India's NPCI modernises data centres using Kyndryl's cloud services

India's NPCI modernises data centres using Kyndryl's cloud services
Image credit: NPCI

Builds own tech stack.

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National Payments Corporation Of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments has partnered with IT infrastructure services provider Kyndryl to build a resilient and modernised next-generation cloud infrastructure.

The NPCI, a non-profit organisation jointly founded by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA), is establishing data centres as part of its larger objective to create robust payment and settlement infrastructure in India.

It manages payment products like the RuPay card, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) and many more. 

The firm has upgraded its data centres which managed up to 16 billion transactions in January 2023 through Kyndryl's robust cloud services, NPCI said in a statement. 

NPCI’s deputy chief technology officer Shiva Kumar R V told the Bharat Fintech Summit 2023 that the company’s own data centres, operating in India’s southern cities of Chennai and Hyderabad had the capacity to handle up to 50 to 70 billion transactions a month.

“We have significantly enhanced the scale with which we can operate,” he said, while taking about the partnership with Kyndryl. 

As one of the major core development journeys of NPCI on the infrastructure front, Kumar said they perceived the project not just as a data centre migration but as a parallel setup with “impeccable” planning and execution.

TARM Stack

NPCI’s big challenge was to cut down costs and engineer the system for reliability and scalability.

It realised that building a platform for, potentially, over one billion users with commercially available proprietary software would be prohibitively expensive. So it decided to use open-source technologies. 

The firm has built its tech stack from Terraform, an open-source infrastructure-as-code software tool created by HashiCorp, Ansible sponsored by Red Hat to automate IT, github runners and MAAS (metal as a service) from Canonical that offers cloud-style provisioning for physical servers.

NPCI collectively calls this its TARM tech stack powered by Kyndryl to enable data centre migration.  

Kumar said NPCI could successfully reduce cost in the last mile implementation with its own stack in what was planned as an 18-month journey, completed in just four months. 

Speaking on future plans, he added that NPCI is looking forward to optimising its software in such a way that it can work on the least amount of infrastructure.

The firm is likely seen adopting methodologies that will speed up services in the market. “We are now trying to crack the myth that infrastructure cannot be agile,” he concluded. 

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