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Financial Sector Banking on the Next Generation of HCI


The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted businesses across industries this year creating a sudden and critical need to continue providing services to consumers while maintaining distancing standards. In the banking and finance sector, the global pandemic has acted as a catalyst, accelerating digitization efforts that had been trending well before the pandemic. As IT infrastructures in the financial industry struggle to bear the burden of heavier workloads brought on by remote transactions, banks are turning to the next generation of hyperconverged infrastructure to bridge the gap and future-proof their IT environments - HCI 2.0.

HCI 2.0 marries the best of hyperconvered infrastructure and converged architectures, allowing for independent scaling of compute and storage. For a financial sector desparate to lower costs and increase agility, HCI 2.0 means no bottlenecks in network traffic, and no lags in performance.

Demand for digital banking

Leaders in the banking and finance industry flagged the need for digitization of services to meet customer demands prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the number of full-service bank branches across the US declined 12 percent between 2010 and 2019 according to a Quartz analysis of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, a trend that was mirrored around the world, highlighting a decreased demand for physical, face-to-face banking interactions.

Demand for digital banking services coupled with falling interest rates has pushed banks to reevaluate their offerings. To stay competitive as the profitability of core banking services continues to fall, banks have shifted their focus to creating superior customer service experiences through online and mobile banking applications.

To this end, the vast majority of banks were well on their way to transitioning core services digital channels when COVID-19 hit, drastically changing customer interactions. As the global population quickly sought out services that require minimum face-to-face interaction, banks around the world were forced to accelerate digitization plans.

New solutions for heavier workloads

This increased reliance on digital channels to meet customer demands while remaining socially distanced gave rise to a set of challenges to which HCI 2.0 is the solution. As customers continue to eschew physical banking practices, banks need to ensure that their digital platforms are equipped to handle the increased workload, their data remains secure and compliant with new regulations, and that their infrastructure remains agile and flexible for a still uncertain future.

To meet the twin demands of availability and security while keeping costs low, IT leaders across sectors have long turned to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). HCI is ideal for general purpose apps and small deployments, but for the business-critical apps and mixed workloads that are part and parcel of the financial sector, banks need something more.

And that “something more” is here - HCI 2.0. With this second generation of HCI, HPE has leveraged disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure (dHCI) and a wealth of other solutions and services to provide simplicity and consistency to all HCI to workloads. HPE Nimble Storage dHCI delivers intelligent, self-managing flash storage on a flexible platform with independent scalability for compute and storage. Built on top of HPE’s intelligent ProLiant servers, HPE Nimble Storage dHCI also leverages AI through HPE InfoSight to prevent problems through intelligent prediction.

For a financial sector under pressure, HCI 2.0 is, simply put, a game-changer. For Highmark Credit Union in the US, implementing HPE Nimble Storage dHCI meant significantly decreased downtime and always-on access to banking services for its 12,000 members. First National bank of Eagle Lake rolled our HPE Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash Arrays, rapidly moving from six physical servers to a virtual environment and one direct-attached SAN, and cutting support tickets and downtime by over half.

Vertical focus means industry tailored solutions

And the MENA financial sector is poised to benefit from HCI 2.0 as well. This year, we have shifted our sales approach to an industry vertical focus, making it easier for HPE customers to leverage solutions that are tailored to the unique requirements of each industry vertical. Through this new shift, HPE and partners will bring the latest in enterprise technology to industry verticals such as Telco, Oil & Gas, manufacturing and distribution, healthcare and, of course, the financial sector.

Through our partners, we aim to accelerate digital transformations around hybrid IT and edge computing that will be the foundation for business operations in the near future, bringing next-in-class solutions like HCI 2.0 to market.

With the future of banking online, it is imperative that industry leaders continue to move business-critical infrastructure and applications to flexible, intelligent, agile environments. HPE’s HCI 2.0 provides the non-stop availability and higher resilience that will drive the future of banking.

Timothy Aldridge
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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