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SBI LIFE INSURANCE REDUCES IT COSTS, INCREASES PERFORMANCE AND GENERATES VALUE TO BUSINESS THROUGH ITS USE OF RED HAT SOLUTIONS

BACKGROUND SBI Life Insurance Company Limited, one of the largest pri¬vate life insurance firms in India, is a joint venture between the State Bank of India and BNP Paribas Assurance. SBI Life Insurance is registered with an authorized capital of Rs 200 million and a paid-up capital of Rs 100 million. SBI Life owns 74 percent of the total capital, and BNP Paribas Assurance owns the remaining 26 percent. State Bank of India is the largest banking franchise in India. Along with its six associate banks, SBI Group has the unrivaled strength of over 16,000 branches across the country. SBI Life has a unique multi-distribution model encompass¬ing vibrant bank assurance, retail agency, institutional alli¬ances and corporate solution distribution channels. SBI Life extensively leverages the SBI Group as a platform for cross-selling insurance products along with its numer¬ous banking product packages such as housing loans and personal loans. SBI’s access to over 100 million accounts across the country provides a vibrant base for insurance penetration across every region and economic strata in the country, ensuring true financial inclusion. Agency Channel, comprising the most productive force of more than 68,000 Insurance Advisors, offers door-to-door insurance solutions to customers.

 

Date: 10 Jan 2011


BUSINESS CHALLENGE
Since its inception, SBI Life has been highly conscious about its IT spending. “We've seen two major recessions in the last eight years,” said Mani RVS, head of information systems group (ISG). “In such a volatile market, companies need to be highly conscious about all expenditures.”

SBI Life needed any cost savings for its IT infrastructure to be balanced with system performance and scalability. In addition, the organization needed its systems to be highly reliable, robust and scalable.

“Longevity of the IT platform is a critical parameter in our business,” said Mani. “The cost-to-performance ratio is very important as it illustrates the value that any IT solu¬tion can generate for the business.”

SOLUTION
With reliability, scalability, cost, performance and business value criteria in mind, Red Hat open source solutions were an ideal fit as they not only met these criteria, but also allowed SBI Life to take advantage of the rapid innovation from the open source community and avoid proprietary lock-in.

“Implementation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux was one of the key milestones in our IT deployments,” said Mani. “Additionally, the proof of concept (POC) completed using Red Hat Enterprise Linux was highly successful. With the similar setup, Red Hat Enterprise Linux showed consider¬able improvement in the performance,” said Mr. Kundan Patil, manager of applications, infrastructure and design. Red Hat's subscription model also provides SBI Life with a predictable TCO, while also ensuring that SBI Life is able to derive continuous value even after initial rollouts.

SBI Life started its first open source migration project in 2004 when it steadily migrated the Oracle-based data¬base of its critical policy management system to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. “The migration was very successful,” said Kundan. “It was a smooth roll out with absolutely no issues.”

After the successful migration, SBI Life designed SAP HRMS, another large application in terms of deployment efforts, and deployed it completely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. Kundan describes the deploy¬ment process in three words: “smooth, flawless and efficient.”

“The performance of the system is quite outstanding con¬sidering the fact that we have all the branches' and head¬quarter's users continuously using the application and the database,” said Kundan. “We have achieved almost zero downtime with the use of clustering technology embedded in Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform,” he added.

One success story builds another. After the success of SAP HRMS on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, SBI Life has implemented a number of its critical systems on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform.

SBI Life's ISG team has also started implementing some of its important applications on JBoss Enterprise Middleware using JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 4.3. “Currently, few applications are running on JBoss, and we plan to deploy more applications on JBoss,” said Kundan.

Currently, close to 95 percent of SBI Life's database servers are implemented on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. Additionally, the ISG team is study¬ing the feasibility of migrating other applications to JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 4.3. “We are exploring the possibility of two content-based applications to be hosted on JBoss,” explained Kundan. “These systems are expected to go live in 2010.”

“Over the last four years, Red Hat has become a very important technology partner for SBI Life,” said Kundan.

BENEFITS
“Adoption of open standards has enabled us to mitigate the risk of proprietary lock-in and has led to cost reduction and improved interoperability,” said chief information officer Bhaskar Jutti.

“ We have been using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for mission critical applications and have been satis¬fied users of the product. Reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) in implementing the applications in this environment has encouraged us to extend this environment for other applications.” – Mani RVS, head of information systems group, SBI Life Insurance

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform with its in-built clustering technology provided SBI Life with a highly stable system without compromising on performance. “In the last four years, Red Hat’s systems have shown extremely high stability. We have managed to achieve nearly zero downtime,” said Mani.

Red Hat systems also turned out to be cost effective for SBI Life, both in terms of cost of acquisition and cost of maintenance. “We have been using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for mission critical applications and have been satis¬fied users of the product. Reduced TCO in implementing the applications in this environment has encouraged us to extend this environment for other applications,” said Mani.

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