Banking on a More Resilient Future
An international bank’s move to an ultra-modern, highly secure, highly available and highly efficient data centre facility lays the foundations for a more sustainable future.
Bell Integration delivers a perfectly executed data centre migration project – with zero customer impact or disruption to global operations.
Towards a greener and more sustainable future
With more than 86,000 employees and a presence in 60 markets around the world, this multi-national banking and financial services company offers a comprehensive portfolio of wholesale, retail and private banking services to corporations and individuals across the globe.
Headquartered in the UK, the bank has a strong presence in Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East and is striving to make safe and secure banking available to more people in the markets it serves.
Helping millions of people and businesses around the world achieve their financial aspirations, the bank is committed to delivering excellence to customers in every channel – both traditional and digital.
With demand for services accelerating against a backdrop of ongoing market expansion, the bank took the decision to migrate its global data centre to a new state-of-the-art facility that would enable enhanced business continuity and resiliency capabilities.
Moving to an ultra-efficient, ultra-secure, and hyper-connected data centre would not only future-proof global service delivery for the business. It would also enable the bank to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies to cut energy usage and carbon emissions – making its vision of a more sustainable global operation an achievable reality.
Executing a risk-free transition
The Bank were faced with the closure of their primary global data centre in London. The Data Centre facility landlord had confirmed that the entire facility was to close and be demolished. With the ‘hard stop’ established the bank had to identify a partner that would ensure that the timescales were met and the migration would not impact day to day business operations.
Bell integration was selected to deliver this strategic programme largely due to the governance and control offered by the Bell vClarus toolset, combined with the experience within the team and the quality of Bells overall solution.
Alongside shifting physical systems – compute, network and storage – plus all associated applications and data, transitioning to a new environment also provided the bank with a prime opportunity to simultaneously rationalise and upgrade its IT infrastructure.
Undertaking a data centre migration of this scale, which included a series of planned consolidation and virtualisation workstreams, represented a major task. One that required careful coordination to keep critical systems up and running.
To mitigate risk, the bank needed to be certain every step of the migration project was meticulously planned and executed, with zero errors, to minimise outages or regulatory compliance issues.
“Working with a service provider with the specialist knowledge, resources and expertise required to ensure a smooth data centre migration was a top priority for the business,” explains the bank’s global head of infrastructure services.
“Alongside technical excellence, we needed a trusted partner with demonstrable experience at migrating thousands of workloads successfully – and Bell Integration ticked every requirements box.”
To ensure a smooth migration effort, Bell Integration initiated a comprehensive IT assessment and discovery process to identify all critical application availability requirements.
Utilising vClarus, Bell’s comprehensive governance and workload migration tool, Bell’s analysis provided the bank with a detailed graphical representation of all services, applications and infrastructure. Having documented the current data centre landscape, with all data dependencies fully mapped, every potential risk and technical consideration – together with key milestones – could be identified.
As part of its discovery process, Bell undertook a resource optimisation mapping exercise to help inform the bank’s decision-making around its virtualisation, optimisation, consolidation and equipment retirement strategies.
Working alongside the bank’s global team of subject matter experts, Bell Integration developed a step-by-step transition plan complete with detailed tasks, risk-mitigation strategies and fall back plans designed to minimise outage windows.
To ensure core commercial and business services experienced minimal interruptions, all hardware and workloads would be transitioned in a series of scheduled weekend moves. Comprehensive rehearsal plans were generated for each migration event to ensure the efforts of global teams could be perfectly coordinated.
“The scope and scale of the process we were about to embark upon quickly became apparent,” says the bank’s head of infrastructure services.
“We were looking at 69 individual migration events, each involving hours of cross-border and cross team collaboration to ensure everything went smoothly.”
Getting IT right first time – every time
Completed over a 23 month period, Bell Integration successfully completed a carefully sequenced series of weekend migration events, each of which required eight weeks of detailed planning and coordination with the bank’s global teams prior to execution.
Lasting between 20 and 50 hours, each event saw team members of the 40-strong dedicated Bell migration team working in shifts to execute, test and complete all phased moves within the designated timeframe. By the close of the project, the entire data centre had been successfully relocated to a Tier 1 next generation facility that will generate significant cost, performance and operational efficiencies for the bank – alongside enhanced disaster recovery capabilities.
“This was a massive achievement. We achieved full compliance across 76 countries under the watchful eyes of regulators and it’s a testament to the professionalism of everyone involved that the change was managed without incident or impact to customers, and near zero downtime,” confirms the bank’s head of infrastructure services.
Migration without disruption
The scope and scale of the migration project was significant and involved:
69 individual migration events, each of which required 8 weeks detailed planning
Over 80 people working in close collaboration to undertake each migration event
Regular updates to regulators to ensure compliance with local data regulations
By the close of the migration project, a massive quantity of infrastructure, services and data had been migrated to the bank’s new global data centre and new optimisation technologies introduced:
Over 5000 servers and 2.5 petabytes of data were migrated
89 network services and 400+ applications were migrated
1,700+ servers were virtualised and integrated to a new network
Why Bell Integration
“This was a milestone event for the bank – one that saw us initiate a new global data centre that supports the mission-critical activities of our business in multiple geographies,” explains the bank’s head of infrastructure services.
“We took the decision to engage with Bell, an experienced data centre migration partner, who worked closely with our teams across Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa to manage the migration. They helped us enforce migration best practices and guiding principles that ensured we were able to overcome the challenges, while contributing to our ‘better together’ ethos that saw everyone – our people and theirs – demonstrate a truly humbling level of dedication, commitment and tenacity,” he continues.