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CITIC Securities International Company Limited

Enhancing efficiency and performance through 'Virtual' servers

"CSI chose Fujitsu over other companies due to a variety of reasons, but we felt that the company displayed leadership in server virtualization innovations and fully reflected our needs," said Mr. Wilfred Chan, Director - IT and administration, CITIC Securities International Company Limited.

CITIC Securities International Limited


  • Financial Services

Offering Groups:

  • Intel-Based Servers
  • IT Infrastructure

Solution Areas:

  • Systems & Network Management


  • Hong Kong


  • Conduct significant review of current IT infrastructure to meet expanding business
  • Reduce server room space, previously required to house Wintel-based servers
  • Reduce overheating issues, resulted from the large number of physical servers in place


  • 30 to 40 per cent reduction in bills, space rental, server administration and maintenance costs
  • Reduction in system down times, increased efficiency in maintenance checks and system recovery

CITIC Securities International Company Limited (CSI) is a subsidiary of CITIC Securities, a leading investment bank in Mainland China. With a unique and integrated cross-border equities business platform, CSI has an important mission of integrating the domestic and overseas equities businesses of the CITIC Group as well as becoming a leading international investment bank that focuses on China’s financial and capital markets. With extensive knowledge and experience, backed by world-class finance professionals, resources and CITIC Securities’ business network, CSI has emerged as a leading provider of high quality and timely financial services in investment banking, brokerage and equity research.

The Challenge

While CSI has performed superbly over the years in an extremely competitive industry, it became increasingly apparent that its current server infrastructure had to undergo a thorough review.

"As a leading financial services provider, it is important to ensure that every component in our IT infrastructure operates as efficiently as possible,' said Mr. Wilfred Chan, Director - IT and administration. "While our hardware and software has served us well in previous years, CSI was expanding its business in a way that our technology investments had to correspond accordingly."

Part of CSI's challenge was that it had previously adopted a "one physical server per application server" approach. The company had, in the past, purchased Wintel-based servers - common among many companies due to lower acquisition costs. While it was indeed less expensive from an investment point of view, CSI eventually found that maintenance and administration costs were relatively high. The company also found that it was running out of server room space, and had difficulty monitoring hardware resources due to the large number of physical servers in place. Furthermore, the space required to fit all the servers in led to overheating issues within the room, which would ultimately impact performance and reliability. This was when CSI began looking into a possible deployment of "virtual' servers.

"In reviewing our short- to medium-term IT needs, my team and I raised important questions on whether a new philosophy was needed to meet our business needs," said Mr. Chan. "We recognized that the industry trend was moving away from extensive investments in physical server infrastructure to a virtual-based infrastructure. Due to the dramatic increase of user data needed to process, networks that are used to store our data have become larger and more complicated. From CSI's point of view, a shift towards deploying virtual servers made sense as we wanted to drastically simplify our company's server management."

Mr. James Pang, General Manager, Sales Department, Information System & Services Division, Fujitsu Hong Kong Limited, agrees. "Issues encountered by companies like CSI are very common. Storage systems continue to become more complex as the amount of stored data and storage equipment increases; however, deploying virtual servers is expected to ease the burden of server management because it provides simplified, logical views of complicated storage and network systems. Server virtualization can ensure more efficient deployment of IT resources - according to our forecasts, virtualization can improve server usage by 80 per cent."

The Solution

It was clear CSI would find greater efficiency in a more virtualized server infrastructure. However, important questions remained:

• How can CSI ensure that server virtualization efforts would not affect the functionality, performance and reliability of the company’s applications?

• What kinds of application servers should and can be virtualized?

• Are there conflicts or interference in housing certain applications within the same server?

After an extensive review of products and solution providers available in the market, CSI selected Fujitsu's line of servers. In particular, the company chose Fujitsu's PRIMERGY BX620 blade servers due to its product quality, which delivered enhanced processing power and memory and greater storage capacity - all the while easier to use and maintain.

"CSI chose Fujitsu over other companies due to a variety of reasons, but we felt that the company displayed leadership in server virtualization innovations and fully reflected our needs," said Mr. Chan. "Fujitsu has extensive experience in Intel-based servers, and the servers were very easy to use and manage. Furthermore, we found the PRIMERGY BX620 blade servers to have much lower power consumption with an efficient heat dissipation design; this was important to us as it ensured greater reliability."

In addition to technical hardware advantages over similar products currently in the market, Fujitsu has also developed a close partnership with VMware, a leader in virtual infrastructure technology. Fujitsu is one of the few VMware's Authorized Consulting partners in Hong Kong, and has worked with the company in the planning and implementation of the solution for CSI. As part of CSI's total investment, VMware's ESX servers were also acquired to operate in conjunction with the PRIMERGY BX620, ultimately allowing CSI to virtualize up to 15 servers in three 'physical' blade servers in one single chassis.

"As the appointed total solutions provider, CSI was confident that Fujitsu's partnership with VMware would deliver the results we needed," said Mr. Chan. "From installing the hardware, to setting up the entire virtualization environment, we were impressed by the in-depth server virtualization knowledge of Fujitsu's VMware certified professionals. The project proceeded very smoothly and no major problems were encountered."

As a result of deploying both Fujitsu and VMware solutions, CSI was able to remove 15 servers from its hardware room, allowing them to release rack spaces; reduce power consumption as well as cost of ownership. This produced greater efficiencies in hardware ownership, as well as on-going monitoring and maintenance.

The Benefits

With careful planning and design, not to mention smooth project implementation and deployment, phase I of CSI's server infrastructure upgrade has just been completed. Currently as it stands, the company is beginning to see benefits.

"With deployment only recently completed, we have been unable to identify quantifiable returns as yet," continued Mr. Chan. "However, based on our initial forecasts, we are predicting a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in bills, space rental and server administration and maintenance costs - once all improvements are made."

More importantly, however, will be the intangible returns as a result of this implementation. "These new enhancements will not affect the way our company does business - it is rather a means to improve the operations of our IT infrastructure."

While CSI will experience reduced system down times, much faster system recovery and quicker maintenance checks, many of its employees might not notice dramatic changes. However, what will be apparent is that overall, system performance and availability will be raised which makes the jobs of the company's employees easier and smoother. Furthermore, such improvements to CSI's IT infrastructure will allow them to fully capitalize on any growth and expansion plans the company may face in 2007 and beyond.

CSI is currently working with Fujitsu on planning for phase II of the server virtualization project. More PRIMERGY blade servers are planned, and Fujitsu will continue to play a key role in acting as the total solutions provider for the company.