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Ahli United Bank (UK) PLC is part of Ahli United Bank Group (AUB), a Middle East financial services provider. The IT team launched a datacentre transformation project to improve IT availability and wanted a system to complement its VMware-based virtualisation strategy.
“To support our objectives of moving to the new style of IT, we needed to rapidly deploy a datacentre environment from a supplier with proven capabilities around VMware,” said Paul Smith, head of IT, Ahli United Bank (UK).
The IT team picked HP’s ConvergedSystem 300 offering to renew its datacentre infrastructure.
The ConvergedSystem 300 is a pre-engineered system designed for virtualisation and supports VMware vSphere platform. The 300 is for small to mid-sized companies, such as the UK arm of Ahli Bank, looking to deploy between 50 and 300 virtual machines, and the baseline pricing for ConvergedSystem 300 starts at $136,000 (£84, 450).
“Not only are the individual components of HP ConvergedSystem 300 well-known technologies, but the ability to buy them as a single pre-engineered system with integrated firmware and using support services from HP has helped the banking organisation,” Smith said.
Reduced deployment time
The bank’s IT team, with the help of a service provider, will deploy the new integrated systems in around 20 days. According to HP, more traditional processes and systems that have to be configured, engineered, tested and validated can take three to six months to be fully deployed.
Using pre-validated and pre-engineered converged systems will help the bank’s IT simplify its approach to virtualisation, minimise IT risk and make it easier for the team to manage the entire virtualised environment.
The updated datacentre infrastructure will also help the business reduce application downtime, increase capacity utilisation and improve IT’s responsiveness.
By virtualising on a converged system, I expect to save 33% of our server cabinet space in both our on and off-site data centres. In future, it can be expanded by simply slotting in extra hardware.”
Among other features of the HP systems are a single-pane-of-glass administration system. According to Smith, this will hugely reduce the complexity, risk and effort of systems management for the IT team. HP OneView management software, integrated in the system, will provide unified support for the entire system, with a single point of accountability for IT issues. The “Proactive Support” tool will provide a single integrated firmware platform for the full hardware environment.
“Proactive monitoring of the platform on a 24x7 basis with a four-hour on-site response will ensure five-9s [99.999%] availability,” Smith said.
Service provider Redinet will implement the converged infrastructure systems for the Ahli United Bank.
Launched in 2013 to capture a bigger share of the server virtualisation market, the converged systems portfolio was “engineered from the ground up to help companies deliver their required business applications faster,” and to “eliminate the increasing complexity of today's datacentre”, said Frances Guida, HP's manager of cloud systems and infrastructure at that time.
“International financial institutions like Ahli United Bank need to reduce risk for potentially complex IT projects,” said Mark Payne, vice-president of converged systems EMEA at HP.“Compared with self-integrated designs, HP’s fully pre-engineered converged systems offer a simple approach.”