Johari Ariff Bin Osman, Head, Data Centre Facility, RHB Banking Group
As the business world moves at an incredibly fast pace, matching the overwhelming demand for information has fueled many organisations into placing their confidence in privately owned data centers. With global internet traffic moving at lightning speed and the amount of data produced annually expected to reach 180 ZB, or 180 trillion Gigabytes, by 2025, data centres are becoming increasingly valuable additions to many businesses as they prove to be a dependable extension of their IT team. This increasingly indispensable factor for success necessarily calls for an even more secure, reliable and cost-effective data centre infrastructure.
Recognising the need for efficient and intelligent data management, RHB Banking Group took a huge step forward at the time with the commissioning of its data centre back in 2002. Since then, much has changed, and in 2017, the Group reviewed its data centre operations and undertook an upgrade to address power, cooling and network infrastructure as well as performance requirements.
Taking into consideration its infrastructure needs as well as its commitment towards integrating sustainable practices into its business and operations, the Group embarked on a green data centre initiative in line with its Sustainability Framework, which is premised on three key pillars - Sustainable and Responsible Banking, Embedding Good Practices and Enriching and Empowering Communities. The integration of Sustainability principles into its business strategy and decision making process enables the Group to continuously deliver value for its shareholders, customers, employees and all other stakeholders.
In leveraging on resources more effectively to achieve better results, the green data centre was designed with a layout that offers maximum functionality, while optimizing the usage of space and visibility for more efficient consumption. In addition to that, as a sustainable facility, the data centre holds greater capacity for more efficient power and cooling systems.
Evolving with the needs and demands of data management within the organization, by 2019, RHB’s data centre expanded its floor space by 8,100 sq ft to accommodate the Group’s growing business data and product expansion efforts. Comprising the latest technology and network infrastructure, the data centre reinforces RHB’s contribution towards sustainable development and to facilitate the country’s transition towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy.
Built to optimize energy consumption and reduce carbon emission, the enhanced data centre’s infrastructure is in accordance with the Uptime Institute DC Tier III requirements.
Albert Bruno Augustine, Head, Group IT Infrastructure Services, RHB Banking Group
The new floor space was designed with state-of-the-art infrastructure that includes industry best practices and the latest technology. Structured Cabling Architecture was premised on the ANSI/TIA-942 and TIA606-C guidelines that include colour coded cables, standardized cable grade and quality, as well as accurate labelling for improved identification of cables to assist troubleshooting.
Recognising the need for efficient and intelligent data management, RHB Banking Group took a huge step forward at the time with the commissioning of its data centre back in 2002
The expansion of the data centre also included the setting up of a Command Centre with wall-to-wall central video monitoring capability, as well as multiple monitoring screens with ergonomic seating facilities. The central video wall projects all business critical services, security and facility services running in the data centre, monitored by operators on a 24x7x365 basis.
In terms of physical environment, human traffic into the data centre is limited in order to optimize cooling, while air pollution is controlled and reduced to maximize hardware performance. Virtualisation technology is utilized to reduce hardware footprint, power consumption and heat emission.
In dealing with security threats, RHB’s data centre also features multi-tiered security mechanisms that include restricted entry using Key Card Access at the entrance of the data centre, facial recognition and biometrics access into the data centre, as well as round-the-clock CCTV surveillance by RHB’s security team.
Setting Industry Benchmark
With its state-of-the-art data centre, RHB is the first bank in Malaysia to be certified by the Uptime Institute with TCDD (Tier Certification of Design Documents. In addition to that, RHB has also been awarded the ISO 14644-1:2015 certification for air borne particle count, achieving a new clean-room effect with air-pollutant index of up to 0.5micron size. The Group’s data centre is also in compliance with TVR (MAS Singapore) and DCRA (RMiT Bank Negara Malaysia) requirements. These certifications and endorsements underline RHB’s efforts in ensuring reliable and secure data management, thus safeguarding customers’ information, delivering greater value to shareholders and living up to the Group’s brand promise of “Together We Progress”. Recognising the constant growth of data and digital technology, RHB is set to continuously refresh and upgrade its servers and network devices every 5 years to leverage on the latest technologies, improve performance levels, reduce power consumption, while achieving High Availability (HA).
With a strong commitment towards creating industry benchmarks and setting high standards of data centre operations, RHB aims to continuously explore technology that can optimize performance, while keeping the data centre green.
As RHB continues to expand its digital capabilities and incorporate advanced technologies in data management, the Group is poised to set new benchmarks for green data centre, while aligning itself with sustainable best practices. The Group will continue to explore and optimize scalability through the effective use of resources to strengthen its green data centre, making it a role model within the financial services industry.