About the customer
Founded in 1993, Probiznesbank today has 7.5 thousand corporate customers and about 460,000 private customers. A member of the mandatory deposit insurance scheme, it ranks among 50 largest banks in Russia in terms of its assets.
The institution offers a full range of modern financial services required by its clients including members of the Moscow Commodity Exchange.
Probiznesbank is the core institution of the Life financial group that currently consists of seven banks across Russia. Its offices are situated in a number of time zones, which means the automated banking system (ABS) has to operate virtually round the clock rather than just 8 hours a day. As the development of the group was putting an increasing pressure on its IT systems, the bank started running short on maintenance resources. Accordingly, it was decided that maintenance and support of the ABS should be outsourced.
“Business continuity is vital to a bank, since any downtime could spell financial losses as well as reduce the client base. Outsourcing has been a part of our strategy for quite some time now, - says Aleksey Leonichev, deputy manager, IT department, Probiznesbank. – Such reallocation of work substantially reduces personnel costs and gives us more resources to concentrate on strategic issues”.
Probiznesbank has a sophisticated ABS whose maintenance requires consummate experts. Since the system was designed and deployed by a third party specializing in banking programs, it was logical to entrust the maintenance of software to its developer. Maintenance and support of hardware up to the database management level, however, was outsourced to Jet Infosystems.
Considering that ABS hardware performance is so critical to a bank, the customer had a number of stringent requirements to the potential contractor. These included ample experience and competence in IT maintenance and support. The contractor was also expected to have special facilities capable of remote server management and hardware monitoring.
When system maintenance and support are outsourced to two or more independent contractors, it is essential to develop a detailed set of rules honoring the interests of every party. As the service level agreements were being prepared, all the three organizations clearly identified their areas of responsibility. Detailed rules for all the processes and procedures required by the client from Jet Infosystems were drafted, including those involving input from the software developer. The rules also specified response times and the allowed downtimes that in the case of system-critical components could not exceed one hour.
ABS maintenance under the SLA includes periodic performance assessment regarding system components, applications and background tasks. Loads on hardware and the adequacy or resources for routine operations are monitored as well. Oracle DBMS is periodically checked for any software problems and database availability. System administration to ensure trouble-free performance of the entire system includes control of services, application launching, analysis of system logs, planning and implementation of configuration changes.
Some of these tasks are of course impossible to perform without shutting down the system. Scheduled maintenance windows are allowed by the SLA for these purposes at least once a quarter (plus one window a year) between 10 pm and 7 am Moscow time. The total service disruption time for non-redundant subsystems in case of unscheduled maintenance cannot exceed a total of 16 hours a month.
Certain imperfections were found and fixed during the project in the data backup system. “Probiznesbank used to operate a DBS that was incapable of live backups, - notes Andrey Geshel, director of Jet Infosystems’ service center. – The DBMS had to be shut down for several hours a day for backups, which made the ABS unavailable. In case of an emergency involving data loss the bank could not use the backup system to restore data from the period between the most recent backup and the emergency situation. Such periods sometimes could reach up to 24 hours”.
After reviewing the current DBS infrastructure, Jet Infosystems experts suggested a solution that called for minimal modifications in the system and required no changes in the hardware configuration. Certain DBMS settings were adjusted to make backup copies in the “hot” mode without shutting down the system. In this case data can be restored from the backup copy dating back virtually to the moment of an emergency. In addition, scheduled backup scripts were launched. The entire backup process was therefore optimized to drastically reduce DBS maintenance time.
Probiznesbank’s outsourced ABS now operates with minimum downtime that has no significant impact on business continuity. While system operations are restored promptly after failures, the system’s stability and performance are supported with preventive actions.
“ We are providing a range of services to Probiznesbank today, including continuous monitoring of the system as a whole, analysis of Oracle DBMS processes, DBS control and system administration,.- says Andrey Geshel. – During the entire outsourcing period all critical situations have been successfully resolved on time according to SLA terms, which makes Jet Infosystems experts quite proud of their work.”.