The cost of licensing, maintaining and managing multiple physical servers was relatively high, and SDB was also experiencing some issues with stability. As the bank continued to grow, it would need to keep adding new physical servers—so the issues were likely to get worse over time.
To reduce its capital and operational costs from IT, to enable greater scalability and to improve stability, SDB decided to virtualise and consolidate its infrastructure. Where possible, the bank also planned to migrate applications away from Microsoft Windows —again, to reduce costs and instability.
“We considered several different Linux options before choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for its cost and stability advantages,” said Hua Jiang, Systems Engineer, Shenzhen Development Bank Co., Ltd. “Another feature that made the choice easy was the high quality of local support available from SUSE. This helped us to install the new Linux environment rapidly: the project was completed in just 15 days.”
SDB is running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Intel processor-based servers from IBM and Dell, and using Xen to host multiple virtual Linux servers on each physical server. Elsewhere in the new infrastructure, SDB uses VMware VSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualisation technologies to support virtual Windows servers.
“Using virtualisation for both Linux and Windows has enabled us to have a much more compact and efficient infrastructure,” said Jiang. “And with Xen virtualisation as an integral part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we have a highly manageable platform that is also very cost-effective.”
Compared with its old Windows servers, SDB estimates that its new Linux servers provide a 20% to 30% improvement in uptime, reducing administrative costs and effort by as much as 35%. The enhanced availability of applications and services enables the bank’s staff to work more productively and avoids any delays in serving clients.
“Administration for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is easy, saving us considerable time and effort,” said Jiang. “The systems themselves offer much better availability than the ones they replaced, and using the YaST® tool integrated with SUSE Linux Enterprise makes it very easy to manage them. There’s no need even to use a command line; rather, we have an intuitive graphical interface that allows us to select the software we need and ensure that we have the correct patches applied.
As a result of server virtualisation, we have reduced energy consumption in our data centre by 20% to 30%, with a corresponding reduction in costs,” said Jiang. “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with Xen virtualisation is a key contributor to those savings.”
Introducing a new operating system can be a major step, requiring training for technical staff. For SDB, one attractive feature of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server was the extensive service and support network provided by SUSE and the broader user community. In addition to community support forums, the bank has access to high-quality telephone support from SUSE in China, with on-site support also available at short notice.
“The service from SUSE is excellent: we can always find the help we need,” said Jiang. “Our technical staff found the SUSE training to be highly effective, and quickly become competent administrators of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. For the broader business, the introduction of the SUSE technology has meant reduced costs together with improved service availability and stability.”