Australia's CBA bank consolidates 300 databases on PaaS
By Asia Cloud Forum staff 02-Jun-2011
Commonwealth Bank in Martin Place, Sydney
Following the success of running the entire bank's core production accounting system on PeopleSoft ERP, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia
(CBA) in 2007 adopted Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to consolidate and share its 300 databases in a private cloud environment for its businesses in Australia.
Founded in 1911 by the Australian government, the Sydney-based Commonwealth Bank of Australia was fully privatized in 1996, and is one of the 'big four' Australian banks today -- along with National Australia Bank
and Westpac Bank
. As a provider of various financial services, the multinational bank is now operating its businesses across New Zealand, Fiji, Asia, USA and the UK.
Centralized database management
Working with about 300 small to medium database applications, CBA needed to find a way to centrally manage its database systems on a consistent and standardized platform. This required a consolidation of its many individual databases onto a single platform, to be managed by a dedicated team of operational database administrators.
Through the whole database consolidation exercise, CBA expected to significantly reduce its number of servers and the associated operational charges.
|"When you have 50 databases to manage, it's very hard to have the time to do a good job of managing every one of them individually." |
-- Roland Slee, VP product management, Oracle APAC and Japan
In 2007, CBA adopted a database sharing service called Oracle as a Service (OaaS) platform, and consolidated its database applications onto three grids.
CBA subsequently implemented a private cloud computing infrastructure to run multiple workloads on the same shared infrastructure, with the purchase and implementation of servers inside their own data center, on a shared basis.
In 2010, CBA expanded its efforts in centralized resource management, and implemented a range of PaaS offerings: self-service platform provisioning, on-demand platform provisioning, mass standardization, better utilization of computing resources, utility chargeback models.
"Indeed CBA did not just buy any server and storage but bought Oracle Exadata, which is Oracle's recommended Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering for database, pre-integrated and deeply optimized by Oracle. And they've taken an existing application, which was never written for the cloud, an application that knew nothing about the cloud," said Roland Slee, vice president of product management, Oracle Asia Pacific and Japan.
According to Slee, Oracle's Exadata provides "a fully encrypted database with an extremely low-level of overhead, because we're leveraging encryption technology that is embedded into the processors, the CPUs in the underlying servers."
As for data security concerns, Slee said the cloud is actually a more secure way to manage one's data than the traditional way. "When you have 50 databases to manage, it's very hard to have the time to do a good job of managing every one of them individually. But when you consolidate databases -- and you typically have a very professional team focussed on this shared environment -- then security is typically much better managed," he said.
App migration over weekend
It is reported that CBA experienced no business hours downtime during the migration from a non-cloud Peoplesoft DB2 to cloud-based Exadata over a weekend. "It is now running on a cluster, with multiple computers and multiple storage devices that support that application, but the application does not know, it's invisible to the application," Slee said.
|"Different virtualization techniques have different densities -- resulting in different economics." |
-- Nicholas Tan, head of infrastructure & platform solutions, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
"And CBA has been able to migrate this application from a siloed and dedicated infrastructure, on to their PaaS, which is Oracle Database on Exadata," Slee said. "And they could make the change in a weekend without having to change the application."
"Instead of having to figure out for themselves how they should architect these systems, what kind of servers to buy, and what kind of storage, and what kind of network, we've done all that work for them and we can deliver to them a private cloud computing infrastructure for database, called Exadata, and a private cloud computing infrastructure for middleware called Exalogic," Slee added. "And customers can move their existing applications into this [private cloud] environment and get all the benefits of the cloud and do so in a short time and at low risk."
Easier management and lowered costs
CBA gained various savings from the database consolidation exercise on the OaaS platform. The savings included: reduced hardware costs for expensive servers, lowered operations system software and maintenance charges with 300 databases consolidated on a single OS; and lowered cost for managing the operations on a standard operating environment.
In the long run, CBA expects to achieve a higher utilization rate of assets, with fewer CPUs required and with reduced license fees. It will need to manage fewer Oracle environments with fewer operational tasks. In addition, CBA will require fewer full time staff to manage a consolidated database environment.
Advice on PaaS implementation
Nicholas Tan, head of infrastructure & platform solutions, Commonweath Bank of Australia, offered the following tips on enterprise PaaS implementation:
- Take the time to get the right technical/commercial solution for your business. Different virtualization techniques have different densities -- resulting in different economics.
- Must have buy-in from application owners. Carefully plan when and how to migrate applications. Internal sales function is needed to rustle up demand.
- Go for quick wins -- migrate or host the easiest applications first.
- Invest in governance and operational process improvement -- this is much, much more than a technology solution.
- Have a clear, consistent, accurate sales pitch. Beware the FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) factor, which can derail many an initiative.
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