Indian housing finance company SHFL picks AWS to achieve cost efficiency

Indian housing finance company SHFL picks AWS to achieve cost efficiency
Shriram Capital’s chief technology officer Sendil Kumar Venkatesan

Move to cloud improves disaster recovery processes.

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Indian shadow lender Shriram Housing Finance Limited (SHFL) has embarked on a cloud migration journey with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve disaster recovery and drive cost efficiencies. 

Shriram Capital’s chief technology officer, Sendil Kumar Venkatesan, said SHFL has been able to maintain high availability for mission-critical Windows workloads by migrating to AWS.

“We migrated several mission-critical applications from more than 20 servers,” he said. The migrated applications included core IT operations, mobile, web portals, and finance. 

SHFL provides loans to buy or construct residential spaces. The company, held by Shriram Capital is a part of the Shriram Group, a diverse finance and real-estate conglomerate with over 70,000 employees.

It has been operating with on-premises data centres for its IT needs. The tech teams had looked out for new use cases facilitated on the cloud for SHFL and other divisions including Shriram Automall. It also aimed to improve disaster recovery (DR) with a lower recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).

“We chose AWS for its multi-availability zone architecture and range of cloud–native security tools,” he added. 

The company began its cloud transformation in December 2020 with plans to implement technology to meet customer expectations. It could complete the cloud migration within six months. 

Optimising resources

Apart from the application servers, SHFL runs its Microsoft SQL Server database on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service interface that provides resizable compute capacity in the AWS cloud. It uses AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to manage access to network resources.

SHFL has deployed Amazon FSx, a fully managed third-party file system solution for Windows File Server. It leverages a failover clustering feature within Amazon FSx to reduce storage costs. 

“We could witness RTOs and RPOs drop by 30 percent on the AWS Cloud,” Venkatesan said. 

To ease procurement of Amazon EC2 instances, the company relies on Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), a special type of virtual appliance used to create virtual machines. The firm could preconfigure AMIs it can specify upon launching an instance, thus significantly lowering the time to deploy new resources. 

Venkatesan pointed out that scaling up storage in the data centre was among the major challenges for the firm. It implemented autoscaling to resize underutilised resources in its data centre during peak periods.

Post-migration to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), we could retrieve huge volumes of data within minutes, he explained. 

The lender has also leveraged Amazon GuardDuty for threat detection and Amazon CloudTrail to audit user activity to detect and respond to security incidents.

Following the success of SHFL’s migration, Venkatesan said, Shriram Group has migrated another entity, Shriram Automall, to AWS and is planning to migrate other divisions, with more focus on a hybrid cloud environment.

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