Financial institutions have a harder time moving data to the cloud than many other businesses, but there are solutions. Pavlo Yarmak, the head of server and network solutions department Seeton, talks about how it was possible to implement “cloud transformation” in one of the largest Ukrainian banks.
Traditionally, Ukrainian banks have always paid a lot of attention to ensuring disaster resistance, but mostly it was about classic solutions with minimally sufficient redundancy: one backup data center on the territory of Ukraine and/or storage of cold copies of data on magnetic tapes. Although the issue of “cloud transformation” was considered, recognizing it as the future, but due to the regulation of the market, these processes did not go beyond research. Some banks successfully experimented within the permitted limits, but SaaS and PaaS type services were used more often. In addition, banking IT infrastructure is complex and often does not adapt too easily to native cloud services.
With the beginning of a full-scale war, Ukrainian companies were forced to quickly implement solutions that ensure disaster resistance, cyber protection and, in general, employee access to the necessary information systems. At the same time, many companies, including banks, were unable to transfer all their IT services to foreign cloud resources. The reasons could be different: from technical dependence on terrestrial communication channels to regulatory norms prohibiting the transfer of personal data of Ukrainian citizens abroad.
The use of IaaS and the creation of a land-cloud hybrid model became the only feasible option for an operational solution to the task of reserving a critical part of the IT infrastructure. This was also facilitated by the fact that cloud service providers offered a free trial period of using cloud resources and helped with basic settings.
The reservation formula has changed from “N+1” to “N+2”, where the first backup data center is located in Ukraine, and the second is a data center in the cloud. At the same time, a number of process and technological solutions that successfully worked under the “N+1” concept became incompatible with the new requirements.
Solution: Replication Platform from Dell
In the process of communication with the customer – a large Ukrainian bank – several radically different solutions for ensuring disaster resistance were discussed: from the creation of a hybrid infrastructure based on the “earth-cloud” principle to synchronous and asynchronous data replication between terrestrial and cloud data centers. Testing of one such solution based on VMware technologies showed that restructuring the infrastructure, agreeing on all issues related to cyber security of services and seamless migration of services in 24 hours are currently impossible. Then the management of the bank made a bet on the geographical distribution of data between data centers in Ukraine with the possibility of data recovery in the cloud.
Taking into account the customer’s key requirements, namely the ability to restore data at any time and dynamically switch the role of the main data center from three separately for each bank service, Seeton company specialists offered a solution for data replication with a built-in data center role management mechanism based on Dell RecoverPoint software ( Fig.).
Figure: Diagram of the Dell RecoverPoint solution
Dell Technologies is a world leader in the production of computer equipment and services, which focuses its focus on customers, the use of advanced technologies, maintaining environmental sustainability and expanding its presence in the global market.
“It’s no secret that Dell has been a leader in backup and data protection solutions for more than a decade. Its portfolio includes both software and hardware solutions that have no alternative in the world. Therefore, thanks to years of experience working with the Seeton team, we were able to quickly implement one of our most affordable and reliable data replication solutions with a built-in data center role management mechanism.
Yuriy Donchenko, head of the development of backup and data protection systems Dell Technologies”
After considering the design and capabilities of the technical solution, the bank created a working group to discuss pilot testing. Within a week, thanks to the help of Seeton and Dell specialists, everything was ready for testing on the basis of one of the bank’s services. And three weeks later, after the relevant test protocols were drawn up, all bank services were covered and synchronized between the three data centers.
The customer separately notes that this made it possible to transfer someone else’s bank service to a backup or cloud data center and back without unnecessary problems, investing in the 15-minute time period allocated for this.
Seeton is ready to help build a disaster-resistant infrastructure based on leading cloud backup solutions.