City Bank, one of the oldest and largest private commercial banks operating in Bangladesh, needed to roll out a 24/7 self-service banking portal for its customers while ensuring a smooth upgrade to the latest version of the Infosys Finacle platform. Leveraging F5’s BIG-IP application delivery products, as well as integrations with Infosys Finacle and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), City Bank managed to eliminate outages, deliver continuous uptime and develop a new 24/7 self-service banking portal for its customers.
City Bank is one of the oldest and largest private commercial banks in Bangladesh and one of the few banks with a centralized infrastructure. Founded in 1983, City Bank currently has 130 branches across the country and provides a wide range of banking services, including e-wallet, loans and account services, and payment and check processing. They also have a diverse network of 369 ATMs and cash deposit machines (CDMs).
As a bank that champions financial inclusion, City Bank wanted to roll out a 24/7 self-service banking portal to reduce its time to market to deploy new applications. This would offer customers unmatched accessibility and convenience and meet the needs of both its digital-savvy customers and the large unbanked population.
City Bank also needed to upgrade its Core Banking System (CBS), Infosys Finacle platform, while minimizing system downtime to avoid impacts to customer experience. Previous application deployments took approximately 15 days; far too long an interruption for a CBS upgrade in today’s rapidly advancing environment.
To roll out an entirely new and comprehensive self-service banking platform to a wide audience, City Bank required a solution that could be integrated seamlessly, and the help of a partner that had a strong track record of proven success.
“Bangladesh is steadily moving toward a higher number of digital transactions, and we felt the need to upgrade our systems to cater to the country’s varied requirements. As banking and financial transactions need to be highly secure and quick, we knew we needed a solution that would be robust and reliable,” said Kazi Azizur Rahman, CIO & DMD, City Bank.
After evaluating various options, City Bank selected F5 Networks’ BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Virtual Edition and F5’s BIG–IP Domain Name System (DNS).
F5’s BIG-IP LTM, together with Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), enabled seamless deployment, management, and reliable delivery of applications, with static and dynamic load balancing to eliminate single points of failure. The solution ensured the effective management of large volumes of incoming traffic, while failover systems between data centers ensured reliability. As a BIG-IP Virtual Edition solution, it also enabled flexible infrastructure without requiring installation of third-party software.
Additionally, F5’s BIG-IP DNS helped distribute DNS and user application requests based on business policies, data center status, and cloud service conditions to keep pace with changing network and user volumes, preventing data centers from being overwhelmed during peak traffic periods. All of these components were deployed together to create a secure and smooth application that could scale to serve large volumes of traffic.
“F5 understood our requirements thoroughly, and their solutions fit like a glove. We can’t imagine having a better partner than F5 to help us with this project,” adds Rahman.
Together, F5’s BIG-IP LTM Virtual Edition and BIG-IP DNS provided comprehensive benefits, such as flexibility in managing network traffic while minimizing server overload, and minimal system downtime. With an automated failover process between data centers, City Bank can ensure uninterrupted availability of their CBS.
With F5, City Bank was able to improve traffic management by implementing dedicated virtual appliances for its DMZ and Core applications, and increasing the speed with which failover traffic was balanced between data centers. This enabled City Bank to eliminate outages due to heavy traffic loads and ensure that its banking services are available to customers at any time.
Additionally, City Bank reduced the application connection time from users to their mobile app by introducing the BIG-IP LTM in front of the application server. Following the launch of the mobile app for consumer banking and utility payments, City Bank saw a 15 percent increase in the number of users connecting to the online banking application for day-to-day transactions.
Leveraging the benefits of the Cisco ACI solution, F5 successfully deployed a full-stack, end-to-end software defined network (SDN) that delivers policy-driven automation and accelerates infrastructure and application deployment. The solution provided automation and orchestration up and down the stack—from Layer 2 through Layer 7—helping City Bank create fast, secure, and readily available applications. It also allowed the team to perform full-stack, policy-driven provisioning and management from a single controller.
With Cisco ACI and F5’s load-balancing services, the bank was able to implement application-centric deployments using contracts, filters, and service graphs to control traffic between application tiers. The model provided stateless load balancing for a three-tier application in the data center with agility and full automation of Layers 4 – 7. This helped produce more holistic and quicker management of application services, empowering City Bank to support application needs, decrease costs, and boost efficiency.
After integrating with F5’s solutions, City Bank successfully created a new self-service portal for customers. By automating the configuration on the associated server and new hardware, the self-service portal has enabled faster deployment of services for City Bank’s customers, and madeinternal reporting tools available to its employees.
The self-service portal’s 24/7 availability has significantly reduced deployment time for new applications, which has helped the bank roll out services quicker than ever before, improving the overall customer experience. “Customer convenience is paramount. With F5’s support, not only did we ensure a reliable experience, but we were also able to improve it,” adds Kazi Azizur Rahman, CIO & DMD, City Bank.