As the single point for the clearing of all cheques and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) transactions in the country, the Central Bank of Kenya clearing house can ill afford any database downtime. Sybrin Systems teamed up with RDB Consulting to deliver high availability and uptime with Oracle’s Standard Linux database and fully redundant servers.
Sybrin Systems, a company that specialises in payment processing solutions, mainly across Africa, was awarded the contract, adding to their high profile client portfolio. The solution involved 41 banks using Sybrin Systems’
Client Participation Module, providing an interface to their Central Bank Clearing Module, running off high end clustered servers with Oracle’s Standard 11g database. Sybrin Systems enlisted Oracle experts, RDB Consulting, to assist with the server configuration aspect of the project.Sybrin Systems, with the assistance of RDB Consulting, delivered the required solution, ensuring that the Central Bank of Kenya’s clearing house continues to function smoothly and seamlessly, since going ‘live’ on 17 October 2011.
“The challenge we faced with Oracle’s database was squeezing maximum functionality out of an Oracle Standard configuration (due to the customer’s budget), using scripting and special configurations to provide the required level of redundancy to satisfy the client’s requirements. Oracle Enterprise, on the contrary, comes standard with such functionality,” says Brendon Paul, Director of Sybrin Systems.
“This required a highly specialist skill, and at that particular point in time we didn’t have the correct resource available, so we called on RDB Consulting to provide the expertise required on demand. RDB Consulting has a solid reputation for excellence and came highly recommended by Oracle, so they were the natural choice for the Oracle configuration component of the project,” he adds.
The implementation was not a straightforward one, as the servers could not simply be installed. Coding needed to be written to deliver live backups from the database to the data recovery site. RDB Consulting delivered the scripting required to achieve the necessary redundancy coded into the system, linking the live server with the backup server at the live site as well as the server at the data recovery site, providing high levels of failover to ensure maximum uptime even in the event of a problem.
“Sybrin Systems had already provided the hardware and software, so our skills were needed on the testing and implementation phases of the server configurations. As a first phase, RDB Consulting created a stable server environment in South Africa for Sybrin Systems to test the system on. Once testing was completed, the servers were shipped to Kenya, then put through exhaustive redundancy tests and thereafter stabilised before going ‘live’,”
says Gerrit-Jan Albers, Service Delivery Manager at RDB Consulting.
“The configuration delivered by RDB Consulting is in line with best practice and recommendations from Oracle, and was designed to provide the necessary high availability found in a Data Guard installation, so that if one node fails, it can fail over seamlessly to another synchronised node without affecting service. We have also signed a six month support contract to provide monitoring and remote maintenance to ensure maximum uptime is achieved at all times,” he adds.
Thanks to a team effort on the part of Sybrin Systems and RDB Consulting, the Central Bank of Kenya has greatly reduced the risks associated with downtime on the clearing system. The site went live without a hitch, and there have been no problems with the implementation or configuration to date.
About RDB Consulting
Established in 1995, RDB Consulting is an outsource and consulting company that specialises in four areas: Relational databases, Operating Systems, Monitoring and Enterprise Resource Planning. The organisation also offers project management, solutions architecture, on-going maintenance and support. Our services are designed to provide businesses access to expert technical resources whether full time, part time, co-managed or via remote administration. This allows companies to focus on their ‘core’ business and leave their ICT issues to the experts.
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