily in the development of digital banking services. Its mobile banking app, for example, allows customers to access their accounts and make transactions from anywhere and at any time of the day. To make this possible, a large storage capacity is required to store customer data, financial records, and transaction information. Indeed, given the increasing use of digital channels and growing demand for real-time services, banks now need to invest in robust data centers and geographic redundancy to ensure that they can handle large volumes of data and provide reliable, secure services that see customer satisfaction soar.
As one of the branch banks across the sea, financial cooperation between Japan and China is one of the major tasks. So, foreign exchange in this case has become significant, especially the digital format of the service. The transactions it has generated a large amount of data that needs to be securely stored and processed, information such as trade volumes, exchange rates, market trends, and customer data. An effective data storage solution is essential for managing the data, as well as ensuring its accuracy, accessibility, and security.
Huawei OceanStor is a storage system designed to provide high-performance and reliable storage for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This system features dual-controller architecture that delivers high availability and allows for online upgrades and maintenance, with no interruption to live services. Accordingly, the Tokyo branch of the ABC deployed one set of OceanStor in its headquarters and another in a remote data center. Remote asynchronous data replication, set up between these two sites, is periodically performed, building up security.
The Network-Attached Storage (NAS) system the solution contains is a valuable tool for banking services: in case of disaster or data loss, important data and documents can be quickly recovered from backups. Such NAS also serves as a platform for collaborative work, allowing multiple employees to access files from different locations, with appropriate permissions in place, of course. This unlocks the possibilities of remote working and significantly increases flexibility.
It usually comes with a problem when upgrading the devices which is the storage protocol didn’t match with the lagency’s network. It means with the upgrade; the entire network also needs to be replaced. The OceanStor series uses Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe)-based Solid-State Drives (SSDs) and supports a wide range of storage protocols, including Fibre Channel (FC), Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI), and FC over Ethernet (FCoE). The bank didn’t need to replace anything else besides the storage which saves the potential cost and protects the current investment.
The capacity that is used to support foreign exchange is now also able to support other services like cooperate banking and trade finance, this is thanks to the bank’s advanced data services, including inline compression, deduplication, and automated tiering, to further optimize storage capacity and performance.
The ABC Tokyo branch's new storage system also offers easy-to-use management tools — including BCManager, Huawei's Disaster Recovery (DR), and backup software — with a built-in system management interface and a mobile app that enables remote management.
With environmental concerns firmly at the forefront of the global agenda, the ABC Tokyo branch has been actively involved in community development programs in Japan, supporting various environmental initiatives and promoting sustainable development practices. Here, OceanStor is a big help. Its advanced power management capabilities include the ability to power off unused components and reduce power consumption during low-load periods. This also brings with it cost savings and, with this solution in place, overall Total Cost of Operation (TCO) generally falls by at least 30%.
In 2023, the ABC Tokyo branch, just like its parent company, will continue to make innovations in businesses and products, enhance service quality, strengthen relationships with clients, and expand lending services to meet evolving needs. This will inevitably include the use of emerging technology such as Machine Learning (ML) to improve risk management and customer service processes, staying true to that unwavering focus on innovation, and always asking the key question of the day: what comes next?
"Our aim is to foster economic and financial cooperation between the two countries and drive their mutual development. "
Agricultural Bank of China - Tokyo Branch