MUSCAT, 11 February 2012 – BankMuscat, the flagship financial institution in the Sultanate, has achieved a unique Disaster Recovery capability covering all of the Bank's IT-based operations. The scale and complexity of the Disaster Recovery solution, implemented by HP, makes the BankMuscat capability the first of its kind in Oman and the region.
This major achievement was announced at an event attended by H.E Hamoud bin Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, Dr. Salem bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, Chief Executive Officer of the Information Technology Authority, and Dr. Amer bin Awadh Al Rawas, Chief Executive Officer of Omantel, in the presence of AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive of BankMuscat.
H.E Hamoud bin Sangour Al Zadjali congratulated the management of BankMuscat on the significant achievement. “The implementation of the disaster recovery project confirms the commitment of BankMuscat to apply the business continuity planning standards prescribed by the Central Bank of Oman and thereby ensure uninterrupted services in the event of unforeseen circumstances. BankMuscat has set a fine example for the banking sector in Oman. The initiative reflects the seriousness of the Bank in its preparedness to face any unforeseen circumstances and thereby ensure continued operations in tough times," H.E Hamoud bin Sangour Al Zadjali said.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive of BankMuscat, said: “In line with our Business Continuity Planning (BCP) strategy, BankMuscat is proud to announce the unique Disaster Recovery capability covering the Bank's entire operations. The project marks a big milestone for BankMuscat in managing its business continuity, thereby reducing the single biggest risk. The Disaster Recovery solution is one of the most sophisticated solutions in the Middle East region, guaranteeing continuous availability of our IT systems to deliver uninterrupted banking services to 1.3 million customers in Oman and beyond."
AbdulRazak added: “Based on the effectiveness of our existing HP Converged Infrastructure, we chose HP to implement the Disaster Recovery solution to protect our physical and virtual workloads. All our key applications are now virtualised for failover to the Disaster Recovery data centre, guaranteeing the highest levels of availability and reliability."
Dr. Salem bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, Chief Executive Officer of the Information Technology Authority, congratulated BankMuscat on the pioneering step aimed at ensuring business continuity in times of crisis, thereby providing uninterrupted services to the Bank's customers and general public. The banking sector is a pillar of the economy and protection of data in normal times and emergency situations is the key to guaranteeing reliable banking services. BankMuscat has set a laudable example by taking the matter very seriously and investing in this area because of its importance to institutions and the general public."
Dr. Amer bin Awadh Al Rawas, Chief Executive Officer of Omantel, said: “The important step taken by BankMuscat is a positive reflection for the banking sector. He congratulated BankMuscat on the implementation of the disaster recovery project which guarantees and enhances the infrastructure for banking operations in all provinces and regions of the Sultanate. Omantel is keen to co-operate with BankMuscat and provide all support in the field of communications and advanced networking technologies."
The immense scope of the project involving the IT infrastructure for these applications consisted of more than 125 servers with different types of hardware, operating systems, databases, networks etc. The Bank opted for VMware cluster solutions from HP for the majority of the applications. The highly flexible HP solution reduced infrastructure requirements through server consolidation.
The Bank successfully conducted DR testing, and implemented the DR solution for 50 applications, including the T24 core banking system. The DR solution is a highly flexible solution as it enables the Bank to failover all 50 applications together or a group of applications to the DR site. All business users tested the applications, and about 200,000 transactions were successfully processed from the DR site without any data loss. In the event of any unforeseen circumstances when the production data center is down, the Bank now has the capability to serve all its customers from the DR site.
Eyad Shihabi, Managing Director, HP Middle East, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity to continue our work with BankMuscat to increase its capabilities and improve its fantastic levels of customer service even further. HP has worked closely with BankMuscat to build upon the solid platform in place based around HP Converged Infrastructure, with a focus on expanding this solution to support and integrate disaster recovery applications. This will give exceptional levels of peace of mind for BankMuscat customers that their data is secure."
Technology from HP's Business Continuity and Recovery Services (BCRS) group protects BankMuscat's IT operations and data by delivering data replication, failover and storage capabilities between the main and DR sites. HP BCRS provided a customised solution, blending storage replication technology, server clustering, testing and ongoing services for managing the failover processes and improving recovery time. The BCRS technology meets the Bank's recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) metrics: all 24x7 business-critical core banking applications now have an RPO of 0 minutes and an RTO of 30 minutes, minimising disruption to customer services.