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How NABARD reduced downtime by building a new datacenter

Shweta Rao | May 21, 2013
A case study on Datacenter Management in Financial Services.

National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD)--which monitors rural co-operative banks in the country--has played a phenomenal role in empowering rural India. Today, NABARD caters to almost 3 crore farmers across the country.

The Business Case:
The bank has a multi-layer rural co-operative credit structure with 31 main state co-operative banks controlled by 28 NABARD regional offices. But in 2000, NABARD began losing market share to commercial banks, thanks to a lack of a sophisticated IT infrastructure.

"The legacy facility was built for the purpose of housing a mini-computer in the 1990s. Six years later, only basic applications like accounting, MIS and intranet were running on new servers," says K.R. Bhat, GM-IT, NABARD.Soon, the legacy servers began to break down. NABARD hadn't figured out any backup server options yet. "One day, one of the backup servers was down. The server supported applications which didn't have another backup," says Bhat.

Worse, NABARD's data backup problems had begun to reach its end-customers too. Sometimes outages spilled over two days and this began to have an adverse effect on business. "We were slowly failing to retain even old customers as it became difficult to sustain the growing loan demands in the farming sector," says Bhat.

But thanks to the economic boom in the subsequent years, NABARD's business was growing. Its IT department though wasn't able to keep pace with growth.

The Solution:

Bhat decided to upgrade to a tier-II datacenter to resiliently serve the rising needs of the business. But that wasn't going to be easy.

NABARD works with stringent financial, and more importantly, time constraints. "Our first and most important condition during the RFP process was that the new datacenter had to be built and operationalized within 75 days of order confirmation. Not surprisingly, many bidders found the goal difficult to meet," says Bhat.

But through a rigorous process of technical and financial evaluation, Bhat zeroed in on his current service provider.Also read: HCL BPO Achieves Zero DowntimeThe datacenter solution was designed with a planned PUE of 1.59 maximum IT load, which is well below the average datacenter PUE range of 1.8-1.89, identified by the Uptime Institute in 2011. This means power savings alone will pay back the entire cost of the datacenter in 11-15 years as compared to average datacenters.

The Benefits:
The new datacenter has taken NABARD's uptime to 99.75 percent. It also enables NABARD's employees to reduce up to 60-70 percent of their current workloads.Now, NABARD's co-operative banks can expand their customer reach and improve their volume of business, while reducing cost of operations with quicker turnaround times. Today, NABARD's IT team is strong enough to sustain growth for the next 30 years.


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