China Minsheng Banking Corporation (CMBC) is a major commercial holding bank, operating 852 branches across the country and generating annual net profits of around 43 billion Chinese yuan.
As markets remain volatile, banks are urgently seeking savings. China Minsheng Banking Corporation migrated to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications — achieving lower costs without sacrificing performance or reliability. By switching to SUSE, the bank has slashed the TCO of its IT infrastructure by 80% and halved the cost of the hardware running its SAP HANA database. Easy system management means that 80% of problems can be solved in-house, with SUSE engineers fixing the rest.
Banks in China are bearing the brunt of a major slowdown in the nation’s economy. As profits fall, banks must find savings to safeguard their viability.
At the same time, customers are demanding new services such as online and mobile banking — increasing the need for application development.
Xi Wang, system engineer at CMBC, says: “To reconcile the need for cost-cutting with consumer demands for innovation, we needed to find a way to do more with less. We spotted room for improvement in our existing IT environment. Historically, we had relied heavily on minicomputers, which were expensive and forced us into long-term vendor commitments, because the operating systems are bundled with the hardware.
“Additionally, the systems lacked advanced resources for software development, delaying the delivery of new applications to customers. We began searching for a solution that could provide better support for application development at lower cost.”
“Switching to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications has enabled us to cut the TCO of our IT infrastructure by at least 80%.”
CMBC decided to migrate a significant proportion of its systems to the SLES for SAP Applications operating system running on x86 servers.
“We recognized two key advantages of switching to an open source solution,” says Xi. “Firstly, it would reduce our dependence on individual vendors, helping us to cut costs. Secondly, it would give us greater control over our IT systems as required by new rules introduced by industry regulators. We selected SLES for SAP Applications based on the platform’s reputation for superb reliability and excellent vendor support.”
CMBC has taken advantage of the SUSE operating system’s sophisticated development environment to build a range of applications for customers, supporting functionalities including online banking, mobile banking and payment collection.
“Using the SUSE platform, we developed and launched our highly successful online banking offering extremely rapidly,” says Xi. “In our experience, SLES for SAP Applications offers excellent performance and outstanding reliability for this and many other applications at much lower cost than other platforms.”
When CMBC deployed the cutting-edge SAP HANA database to accelerate its management accounting processes, it decided to support the new SAP HANA implementation using SLES for SAP Applications. The SUSE platform also runs the IBM DB2, Oracle and MySQL databases in the bank’s SAP environment.
“SLES for SAP Applications makes it straightforward to set up, configure and roll out new business systems,” says Xi. “Our SAP applications run exceptionally well on the SUSE platform.”
The brilliant availability offered by SLES for SAP Applications is a major asset for CMBC.
“For many banking systems, unexpected service interruptions can upset customers and cause severe reputational damage,” says Xi. “To ensure that our critical systems are always available, we rely on SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension.”
Moreover, switching to SUSE has enabled CMBC to unlock massive cost savings.
“With our previous proprietary platform, we had to purchase the hardware, operating system and applications, then buy additional licenses to activate the CPUs,” elaborates Xi. “With Linux, we can avoid this extra cost. As a result, switching to SLES for SAP Applications has enabled us to cut the TCO of our IT infrastructure by at least 80%.
“Furthermore, because we achieve excellent performance and availability on more economical hardware, we have been able to migrate our SAP HANA database to servers that cost half the price without impacting service quality.”
The bank’s IT team has also discovered that SLES for SAP Applications is much easier to manage than its previous platform, thanks to the automation of installations and many routine administration tasks. When problems arise, CMBC can solve 80% of issues in-house, with the rest resolved by SUSE.
“When we encounter problems, we can usually fix them without external help thanks to superb online troubleshooting resources,” says Xi. “However, it’s great to know that we can rely on SUSE engineers to provide expert assistance if needed.
“We are delighted with the SUSE platform because it enables us to meet customer demands for faster application delivery while cutting costs. In a turbulent economic climate, these capabilities will provide real competitive advantage to help us weather the storm.”