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Software-Defined Infrastructure

CFSH Turns to HCI for Simplified Management and Flexibility

To cope with rapid business growth and the need for simplified management and flexibility, China Financial Services Holdings Ltd (CFSH, 605 HK) replaced its legacy servers with hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

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Headquartered in both Hong Kong and Beijing, CFSH is a non-bank financial institution providing mortgage loans, personal loans, and financial advisory services to SMEs and individuals. CFSH acquired the loan book assets of HK Credit Gain, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank of East Asia last November.

Extend business to personal loans

The acquisition added personal loans into CFSH’s already rich loan portfolio.

“Our loan volumes are ramping up after we introduced personal loan service,” said Daniel Yip, Project Manager at the Hong Kong office of CFSH.

Today up to 100 approved are approved every month. The total loan book assets of CFSH have increased from HK$300 million to over HK$800 million after the acquisition. The money lender expects the number of new loans to go up to around 1,000 per month in the near future.

CFSH provides personal loans through multiple channels particularly online and mobile channels. To this end, it is developing a range of system and applications, which are scheduled for rollout starting the third quarter of 2018.

According to Yip, CFSH plans to debut a new automated personal loan system in August, which can process and approve loans automatically. In addition, a web application will be available in November, enabling consumers to upload loan application form and documents as well as to get approval online. The web application features instant calculation such as loan rate.

Early next year CFSH plans to launch a mobile app that will allow consumers to apply loans and check repayment details such as outstanding loan amount and repayment period via their mobile devices.

IT operational challenges

CFSH had been using servers for many years, which were primarily deployed for running its databases and networks. It experienced server problems in recent years with increased workload.

“The servers were out of date and were not able to support current data loads and anticipated future increase,” he said. “An upgrade was imminent.”

He added, “As our IT team is based in Beijing, we have limited IT manpower in the Hong Kong office. We require an IT infrastructure that is easy to set up, manage, and can scale out to cater for new business.”

Simplified management & flexibility

CFSH started to evaluate offerings from several suppliers in February this year. Eventually it chose the Lenovo ThinkAgile HX Series Nutanix Appliance.

Local software developer and system integrator YOOV Internet Technology Limited was brought to help with the installation of a set of Lenovo ThinkAgile HX Series Appliances at CFSH’s office. The integrator worked with CFSH to migrate the latter’s data from the old servers to the Lenovo appliance.

CFSH’s email system is currently running on the Lenovo appliance. The upcoming personal loan system, web and mobile applications will also be hosted on the appliance.

CFSH said simplified management and flexibility are the two key benefits of the Lenovo ThinkAgile HX Series Appliance.

“It feature plug and play capability, and is easy to manage and maintain. As a result, we can free our IT staff to focus on applications rather than the hardware,” said Yip. “The scale-out characteristics enable us to set a flexible IT budget forecast to meet our business growth.”

“HCI plays a significant role in enabling IT agility and flexibility for companies ranging from large enterprises to SMEs,” said Johnson Ho, Director of Data Center Group at Lenovo Global Technology (Hong Kong) Distribution Ltd. “It helps companies to respond quickly to changing business conditions and speed up the time to market for their products or services.”

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