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Case Study

KFH digitally transforms data storage and data protection with Dell EMC

KFH digitally transforms data storage and data protection with Dell EMC

Kuwait Finance House has implemented Dell EMC’s Data Protection Solution

Dell EMC has announced that Kuwait Finance House (KFH), a global pioneer in Islamic Banking, has selected Dell EMC’s Data Protection Solution to create a highly scalable infrastructure to support rapid data growth.

The project was managed by International Turnkey Systems (ITS), a leading integrated information technology provider for Islamic financial solutions and a strategic Dell EMC partner in the region.

KFH aims to leverage the unmatched flexibility, agile performance, enterprise-ready protection and recovery capabilities offered by this solution to achieve an increased level of data availability and facilitate a superior banking experience.

Serving customers across the GCC, Asia, and Europe through over 480 branches, KFH is driven by massive volumes of data – retained on backup tapes. To keep pace with the demands of the digital age, KFH optimises the user-generated data to offer diversified financial services and solutions.

To meet this end, IT forms the backbone for KFH’s data-driven operations, ensuring uninterrupted provision of services to its customers across the globe. With data expected to further grow at an exponential rate, resilient cloud-enabled protection storage with effective backup, archive and disaster recovery features is critical to power the ambitious vision fostered by the leading financial institution.

To balance the needs between capacity, capability and advanced protection, KFH selected the Dell EMC solution to start its journey toward tapeless solutions by expanding the existing Dell EMC backup to disk solution.

By deploying this solution at its major data centres, KFH aims to migrate its traditional data protection system and switch over from a tapeless backup system, gradually reducing their exposure to the risk of data loss.

This tapeless solution will provide simplicity, cost optimisation and will address risks, compliance and data sovereignty concerns associated with any potential data loss due to tape-centric issues.

With the deployment completed, KFH intends to drive the efficiency of data recovery to the highest level, eliminate usage of tape backup by limiting human intervention in backup and recovery operations and save approximately USD 1 million over a three year period in storage management.

Group Chief Information Officer at KFH, Srood Sherif, said: “As a leader spearheading Islamic financial services worldwide, KFH has always been committed to providing its ever-expanding customer base with frontline products and services – which can be obstructed by a lack of real-time data access.

“Data Protection solutions by Dell EMC helps ensure that our present storage infrastructure not only facilitates round-the-clock data availability but also extends a high level of data protection and recovery at the speed of our business.  Hence, we are extremely glad to be working with Dell EMC to realise our vision of becoming the most sustainable and profitable Islamic bank in the world.”

Fahad Al Rashdan, Regional Director at International Turnkey Systems Group (ITS) said: “ITS has developed and refined its award-winning technology for Islamic bank and financial institutions for over 36 years. Our extensive industry experience helped us identify Dell EMC’s Data Protection Suite as the solution that would deliver a superior banking experience for KFH. With this new implementation, KFH will further upgrade its banking system to unlock new enterprise capabilities and better serve its customer’s needs.”

Habib Mahakian, Vice President, Gulf at Dell EMC, said: “We are immensely pleased to be working with an innovation-led financial institution such as the Kuwait Financial House and supporting them with their objective of creating a strong foundation for data growth. At Dell EMC, we aim to ensure that by leveraging our Data Protection Solutions, KFH is able to protect its critical data and optimise the protection and availability of its IT environment to deliver cutting-edge services and deliver the highest level of customer service.”

We asked Srood Sherif, Group Chief Information Officer, more questions about the solution.

What recovery capabilities does the solution offer Kuwait Finance House (KFH)?

The solution delivers digitisation of legacy data residing on magnetic tapes that might not guarantee recovery when needed. With the Dell EMC solution, KFH benefits from recovery within minutes or hours instead of days or weeks and this determines the business differentiation for KFH. Getting data back from legacy repositories quickly and reliably enhances KFH’s compliance and data risk posture significantly.

How has it allowed you to achieve an increased level of data availability?

The solution provides quick access to legacy data backups, since the repository would no longer be based on tapes (once we complete full migration). Rapid recovery capabilities from the solution assure KFH of delivering information back to the business units as and when transactional level information is sought – either internally or externally (such as the Central Bank.) The ability of accessing legacy backups of core and transactional systems quickly and reliably ensure that data is made available to the business on time and with accuracy.

In what ways does it mean you can deliver a superior banking experience?

The ability of accessing legacy backups of core and transactional systems quickly and reliably ensures that data is made available to the business units on time and with accuracy. Being able to address data extraction requests from business and by extension, requests from regulatory authorities will ensure that KFH’s businesses are able to address customer requests (i.e. historical transaction reports for example), solve transactions disputes quicker and ensure industry compliance reliably.

What was the problem with keeping data on backup tapes and why is the new system better?

Tapes are magnetic in nature and degrade over time. Furthermore, regular use of tapes (even for test extractions) cause degradation and makes this media type least reliable in the context of criticality of data and the nature of the business. The new system is a disk based data repository for legacy backups. It is highly evolved and purpose-built to meet KFH’s demands on legacy data backup storage and rapid access. Recovery from tapes would take days or weeks, which can be done in minutes or hours in the new system. Additionally, tapes require safe and physical space that is expensive considering the number of tapes we have accumulated over the years.

Why is it important for you to be able to offer real time data access and how does the solution let you achieve this?

Real-time (and near real time) data access is a key business differentiator. It allows KFH to re-prioritise its essential resources, thus enabling us to sharpen our focus on customers and markets, and to address the risk mitigation process requirements much quicker and with greater simplicity. The new solution addresses the core issue i.e. petabytes of transactional (historical) data lying idle on tapes. Data extraction from legacy tapes forces KFH to use archaic methods and processes which are no longer aligned with KFH’s strategy to be a leading financial services provider in the countries it operates.

What advantages does having around the clock availability bring to you?

We are able to address regulatory data extraction requests from old backups; run tests and forecasts on historical data assets reliably and with predictability; address KFH’s data loss risk posture with regard to legacy data backups lying idle on tapes; put legacy data to use; and address customer transaction extraction requests in a timely manner and with ease.