A government-owned policy bank, the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) works to support the development of the agriculture industry in China, primarily by granting and managing loans for rural infrastructure development projects and agriculture-related enterprises.
ADBC was experiencing security issues with its mission-critical applications, and to make matters worse, its vendor took weeks to address each problem. ADBC aimed to find a new, secure operating system, from a provider it could trust to tackle issues as soon as they arose. This led the bank to SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Now, ADBC enjoys significantly improved security, and if problems do occur, SUSE is on hand to resolve them within hours.
For banks, security is always one of the highest priorities. When dealing with enormous volumes of sensitive information, the smallest vulnerability can invite catastrophe. So when ADBC began experiencing security issues, it knew it had to act fast to ensure the safety of its data.
Meng Tie, from ADBC’s IT Operation and Maintenance Department, takes up the story: “We use Oracle WebLogic Server to support the bank’s most business-critical applications, for example those involved in processing transactions. We were starting to encounter problems with WebLogic— which we traced to our underlying operating system—that were impacting the performance of our applications and, even more worryingly, their security.”
ADBC’s internal IT team is responsible only for day-to-day management of the WebLogic server; the bank relies on its software vendor for maintenance services and to resolve technical issues.
Meng Tie explains: “Our vendor simply could not react quickly enough. First there had to be a third-party evaluation to determine whether the vendor was even obligated to get involved, and after that it could take more than two weeks before anyone arrived to help us. That kind of timeframe was unacceptable.”
To make matters worse, there was an increasing risk of downtime to key applications. Given the sheer volume of trans actions taking place, even a minute of downtime could have led to substantial revenue loss.
“We could not afford to wait weeks to resolve these kinds of problems,” says Meng Tie. “We needed to find a new, reliable platform to support our WebLogic Server, from a vendor that we could trust address challenges as soon as they arose.”
“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is proving to be secure, highly efficient, and stable—we couldn’t ask for a better platform to support our mission-critical applications.”
The bank considered solutions from three different vendors, and after careful consideration it became clear that SLES was the best option.
“SUSE offered the perfect combination of technology and service, and at an attractive price,” says Meng Tie. “SLES is one of the most mature enterprise Linux distributions on the market, so we were confident that it would deliver a stable foundation for our applications, and SUSE’s maintenance services came highly recommended.”
ADBC implemented eight instances of SLES and is considering scaling up to twelve as it migrates more applications to the new platform.
“The implementation took just two months,” adds Meng Tie. “The SUSE team was particularly attentive to our needs and they made sure the process went smoothly.”
To solve its issues with application downtime, ADBC also opted for the High Availability Extension for SLES. With the High Availability Extension creating and managing clusters of OS instances, if one of ADBC’s servers fails, applications are automatically transferred to another instance without any interruption to ongoing processes.
“We expect to save as much as 20 percent compared to what we were spending on the old operating system,” explains Meng Tie. “Although the hardware costs are fairly similar, the maintenance costs are much lower. The SUSE maintenance service is charged based on the number of man-hours spent on-site, so we only pay for what we need. Even better, SUSE helps us solve many of our technical issues via email, completely free of charge.
“When we do need on-site assistance, the SUSE technicians arrive less than an hour after I contact them. Such a rapid response is truly phenomenal when you consider that our previous vendor would take weeks to send anyone. And we don’t need to waste time with third-party evaluations before we can involve SUSE—if we need help it’s just a phone call away.”
This ultra-responsive maintenance service will have far-reaching benefits for ADBC. Not only will it ensure any security loopholes are closed within hours of appearing, it will also boost the productivity of the bank’s own IT team.
“If there’s an issue, we don’t have waste time chasing the vendor or attempting to patch the problem ourselves; we can leave it to SUSE and focus on adding value to the business.”
Meng Tie concludes: “SLES is proving to be secure, highly efficient, and stable—we couldn’t ask for a better platform to support our mission- critical applications.”