Local insurer slashes operating and investment costs by half with new solution from CommVault
Cost savings, broad range of features, ability to work with virtualised systems cited as main criteria for win
MALAYSIAN financial services group Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Berhad has revamped its entire data management and storage software in a bid to improve the efficiency of its IT infrastructure and lower operating costs.
Takaful Malaysia chief information officer Patrick C.Y. Wong claimed the company was able to reduce its data management operating cost by half by using CommVault’s software data management solution, dubbed Simpana.
“We had already reached the limit with our existing data management and storage software system,” Wong (pic) said at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on June 11. “As a result, we had to make a decision between upgrading our existing system or revamping the entire solution."
“We evaluated four vendors, including CommVault, and decided to go with its solution as it gave us the best cost savings in terms of investment and operation costs, at 50% savings [for both],” said Wong when asked what kind of savings Takaful Malaysia achieved with CommVault’s solution.
Takaful Malaysia is an Islamic-based (Shariah-compliant) insurance company and is the first Takaful operator in Malaysia. It has an authorised capital of RM500 million and a paid up capital of RM162 million.
[RM1 = US$0.34]
Wong said Takaful Malaysia uses IT to not only fulfil its ongoing commitment to serve both external and internal customers, but also to ensure that systems and data are always continuously available.
“Takaful’s IT department – which makes up 10% of the company’s workforce – also develops all the online services for our employees, as well as retail and banking intermediaries, to distribute products as well as to keep track of our customers,” he said.
But as the insurer grew its business, data volumes also increased from 7TB (terabytes) to approximately 20TB within the span of two years, Wong said.
Additionally, Takaful needed to comply with strict data protection regulations set by the central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia. These regulations called for higher levels of data protection and availability, requiring companies to back up all their data and retain archives back a minimum of seven years.
Wong said that Takaful Malaysia’s legacy data management infrastructure was initially designed to handle maximum data volumes of up to 15TB, so the company struggled to keep up with its business growth.
Compounding this setback was the fact that the existing data management solution could not de-duplicate data at the source. The high volume of traffic being transferred back and forth disrupted the network performance, he added.
He said these factors were the main driving forces for Takaful Malaysia to upgrade its system.
According to Wong, the company selected CommVault’s Simpana Data Management Solution after evaluating the four vendors.
CommVault claims that the new solution enables customers to deploy a data protection infrastructure that can easily scale up to support 80TB of data, at a lower cost.
“The Simpana solution, running on Dell infrastructure, would require less than half the original investment amount proposed by the incumbent vendor,” said Wong. “Since its implementation, Simpana has enabled Takaful to reduce annual license maintenance costs by approximately RM200,000 (US$68,000) per annum.”
Asked what were the criteria applied to evaluate the choice for its data management solution provider, Wong said that the winning bid had to be able to comply with the highly virtualised environment in its data centre.
“Our systems are 80% virtualised and the vendor we chose had to be able to integrate its solutions tightly with our systems. Other criteria were cost savings and the ability to restore our systems very quickly, and these are some of the reasons we chose CommVault.
Takaful Malaysia’s systems comprise Wintel platforms virtualised with VMware, Dell PowerVault DL2200 and Dell PowerVault TL4000 Tape Library. Software includes Microsoft's Active Directory, Exchange Server and SQL Server.
Cost gains aside, Wong said that CommVault’s Simpana solution has also made data recovery much quicker.
“In one instance after the implementation, we were able to recover lost emails for one of our senior staff in a matter of hours compared to days with our previous systems,” he said.
Asked what were Takaful Malaysia’s plans after implementing Simpana, Wong said that the immediate one would be to upgrade to version 10 of the software from version 9.
“To remain an industry leader, Takaful Malaysia will continue to implement cutting-edge technologies that help the company deliver the highest levels of service and support in the financial services industry.” Wong said.
Eric Lim, CommVault country manager for Malaysia and Brunei, said that its latest software upgrade, the Simpana 10, has added features which would benefit companies such as Takaful Malaysia.
“With Simpana 10, Takaful Malaysia will be able to manage larger scale operations and services more effectively, and can deliver something extra to its customers,” he said.
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