Seeking to reduce facilities and IT infrastructure management costs, HSBC India wanted to move more than 300 servers from an in-house data center to a well-managed hosting space. The company used PlateSpin Migrate from Novell to migrate whole workloads (including operating systems and installed applications) to new hardware across a wide area network—minimizing risk and business disruption.
HSBC India is based in Mumbai, the country's financial capital, with branches in all major cities. The company operates successful retail and commercial banking, insurance and investment businesses, and provides services to other members of the global HSBC group.
For historical reasons, many of HSBC India's core banking applications were running in a data center near corporate headquarters in Mumbai, at the heart of the city's financial district. Office space in this prime location comes at a premium, and the company realized that maintaining this data center was a significant cost to the business.
"Moving to a robust, world-class facility was also an opportunity to consolidate physical servers through virtualization—reducing hardware costs and increasing flexibility," said Mr. Rishi Gupta, Vice-President of Data Center and Server Services at HSBC India.
The company selected a hosting provider operating from a data center in another city—387 miles from Mumbai. The challenge was to find a practical way to perform a migration across this distance without risking the loss of vital data or significantly disrupting business operations.
HSBC India initially considered physically moving the existing servers across the country. Next, the team looked at the possibility of rebuilding the environments from scratch on new hardware.
"After detailed analysis, neither option seemed viable," said Mr. Gupta. "Transporting the servers would have taken too long, and the risk of damaging something in transit was too high. On the other hand, rebuilding our heavily customized applications would have been too complex and expensive. We needed a third option."
HSBC India started looking for an IT solution to manage the migration, and found PlateSpin Migrate from Novell. Following a proof of concept delivered by Pentagon Systems and Services, a Novell Partner, the company decided to purchase the solution. Pentagon demonstrated several migrations and trained the in-house team, enabling them to complete the project without external assistance.
PlateSpin Migrate 'decouples' workloads from underlying server hardware and streams them to new physical servers or virtual hosts across a local or wide area network connection. This enables the low-impact migration of servers with no need to worry about the complexities of physical transportation or the nature of the target system.
"PlateSpin Migrate enabled us to take snapshots of our systems and move them across a 155 Mbps line to new hardware in the new facility," said Mr. Gupta. "We moved each server during weekends on a four-week cycle: preparing the target platform and then using PlateSpin Migrate to migrate the data. The whole migration was completed within six months, with no significant disruption to users."
HSBC India also took advantage of the versatility of PlateSpin Migrate by moving 40 systems away from physical server hardware and into a virtualized environment.
"Using PlateSpin Migrate to virtualize physical server workloads has enabled considerable hardware consolidation," said Mr. Gupta. "As a result we are saving money, increasing flexibility and reducing server management workload."
"Without PlateSpin Migrate, it is hard to imagine how we could have performed this migration at all," said Mr. Gupta. "The distance between the data centers would have been a massive obstacle for traditional migration methods, and we simply could not have moved the systems quickly and safely enough to meet the requirements of the business. The benefits that we will obtain from moving to a robust, world-class facility are significant—and PlateSpin deserves considerable credit for making it possible."
The new data center will allow HSBC India to re-purpose its existing facility—making better use of prime office space.
"PlateSpin helped us take the first steps towards infrastructure virtualization, and has shown us that the benefits can be significant," said Mr. Gupta. "Additional virtualization and server consolidation should deliver greater flexibility and cost efficiencies in the future."
Above all, PlateSpin Migrate enabled HSBC India to keep its core applications running throughout the migration, and enabled the company to switch to the new data center with no loss of business data and no disruption to IT services during standard working hours.
"In the banking industry, the IT function must be able to support the business with total integrity and without interruption," said Mr. Gupta. "The ability of PlateSpin Migrate to help us meet these objectives throughout the course of a large-scale, long-distance migration project is extremely impressive."
Products and Services:
- Achieved inter-city migration of more than 100 servers across a distance of 387 miles
- Virtualized 40 servers, enabling hardware consolidation, increased flexibility and reduced costs
- Maintained complete system availability during working hours, minimizing user disruption