The data center continues to evolve in parallel with the growing business demands and Digital Transformation (DX) aspirations of enterprises. The demands placed on the data center by DX require enhanced agility and manageability within organizational systems. In this era of dramatic change, storage infrastructure increasingly needs to meet new sets of requirements.
The COVID-19 crisis may have shifted the way data is leveraged and created, but it has not reduced the amount nor slowed the rate of data being created and replicated. So, dynamic, scalable, agile, and cost-effective storage systems have become mandatory for every type of enterprise organization.
IDC predicts the global datasphere will reach nearly 180 ZB in 2025, representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23% over the 2020–2025 period, with almost 25% of the data generated being used for real-time services (Worldwide Global DataSphere Forecast, 2021–2025, IDC # US46410421, March 2021), Chief Information Officers (CIOs) will need to adjust their data/storage platforms to support this paradigm shift. Early access to new technologies' memory components and more memory-driven system architectures will ensure efficient use of infrastructure resources for critical new workloads.
To gain further insights on the business benefits and value gained from the implementation of Huawei OceanStor Dorado Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) All-Flash storage systems, IDC recently had the opportunity to have an interview with İşbank. İşbank’s Huawei NVMe based all flash storage implementation provides insights and key considerations for relevant organizations that need to manage explosive data growth in a non-disruptive, high-performance environment. It offers efficient data analysis, scalability, agility, and manageability supported by intelligent O&M. İşbank shared the main reasons for choosing Huawei as its storage provider.
In this IDC Buyer Case Study, we review and analyze the outcome of the Huawei OceanStor Dorado NVMe-based All-Flash Array (AFA) storage solution deployment at İşbank's new data center in Ankara and identify the key points for organizations that seek a non-disruptive, high-performance solution that delivers simplified management and a flexible, compatible environment. At the end of the study, IDC provides some key takeaways for companies looking for a new generation of data management solutions to meet emerging business requirements.
Turkey's leading and largest private bank, İşbank's total assets reached TRY593.9 billion at the end of 2020. İşbank is also Turkey's leading private bank in terms of loans, deposits, and shareholders' equity, as well as asset size. As of the end of 2020, İşbank effectively fulfills its customers' needs with high value-added products, services, and solutions via its 23,518 employees, 1205 domestic, and 22 overseas branches, 6521 domestic Bankamatik ATM, and mobile channels, which increase their share of total transactions by the day.
İşbank established Turkey's first ATM, first internet branch, and first mobile banking application. Through its ongoing investments in technology, İşbank is also leading the way in a new generation of digital banking applications. İşbank had 9.2 million digital customers by the end of 2020, and the number of active mobile banking customers reached 9 million.
Having reached its 97th year in 2021, İşbank has undertaken a pioneering and guiding role in the Turkish banking industry since the day it was founded. With a firm focus on the future and innovation, İşbank works in line with its vision of developing innovative products, services, and applications that are aligned with global banking trends.
Turkey's finance sector has been experiencing a rapid transformation driven by technological developments, increasing customer expectations, new business models, expanding competition, and unexpected pandemic conditions.
As one of the leading players of the industry, the bank has been making significant investments in technological innovation and digitalization. As part of its digital strategy and expansion plans, the bank decided to move its Disaster Recovery (DR) data center to Ankara in 2020.
The bank needed a next generation storage solution to replicate the one located in the Istanbul Atlas data center. To maximize the benefits of its digital underlying infrastructure, the bank searched for an agile, flexible and reliable open storage system that could store large volumes of data seamlessly.
In this evolving era, storage infrastructure increasingly needs to meet new sets of requirements. Data storage needs to be automated, scalable, and agile enough to meet the needs of emerging workloads. Data management also needs to be simplified. Besides meeting security and compliance requirements, reducing costs and improving performance are still major priorities for storage infrastructure. Storage based on flash technology is increasingly in demand due to its ability to consolidate heterogeneous workloads while maintaining security standards and guaranteeing performance consistency.
İşbank's priorities in selecting a suitable vendor and solution were:
After examining several proofs-of-concept and applying a technical scoring process to solutions from a range of vendors, the bank decided to go with Huawei's OceanStor Dorado storage solution. The key factors in the bank’s decision to select Huawei's storage solution, other than its cost-effectiveness, were the quality of technical support and some unique technical features of the solution.
During the implementation process, Huawei’s technical team fully supported the bank’s Information Technology (IT) team. A dedicated technician from Huawei continued working very closely with the bank's IT team after the implementation process. In the case of a technical problem, the bank was able to get help and answers in a very agile and fast manner from Huawei’s local and global teams.
The deployment of Huawei’s NVMe-based all-flash OceanStor Dorado storage solution provided considerable benefits to the bank, as detailed below.
Increased Performance with Intelligent Hardware Platform and Algorithm
The bank has positioned a high amount of capacity by deploying Huawei storage solutions in its Istanbul (Atlas) and Ankara (Pasifik) data centers. The bank has to provide reports to internal customers and regulators such as the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency on a daily or weekly basis with certain deadlines. Prior to implementation, extracting the required data took up to 20 hours, but the bank is now able to get the required data reports about three times faster than before.
Huawei's all-flash storage uses five kinds of built-in, proprietary, innovative Huawei hardware for E2E application acceleration. By leveraging this proprietary Huawei hardware, E2E NVMe architecture, the vendor's FlashLink algorithm, which optimizes communication between controllers and Solid-State Drives (SSDs), and powerful scalability of up to 32 controllers, the system is able to deliver best-in-class performance.
The scale-out technology adopted by OceanStor Dorado expands the number of controller enclosures to ensure linear growth of capacity and guarantee performance at stable low latency, meaning it is ready to meet the needs of the bank’s growth at any time.
Lowering Latency Through NVMe Architecture
All-flash storage has been widely adopted to upgrade existing enterprise IT systems, but always-on service models continue to push the IT system performance boundaries to new levels. NVMe storage is a future-proof architecture that enables direct communication between the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and SSDs, shortening the transmission path. The bank enabled latency as low as 0.1 ms on average and much faster transmission thanks to NVMe protocols at the front-end, inside, and at the back-end for E2E data acceleration.
Improving Reliability and Availability While Ensuring Business Continuity
In the finance (banking) sector, uninterrupted service is regarded as fundamental. The bank therefore wanted a reliable solution that ensures data reliability and business continuity.
Huawei OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage systems employ a new generation hardware platform and an ultra-stable SmartMatrix full-mesh architecture to enhance data reliability and service continuity, ensuring always-on storage services. SmartMatrix architecture with a fully interconnected design at both the front- and back-ends tolerates seven out of eight controller failures without any disruption. In the event a controller becomes faulty, services are switched to functioning ones within one second, in an uninterrupted link.
Additionally, the Huawei storage system accurately monitors device health status to quickly identify faults. If a fault is detected, the system isolates and attempts to rectify the fault through redundancy takeover. If the fault is rectified, the involved component continues providing services. If the fault fails to be rectified, an alarm is reported, to prompt users to replace the faulty component.
The bank was aiming to distribute/switch some of the data workload and business critical applications, not only in case of disaster scenarios, but also in busy workflows, between its two datacenters (Istanbul and Ankara) in an active-active architecture. First, İşbank migrated some of its workloads from heterogeneous systems to Huawei Oceanstor Dorado in Istanbul and then, with the help of HyperReplication, the bank has been able to replicate the data to Ankara. DR tests were also successful.
The bank can now scale business-critical customer workload capacity and performance as well as manage existing storage arrays with the confidence that its environment will remain non-disruptive.
Reducing the Cost of Purchase While Achieving Increased Operational Performance
The bank was looking for an easy-to-manage and a cost-effective storage solution to scale. The vendor was able to offer the best price for a future-proof solution meeting the bank’s storage requirements.
Huawei OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage systems provide easy device management interfaces and integrated northbound management interfaces. Although the number of applications and the workloads keep increasing, the bank’s IT team could easily manage the busy workload. The DeviceManager feature of the system uses a newly designed, simple, and interactive user interface that enables users to complete configuration tasks in only a few operations. DeviceManager also provides multiple simple and flexible mechanisms. No matter whether the application is simple or complex, a proper mapping scheme is available for users.
"As İşbank, we cannot sacrifice performance in favor of parameters like capacity efficiency, ease of use, and non-disruptive operations. Huawei could provide all these capabilities with strong technical support, in an agile manner."
IT Infrastructure Deputy Manager, Türkiye İş Bankası