About Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD)
Caixa Geral de Depósitos operates in 4 continents, with its international platform of branches, subsidiaries and representative offices present in 21 countries, alongside a vast network of correspondent banks spread throughout nearly 120 countries.
After the banking crisis stretching over the last ten years, many banks suffered internal budget constraints as a direct result. IT departments were affected accordingly. Because of these and other factors, Caixa bank decided that it needed to increase the efficiency of its IT department in terms of hardware and software performance, together with reduced costs and improved sustainability. A key part of this potential improvement was to find a better data backup solution.
“Our backup solution at that time was not especially efficient from an operational point of view. It did not have the functionality we needed, and much of its functionality required manual operation. It was expensive too, and looked likely to become even more costly in the future, considering that we were being charged based on our data volume. Our storage was, of course, growing – heading to over 3 petabytes in backup storage. So we started looking for alternatives that could help both modernize our backup environment, and simultaneously reduce costs” said Marina Landeiro, Service Manager – Windows Systems; Virtualization Platforms; Storage and Backups at Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CDG).
The bank’s IT department is a significant installation. It has three PB’s of backup data and also has a variety of databases to consider; Oracle, SQL, Postgres, MySQL and SyBase. The bank has over 3’000 machines in total, with 2PB’s of disk-based primary storage. On the storage side, its IT environment was rapidly shifting to using VTL’s in place of robotics. The virtualization ratio was around 85%. “Changing from robotics to using VTL instead meant that, in turn, we were able to employ compression and deduplication techniques, etc. So we made improvements on a number of different levels” said Marina.
Caixa bank carried out significant improvements to its physical infrastructure. It deployed new hardware and implemented a new network. “As we began planning architectural change to our IT infrastructure, we started looking at open source solutions for many applications, not only from an infrastructure standpoint but also for potential development opportunities. We searched for the best open source-based software and found Bacula was one of them. Then we looked more closely at how Bacula operated and its range of functionality and then requested a proof of concept”, said Marina.
“Bacula Systems and it distributor for Portugal, Hopla Software, did a really good job. They were very helpful and responsive, and they also organized a training course for our technical team. They continue to be always very helpful and available, even after the formal implementation process has ended”, said Marina.
“Once we had decided on Bacula, we installed it and performed a wide range of tests. After they were successful, we then had to perform final checks” said Marina.
“Because of security requirements that are standard procedure in banks, we have several distinct network zones, each of which needs a backup server within it. So you need a backup installation in each zone server in order to avoid having to cross firewalls. With our previous solution, each installation was running a single instance in each zone. So if a backup server died, it could not recover from another server elsewhere. This caused difficulty and confusion within our different levels of support and administration levels. There was a lot of unavailability going on! Now we are in a much better position because with Bacula, we can now have a centralized vision of everything and at the operations level, we can now easily relaunch any failed jobs. This is a major advantage to us”, said Marina.
“By restructuring hardware and software, we are saving around 200K per year – and we expect to maintain that going forwards. Because it is easier to control the number of machines you deploy, rather than the amount of data you acquire, we are in a stronger position to control and forecast costs. Bacula has removed those kind of constraints for us. That aspect of the license model is something we considered carefully leading up to our software choice. Changing to Bacula Enterprise Edition has had a positive impact on our IT department, significantly helping to make it more efficient and effective” said Marina.
Modules and Tools Adopted: