Emirates NBD achieves 42% better performance thanks to AMD-powered HPE servers

Emirates NBD, a leading banking group with 17 million customers, has achieved 42 percent better performance and 20 percent lower software licensing costs with HPE servers powered by AMD EPYC CPUs.
AMD EPYCEmirates NBD has invested heavily in technology.

Miguel Rio Tinto, CIO of Emirates NBD, said in its case study: “One area is the technology platforms. This is a private cloud infrastructure provision that underpins Emirates NBD’s entire technology stack. Then on top of the technology platforms there are core banking functions like the client accounts, deposits, loans, trade, finance, and treasury. We call those business platforms.”

Emirates NBD found AMD EPYC CPUs were 42 percent faster than an alternative on average.

Ali Rey, Senior Vice President Technology Platforms at Emirates NBD, said: “On top of core banking capabilities, which are managed by IT, we enable our business divisions to manage our digital products like the mobile App, the online channel, the corporate online banking, and the tablets that the relationship managers use in the branches.”

Emirates NBD has built over 1,500 APIs and has on average over 30 million API calls per day with a peak of 2,000 API calls per second.

Emirates NBD wanted to shift to a generalized private cloud that could form a flexible, more efficient basis for its technology platforms. This search led to servers powered by AMD EPYC processors.

“We decided to have a maximum of eight combinations, and now 96 percent of our infrastructure currently runs as a VM or a container. Underneath that, we standardized our compute, storage, and networking stack,” Rio Tinto said.

Ali Rey said containers that run out of memory will restart automatically. They’ll scale out as they need to. Emirates NBD didn’t want to get locked into the proprietary technology of a public cloud provider. The Bank wanted to employ standard containers such as Kubernetes and Docker alongside VMware virtual machines, enabling the use of private and public cloud infrastructure as required.

Rio Tinto says it had a number of proposals on the table in 2021. Emirates NBD did a lot of evaluation between them. Emirates NBD tested database performance, core banking APIs, the memory bandwidth and how the CPUs were accessing the memory. Emirates NBD also did a lot of web-based user testing. Emirates NBD found AMD EPYC CPUs were 42 percent faster than an alternative on average.

The successful tests led to a wholesale rollout. “We’re running over 100 HPE ProLiant servers, with the AMD 3rd Gen 32 core high frequency EPYC processors,” says Ali Rey. “A two socket has 64 cores delivering 128 vCPUs. We have two terabytes of RAM with 64GB per DIMM. We run NVMe M.2 boot drives to make it fast with a RAID-1 configuration for the OS.”

“We haven’t had any issues migrating over. We can now run the same number of VMs on fewer servers, or more VMs with the same number of licenses. “We only need 80 percent of the licenses, giving us a 20 percent buffer over the next two years to move forward purely by moving to faster AMD EPYC processors,” Ali Rey said.

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