Opting for open-source

UAE Exchange standardises its fast-growing distributed systems on Red Hat Enterprise Linux using the Red Hat Satellite management platform.

Tags: Red Hat IncorporationUAE Exchange (www.uaeexchange.com/)
  • E-Mail
Opting for open-source UAE Exchange now has over 700 direct offices spread across 30 countries.
More pics ›
By  Tom Paye Published  November 16, 2014

Following a number of meetings that yielded good results, UAE Exchange began its consolidation by deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux. To streamline this deployment, the company used management platform Red Hat Satellite, coupled with the Smart Management add-on for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux solution.

“Red Hat has a global userbase, and the community is the largest open-source community in the world, so that gave us quite a lot of confidence. And then we started off using it just for the right products. The team was familiar with open-source technologies, so it could fit into our environments. And then we started expanding it, bringing more systems onto Red Hat,” says Chandra.

According to Chandra, taking this approach made it much less risky for UAE Exchange to roll out the new system, meaning that the deployment would not be noticeable to customers.

“It completely eliminated the challenges we could have faced during provisioning and enabled us to rapidly roll out Red Hat Enterprise Linux onto our servers,” he explains.

The roll-out of Red Hat Satellite took just one week, in which the Red Hat consultants configured and implemented the servers, as well as provided the UAE Exchange team with the knowledge that they needed on the new product. According to Chandra, Red Hat’s knowledge transfer practices were highly valuable to the deployment, as it meant that UAE Exchange could get right back to creating new applications and products for customers following the initial deployment.

“Despite our own team being very technically proficient, their exposure was limited to working within our environment. So the additional knowledge provided by Red Hat’s experts helped us in a number of areas such as configuration, fine tuning, performance management and security. It was also a pride point for us, as we could then match our systems to global benchmarks,” he says.

Indeed, following the implementation, and the knowledge transfer from Red Hat’s consultants, UAE Exchange’s IT department felt confident with pursuing its dream of achieving ISO 27001 certification. This ISO standard is the highest credibility ranking for information security management — an important milestone for UAE Exchange as it sought to branch out into other financial services. According to Chandra, the benchmarks set by Red Hat and the hardening of the overall operating system made it much easier for the company to gain this ISO certification.

“We had the range of services and were recognised by our customers as having the best vision. With the ISO 27001, we also deliver unparalleled trust,” he says.

Business benefit
According to Chandra, the stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been extremely good, meaning that UAE Exchange is able to comfortably accommodate 90,000 users connecting globally through its web-based applications. He says that, despite the heavy loads that this places on its UAE-based data centres, the IT team has never noticed a drop in performance. What’s more, he says that UAE Exchange is no longer affected by peaks in loads during busy seasons.

“During peak times such as festivals, we see a sudden spike in the utilisation of our remittance services. But because the Red Hat platform is so robust and scalable, even these peaks and troughs cause no degradation in service quality,” he says.

The deployment has also allowed UAE Exchange to provision new services and branches without worrying about their effects on the overall infrastructure. Chandra says that, thanks to Red Hat Satellite, configuration is not even an issue, as the solution automates routine tasks such as patch management.

The company is now able to expand its operations at an even faster pace because IT challenges no longer feature in the long list of complexities that relate to the opening of each new branch. Chandra says that the IT team is no longer inhibited by the inflexibility of its old distributed systems. And because all mission-critical services and applications are web-based, the new customer touch points simply plug in their IT services to get them up and running.

“We used to keep track of new branches opening up, but to be frank, it’s gotten to the point that we don’t even need to know how many branches we have — it’s all just run off the centralised system,” Chandra says. This allows the company’s line-of-business managers to expand when and where they see fit, without having to worry if IT can accommodate the rapid rate of growth.

Moving forward, UAE Exchange is looking to build a new data centre outside of the UAE, and plans to use virtualisation to increase  its resource utilisation. Having successfully used the community version of Red Hat’s application platform, the company now intends to use Red Hat JBoss Middleware to help it build, test, and deploy applications faster. This will allow the company to build more services to be delivered via the web to customers.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code