Give Wings to Financial Innovation

2016/04/19 • Data Center, Feature, Finance, New ICT • Views: 517

Huawei’s Open Platform Helps China Citic Bank (International) Develop a Unified Data Warehouse

Huawei FusionCube not only provides on-demand data warehouse appliance technology, but also serves as an open platform that supports horizontal scale-out. This state-of-the-art product brings China Citic Bank (International) more flexibility when making decisions relevant to data technologies.

Is there any Sparkle left in the Pearl of the Orient?

Looking out from Victoria Peak over the flickering nightscape of Hong Kong, it is clear to see why this glistening city became fondly known as the “Pearl of the Orient”. For citizens of Hong Kong, there is one item which nobody could live without, that is the Octopus card. Residents use the card to make payments for everything from traveling to shopping. No matter what time of day, no matter what payment needs to be made, citizens of Hong Kong always rely on their Octopus Card. The system processes 13 million transactions per day, amounting to 140 million HKD in daily transactions. In this city of 7 million people, the Octopus System’s market coverage dwarfs that of all other e-Payment systems.

The most striking difference between Octopus and other payment systems like Alipay and Google Wallet is that Octopus still uses physical cards. Because of this, Octopus has been criticized for being backward and lacking innovation. Some worry that Octopus is fading away, just like Hong Kong itself, in the great tide of globalization.

This, however, should not be taken at face value. Innovation is not about demolishing everything that exists. It is a spiral process that improves infrastructure gradually. This is reflected in the pragmatic spirit of Hong Kong’s citizens, who once brought this city success, glory, and prosperity.

Technological Innovation, Hong Kong FSI’s New Norm

As one of the world’s three financial centers, Hong Kong is covered by more than 70 of the world’s top 100 banks. Because the financial market competition in Hong Kong is fierce, the city attracts those with the latest management ideas, service innovations, and business experience. In the past, Hong Kong’s banking industry made considerable investments in IT projects. Take retail banking as an example, in which banks are now actively exploring and implementing new technologies, such as online banking, mobile banking, mobile payment, and Big Data analysis. These cutting-edge technologies help banks improve sales and businesses while creating a better customer experience.

In 2014, a number of financial institutions, such as HSBC, BOC Hong Kong, and CCB Asia, jointly launched a business incubation project named “FinTech Innovation Lab (Asia)” to promote technological innovation. The Hong Kong Computer Association also established a financial technology research team to assist the development of financial solutions and technologies. Financial technological innovations raised the enthusiasm from all industry players covering everything from the government to supervision organizations, commercial banks, and competitors from other industries.

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“Rose Garden” Project and Developing the “First-Choice” Bank

China Citic Bank (International) is a commercial bank based in Hong Kong. The bank provides comprehensive financial services for customers, from wealth management and personal banking to enterprise banking, and has made great achievements in IT development. It has received multiple awards from industry alliances, such as “The Best e-Banking Services Provider,” “The Best SNS Banking Services Provider,” and “The Best Mobile Wealth Management Services Provider.” Additionally, China Citic Bank released Hong Kong’s first fingerprint-based bill query and WeChat payment systems. In 2015, China Citic Bank initiated the three-year “Rose Garden” project to reform ICT infrastructures using new technologies, such as cloud computing and big data. These infrastructures include the core banking system, Internet platform, and expert system based on the central data warehouse.

Data Integration, Developing a Unified Data Warehouse

Many banks developed their service systems in silo mode. These systems possess independent hardware, software, and databases. Isolated environments complicate data sharing and diminish data warehouse value. At present, business departments and applications have their own data warehouses developed using the traditional RISC + SAN architecture. These setups involve high maintenance costs and are difficult to manage. A unified data warehouse is needed to integrate scattered data platforms, improves data sharing efficiency, simplify system management, and extract more value from the data.

Data warehouses are crucial for infrastructure selection. These warehouses analyze massive data concerning credit loan, CRM, card, and e-Banking services, placing high demands on the system’s computing and storage capabilities. Because banking businesses will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, the system must be sufficiently scalable. Additionally, the system requires effective measures to protect data security and ensure service continuity.

The x86-based, all-in-one architecture improves performance considerably

Huawei’s all-in-one FusionCube device pre-integrates the IT resources (networking, computing, and storage), virtual operating system, and distributed storage software. The “x86 server + distributed storage” architecture replaces the traditional “RISC server + SAN storage” architecture. The FusionStorage, distributed storage, PCIe SSD hard disk, and high-speed switching backplane design address data warehouse application’s high throughput, reducing report analysis duration from days to hours.

In traditional architectures, data is placed in the storage node and data warehouse in the computing node. For example, if a bank has 10 TB data to process, the data warehouse invokes data from the storage node, conveying approximately 20 TB to 30 TB of intermediate data to the computing node. All intermediate data will then be written back to the storage node. The existing IT architecture cannot effectively support data interaction with such ultra-high I/O throughput. Even the fastest FC switch will suffer data switching bottlenecks. FusionCube pre-installs the switch backplane, which features a maximum speed of 56 Gbit/s, exceeding FC switch transmission speed by 4 to 7 times.

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Fast deployment and unified management simplify system O&M.

Unlike traditional “RISC server + SAN storage,” FusionCube pre-installs necessary hardware and software and completes software commissioning in advance, sparing customers complex cabling, installation, and commissioning. Moreover, because fault location is simplified, system maintenance is also simplified. Unified O&M reduces the OPEX by 30%.

“Dual-Node + DR” ensures data security.

The active-standby VCS system enables local database redundancy. When the active node is faulty, the system switches services to the standby node in real time. When the local data center suffers a critical incident, such as a fire, and is disconnected from the network, the system switches services to the remote DR site, ensuring service continuity.

Data warehouses have massive data that demand weekly complete backup and daily incremental backup. Backup data is stored in the SAN system, virtual tape library (VTL), and physical tape library. Data with different backup levels have different storage duration, improving data cost-effectiveness.

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