Banking on a Private Cloud

HDFC Bank maximizes Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to reduce costs and launch new business initiatives.

By Marta Bright

March/April 2013

Founded in 1994, India’s HDFC Bank has a nationwide network of 2,776 branches and 10,490 ATMs in 1,568 Indian towns and cities and has experienced 30 percent quarter-over-quarter growth for the last 52 quarters.

Headquarters: Mumbai, India
Industry: Retail and corporate banking
Employees: 56,000
Oracle Products: Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance

Remaining competitive in the financial services market while keeping pace with the bank’s rapid growth requires HDFC to continuously innovate and offer new financial products, particularly in its large retail banking division. It also puts pressure on the IT division to both maintain existing systems and develop new ones.

This pressure led HDFC to create a private database cloud service based on Oracle Database and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. “We wanted to consolidate and create an environment where we could support self-service IT, standardization, and rapid provisioning,” explains Nilanjay Bhattacharjee, assistant vice president of IT at HDFC. “We used Oracle Database and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to create the private database cloud and support our retail lending system.”

Cloud Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (for example, networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Released in 2011, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c focuses on the management of cloud resources. Designed to be simple, automated, and business-driven, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c delivers role-based monitoring and management, self-service resource management, policy-based resource management, application-to-disk cloud stack management, business transaction management, metering and chargeback, chargeback reporting, and more.

With application-to-disk support, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c enables administrators to review full schematics of cells, compute nodes, and switches and receive hardware component alerts. Users can also run and view analytics based on performance, availability, and usage by databases, services, and clusters, and can also receive software alerts for the same.

The Customers Are Kings and Queens

HDFC began evaluating its private cloud options in 2011. “We had invested in an Oracle infrastructure, and we wanted to make it even better,” Bhattacharjee says. “After getting feedback from both our internal customers and the in-house leadership team, we asked them, ‘What do you want?’ The reply was, ‘We want a flexible cloud-enabled database.’”

That led HDFC to deploy Oracle Database as a service, and as part of the enterprise unlimited licensing agreement, it also implemented Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack. “The cloud management pack gave our database infrastructure the flexibility to be easily provisioned, and with the help of Oracle, we deployed this into a private cloud,” Bhattacharjee says.

HDFC deployed its private cloud on Oracle Exadata and, in collaboration with an Oracle development team, configured the system so that users could easily provision a new database based on the most-current database information. Today, HDFC performs database backups on Oracle Exadata hardware, and whenever a user requests a new database, the database is provisioned as a copy of the last backup performed, with the process running in the background. “This delivers a fully automated way to provision a database,” says Bhattacharjee. “It also gives us the opportunity to use the same infrastructure for enabling the database restore.”

Through its Oracle private database cloud, HDFC can now restore its database in just three and a half hours, whereas before it took as long as three days. Implementation of the database-as-a-cloud service also saves the IT team a lot of manual activity. And by maintaining control of its private database cloud and reducing the management time associated with restores and provisioning, HDFC can concentrate on activities that allow for the rapid rollout of new features for a financial product.

Enter the Age of Self-Help

In addition to saving time and enabling business to focus on business, a private cloud creates a fundamental shift in how some IT costs are managed.

“Traditionally IT spends a lot of time serving requests from internal business services. This is costly in terms of time and human resources,” says Sudip Datta, vice president of product management at Oracle. “We have the complete automation built into Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c so that customers can consolidate their applications on the standard platform, manage the platform, and enable self-service provisioning and chargeback on that platform.”

For HDFC’s Bhattacharjee, these features translate to reduced costs. “Provisioning a new application in the Oracle private database cloud is now a self-service activity. This saves us a lot of money,” he says.

For Customers’ Eyes Only

With financial information on the line, HDFC also requires high measures of security to protect its customers. “When we created our private cloud platform, we needed to ensure that all customer data is secure,” Bhattacharjee explains. “The application team has limited access, ensuring that none of the sensitive data is exposed.” According to Bhattacharjee, HDFC has invested a lot of time in identifying the standard activities that the application teams need, which makes setup time for new applications nominal.

Bhattacharjee anticipates a great future with HDFC’s Oracle private database cloud. “We have all of the hardware and software necessary to help us meet our financial growth, and the Oracle products [Oracle Database and Oracle Enterprise Manager] are the best for supporting our needs,” he says.

Next Steps

LEARN more about
 Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c
 Oracle Database 11g
 Oracle Cloud platform

READ more about private database clouds
 Zero to Cloud
 Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c: Making Infrastructure as a Service in the Enterprise a Reality

 WATCH the video on HDFC Bank’s private cloud solution


Photography byRicardo Gomez Angel,Unsplash