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Huawei Steps In to Keep Russian Economy Stable

01.02.2016 00:00:00

Background

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Moscow, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) (also known as the Bank of Russia) is an independent entity operating within the laws of the Russian Federation. CBR’s primary responsibilities include regulating banking industry operations, protecting the stability of the national currency, and steering financial industry developments in Russia. 

When Visa and MasterCard stopped payment services in Russia in March 2014, President Putin declared that Russia should limit its exposure to political risks in the financial system and build its own national payment system. Despite long periods of economic transformation, however, local payment systems in Russia remained decentralized and dispersed. President Putin signed a law establishing the National System of Payment Cards (NSPC), to be fully owned by the CBR. The CBR would operate the NSPC independently of the Visa and MasterCard systems, process all bank card-assisted payment businesses in Russia, and serve as the processing center for all international card payment systems.

Challenges

With a 95% market share, Visa and MasterCard dominated the bank card-assisted payment business in Russia, handling 80% of all transaction services. Facing an adverse economic situation and an urgent need for financial stability, the CBR targeted a rollout date of April 1, 2015.

The NSPC infrastructure — specifically the NSPC data centers — would process all bank card-assisted payment businesses and online transactions in the Russian Federation. As the first data center network for the Russian Federation’s payment system, the project would require an exceptionally reliable, proven solution for complex business systems and a mission-critical delivery. 

To ensure a successful launch, the CBR organized a new department and team to build the NSPC and oversee operations. With more than 20 payment systems in Russia, only two payment systems, Golden Crown of Financial Technologies Group and PRO 100 of Sberbank, were deemed suitable for development in terms of efficiency and technology. 

Confronting overwhelming challenges and tight timing, the NSPC team decided to collaborate with an industry-leading vendor with a proven track record. The department consulted with Huawei, a leading global ICT provider, as its only solution provider.

Solution

Huawei formed two expert technical teams: a team knowledgeable in end-to-end networks and a team experienced in finance industry solutions. The teams performed technical verifications, requirement surveys, and solution optimization jointly with integrators. They also conducted numerous simulations.

Huawei installed innovative servers and storage devices in an open architecture platform to pump up the CBR’s data center processing capabilities. Huawei installed clusters with more than 100 servers and 2.8 PB of storage space to handle an average daily volume of about 10 million NSPC transactions. High-performance Huawei CloudEngine 12800 series switches support server operations. For businesses on external sites and financial terminals, Huawei deployed two production data center sites that act as reciprocal DR centers to ensure financial data availability and payment service continuity.

The active-active data center solution introduces Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) and Ethernet Virtual Network (EVN) technologies to limit a remote replication response to 10 ms at 3,000 input/output operations per second. The TRILL-based large Layer 2 network is deployed as the production data center network of the NSPC. This network supports up to 512 nodes and 32 load balancing paths. The elastic network architecture accommodates business growth for the next five to ten years, simplifying data center upgrades and capacity expansion.

NSPC Network Architecture

On April 1, 2015, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) announced the NSPC rollout, and the new system began serving cardholders across the Russian Federation.

Benefits

The NSPC is responsible for both banking and consumer transactions, making any fault a risk that could lead to huge financial loss. Huawei’s data center solution provides high reliability and stability for the financial data centers with multiple safeguards:

  • Huawei CloudEngine series data center switches have industrial-grade reliability (99.999%), ensuring stable core network operations and uninterrupted services.
  • A Cluster Switch System (CSS) is configured on the core network to prevent Single Points Of Failure (SPOFs).
  • The core network is deployed as a Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) large Layer 2 network, fully leveraging network resources and ensuring network reliability through multiple links.
  • Huawei’s DCI Ethernet Virtual Network (EVN) solution streamlines the resources of data center sites for collaborative use.
  • Reciprocal DR data centers ensure high reliability, stability, and service continuity.

The NSPC handles financial transactions for the entire banking industry, payment terminals, and ATMs in Russia. As more banks and stores move to the NSPC for services, the data center network must accommodate a larger volume of traffic, transactions, and services. Huawei’s data center solution equips NSPC data centers with hierarchical expansion, supporting continuous service upgrades for up to 10 years. 

With TRILL technology, data centers can leverage 100% of network resources to implement smooth expansion in combination with features such as automatic network node discovery and maintenance.

Resources on DC sites are scheduled through the EVN, which simplifies configuration and maintenance as well as ensuring fast service rollout. With EVN, adding data center sites in response to growing NSPC services becomes even easier. 

Huawei CloudEngine 12800 series switches support access to servers traversing four generations of servers: GE, 10 GE, 40 GE, and 100 GE. A slot supports 10 Tbit/s of bi-directional bandwidth, which easily scales up to 20 Tbit/s. The switch provides a maximum of 160 Tbit/s switching capacity (expandable to 320 Tbit/s) and supports smooth upgrades without device replacement. The CE12800 series switches allow continuous development of cloud data centers and ensure uninterrupted service provisioning.

In addition, the comprehensive virtualization capabilities of the CloudEngine 12800 series switches make the network simple and efficient at reduced cost. N:1 and 1:N virtualization technologies integrate network resources into a large virtual resource pool that supports on-demand cloud computing resource scheduling. Huawei’s next-generation 1:N virtualization architecture helps customers flexibly deploy data center switches as Virtual Machines (VMs), simplifying multi-user management and improving service reliability and security with fully utilized network resources. In coordination with other virtualization technologies such as N:1 virtualization and CSS, the virtualization architecture provides customers with a scalable virtual cloud network, allowing flexible service expansion.

“The NSPC is responsible for the financial stability and viability of the national economy, and therefore requires high reliability. We want to thank Huawei for successfully delivering data centers in such a short period of time and supporting the rollout of the NSPC. Huawei’s professional and experienced performance contributed greatly to this project.”

— Sergey Bochkarev, NSPC Deputy CEO
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