by Leo King

Lloyds-HBOS battling growing data mountain

Oct 14, 2009
Financial Services IndustryIT Strategy

Lloyds Banking Group, which merged with HBOS last November, is acting aggressively to tackle a fast growing data mountain in its wholesale markets Treasurey and Trading division.

The now part-nationalised bank is working on a project, with consultancy Affiniti, to move data to highly structured, tiered storage, against a backdrop of an “exponential” annual growth in data. It is using Hitachi Data Systems and NetApp systems, and hopes to complete the move in mid-2010.

Few details had emerged so far of the Lloyds ongoing technology strategy since the merger with HBOS. But Jonathan Harris, senior storage architect at the company, said: “A couple of years ago we began filling up storage at a phenomenal rate.

“We found we were rapidly running out of space so we kept adding new storage silos, using more and more fibre channel.” Data had grown from four terabytes to 300 terabytes in the last four years, he said, and was now growing at a slower but still challenging 60 per cent a year.

Since the merger, Lloyds TSB learnt “a great deal” from some of the expertise at HBOS, and its choice of HDS was taken because it the technology was already being implemented at HBOS.

“HBOS was slightly ahead of us in terms of technology,” said Harris, in an interview today at Storage Expo in London. “The great thing was that they shared the same tiering and archiving idea as us, and they had a lot of expertise we could draw on.”

The move would not only ease management of data – including deduplicating information and improving backup and restore times – but also “greatly reduce both capital expenditure costs on more storage, and cut ongoing operational costs”, Harris said.

Lloyds, whose infrastructure was based on Oracle, SQL, Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows Server and VMware virtualisation, had many parallels with HBOS technology and was “not fundamentally different” from that bank, Harris said.

The storageteams, he added, have a “clear idea” of what capacity is needed for the sets of enterprise applications. But he conceded Lloyds does have a “large number” of bespoke applications in use, which are different from systems at HBOS.