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Banking on Actifio for Speed, Simplicity, and Consistency

KCB Group, East Africa’s Largest Bank, uses Actifio to gain reliable data protection and accelerated DevOps.

Executive Summary
KCB Group capitalizes on sophisticated Information Technology to manage its banking business across seven East African countries. As with any size-able modern bank, KCB Group operations produce large amounts of critical data every day. Their challenge had become reliably backing up and recovering that data in an acceptable time frame. Through a Request for Proposals (RFP) and a series of technical evaluations, they selected Actifio as the simple, versatile, reliable, and affordable platform to meet their needs. Beyond data backup and recovery, the KCB Group has also realized Actifio’s unique value in time savings and self-service utility that help accelerate the work of their application developers.

KCB Group Overview
KCB Group Plc is East Africa’s largest commercial bank that was established in 1896 in Kenya. Over the years, the Bank has grown and spread its wings into Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia (Rep). Further to the banking businesses in these markets, KCB Group has added to its Kenyan banking subsidiaries the National Bank of Kenya, a listed lender. Today KCB Group Plc has the largest branch network in the region with 330 branches, 1,076 ATMs and over 18,818 merchants and agents offering banking services on a 24/7 basis in East Africa. Additionally, KCB Group owns KCB Insurance Agency, KCB Capital Limited, KCB Foundation and Kencom House Limited as non-banking businesses. This is complemented by mobile banking and internet banking services with 24hour contact center services for customers to get in touch with the Bank. The Bank has a wide network of correspondent relationships totaling over 200 banks across the globe and customers are assured of seamless facilitation of their international trade requirements wherever they are.

The Challenge
Information Technology is central to the operation of any modern bank. Standard activities include both internal and customer-facing applications such as bank card management, payday services, depositor accounts, cash management, and more. It requires complex technology and for KCB Group, that technology needs to operate responsively and reliably in support of bank business in seven countries. Each country depends upon the bank’s primary production and backup data centers operating in Kenya. Outside of Kenya each country in which KCB operates also administers its own satellite data center.

As with any bank, KCB Group operations produce large amounts of critical data every day. Their challenge had become reliably protecting that data; backing it up consistently inside an acceptable backup window and recovering data quickly when necessary. Their existing tape-based system failed to meet the need. It was a complicated and time-consuming process to operate. It could take as long as 14 hours to complete a backup – on the occasions a backup was even completed. Data recovery failures were common. So, they created a Request for Proposals (RFP) and started looking at alternatives to help alleviate their backup challenges.

“The success rate of our old data backup system was horrible. We wasted too much staff time dealing with failures. It had become a major pain point and a real danger to the bank’s business.”
GABRIEL KIMANZI, IT RISK AND SECURITY OFFICER

The Solution
As the KCB IT team reviewed data backup alternatives, they identified three that had some potential. For these, they conducted Proof of Concept (POC) tests and detailed technical evaluations. While data backup and recovery capabilities were their foremost criteria, they also considered broader functionality as well as price. The team recognized Actifio’s unique value in saving time for application developers with its capability to capture data at block level in application-consistent native format. Also, data virtualization means they can create as many database copies as they need without adding storage system capacity. “Actifio is a powerful tool for data protection and application development. Backup speed, simplicity of management, excellent support, were all factors in our decision as well,” said Christopher Tiren, Chief Procurement Officer.

“We identified Actifio as our best data backup and recovery solution through a competitive process. Not only did Actifio closely match our primary criteria, but it also provides creative support for application development using application-aware data mounts. That is very powerful for us; a great benefit.”
GABRIEL KIMANZI, IT RISK AND SECURITY OFFICER

Benefits
• Powerful and affordable backup, test, and development platform
• Simple, reliable, and consistent performance of data backup and recovery
• Unique value in time savings and self-service for application developers
• Application-aware data mounts for speed and simplicity
• Compatibility with any brand storage system avoids vendor lock-in
• Excellent and responsive support

Infrastructure
• Running standard banking production
software applications, customer facing and internal business: 45 Oracle instances 85 SQL and 250 virtual machines
• Three data centers with hybrid storage environments that include EMC, HP, and IBM
• Actifio CDS appliances provide heterogeneous freedom from vendor lock-in. Planned transition to Actifio Sky

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