The Right Revamp

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Bhavasara Kshatriya Co-op Bank revamps its old IT infrastructure with NComputing’s virtual desktop solution to gain higher operational and cost efficiency coupled with better manageability and security

Established in March 1916, Bhavasara Kshatriya Co-op Bank Limited (BKCB) started its journey as a co-operative society with a sum of Rs 813 and a 30-member team. Later it gained a co-operative bank status in 1966, with headquarters in Bengaluru and three branches in other cities.

Today, BKCB has over 1,50,000 customers served by 70-odd employees across the four offices.

With its gradually expanding operations and business, BKCB took the major step of computerisation in 1996. And in May 2012, it adopted a core banking solution for automating banking operations.

However, while these efforts helped, they were not sufficient for BKCB to do as well as it wanted in today’s competitive and tech-savvy banking industry. The bank was struggling to cope up with the growing demands of higher operational efficiency and lower maintenance cost on IT.

Challenges with obsolete IT
Although BKCB had adopted total branch automation (TBA) in all its four offices, with each location running on individual local servers, the bank faced issues like frequent desktop and server downtime and technical glitches. Also, there were constant threats of malware and data leakage.

Besides that, the small, six-member IT team of the bank was finding it difficult to manage individual desktops, servers and networking systems at multiple locations.

We were facing problems like frequent downtime, wear and tear and slow machines—resulting in slow operations, cumbersome management of individual PCs, virus threats and issues related to data security. It is at this stage that we sought to deploy an agile technology that addressed these challenges squarely,” says Gopinath TK, Head – IT, BKCB.

Keeping a track of all users was also another issue. If any user made some mistake, we were not able to help them remotely. Moreover, the bigger problem was maintenance of all computers across the four sites by a small team. Resolving any breakdown of those individual computers with central processing units (CPUs) along with their own UPS systems was not easy,” he adds.

He points out that if any failure happened, it was difficult to manage and required more resources to resolve the issue.

Right tech for aged infrastructure
Given those challenges of remote manageability, efficiency, data security and cost reduction on IT maintenance, BKCB evaluated a range of computing solutions and options that were affordable and competent to meet the bank’s requirements.

After a detailed evaluation, BKCB opted for NComputing’s L300 virtual desktop thin clients that run on vSpace operating system.

First, we tested the NComputing solution from October to December 2011 at one of our branches. Then, by May 2012, we deployed the solution in other three offices as well,” says Gopinath.

Before the solution was implemented across all locations, says Gopinath, it was thoroughly tested for its effectiveness, capabilities and compatibility in a wide area network (WAN) environment, along with different operating systems, browser applications and printing devices.

In its evaluation process, BKCB tested thin client devices from other vendors as well, but they did not meet the bank’s criteria. Says Gopinath, “We tested other client devices as well, but they had a problem related to upgrade time. However, that was not the case with NComputing.”

The NComputing solution was implemented in phases. In the first phase, 10 seats of L300 virtual desktops were deployed and, later, 35 more seats were added to revamp the bank’s old IT infrastructure.

Today, all the locations are well-connected through a central server and the individual users can be easily monitored remotely in terms of access to applications, data and devices in a more secure manner.

Benefits of deployment
Power saving is the biggest benefit we have reaped, as it [L300] eliminates the usage of CPU and UPS for every user—all devices can run through a single CPU and UPS. Secondly, it has reduced the manageability cost, because now we only have to manage a single server CPU and all other systems are controlled remotely,” says Gopinath. Also, unlike earlier, the bank does not have to pay for extra resources for managing the systems.

NComputing devices have extremely low footprint when it comes to energy consumption. We are observing significant reduction in power consumption and backup costs. So much so that we have reduced UPS size from 6kVA to 3kVA at each branch,” says Gopinath.

Apart from manageability and energy benefits, the bank has been able to address the core issue of data security and malware threats to an extent.

Data leakage has stopped, as the users don’t have any access to the centralised server. Virus attacks have been reduced because the server is fully secured as it is centrally managed. Lastly, there is no need for upgrade in each and every system as we only need to upgrade the central CPU; all other systems get upgraded at the same time,” explains Gopinath.

According to Gopinath, the implementation has helped the bank bring down the electricity bill by 30%. In addition, UPS procurement cost has been lowered by 30% and the overall management cost has been cut by 20%.

Besides the quantifiable benefits, the solution has had a positive impact on the bank’s employees in general. Says Gopinath, “Users are very happy with NComputing devices, as everything is centralised and managed remotely as compared to regular desktops. Users are getting an experience similar to that of a desktop but at a minimum computing cost. Because we are working on WAN supported by the device, it is way faster than a normal PC. Besides, the login feature of this device allows the user to alter from Linux to Windows as per choice,” says Gopinath.

He adds that NComputing has also given BKCB a free software to manage all the desktops, relieving it of the need to buy a separate tool.

The solution is easy to deploy and manage. It is easy to monitor each user’s activity, control access to applications and ensure data security. There are virtually no failures or downtime,” says Gopinath.

Overall, the implementation of NComputing software and devices has showed some positive impact on the bank—be it reduced operational costs, improved efficiency, user experience or business growth.

Reduction in capex and opex always supports the business; post the deployment of NComputing solution, we have gained 10 to 15% growth,” says Gopinath.

Gopinath concludes by saying that other banks are amazed to see the quick and cost-effective manner in which BKCB has successfully revamped its computing infrastructure.

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