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Case Study: Daiwa Securities

Daiwa Securities - Japan

Daiwa Securities - Japan System scale 1,200 desktops
Industries Finance
Country / Region Japan

To strengthen business continuity and to adapt to various working styles, Daiwa Securities have introduced 1,200 thin client computers at their company headquarters to form an agile IT infrastructure.

Daiwa Securities is introducing thin client terminals company-wide. In phase one, 100 units were introduced at company headquarters in Otemachi, Tokyo (August 2007). In phase 2, all PCs at company headquarters were replaced by a Virtual PC Center (VPCC) system using US100 thin client terminals. In phase 3, all PCs at 117 branch offices nationwide will be replaced by the thin client system. This switchover will

a. enable IT infrastructure to respond immediately to change,
b. reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO), and
c. strengthen security management and business continuity.

Business environment, Tasks and Implementation aims

Daiwa Securities was searching for a partner to help establish an IT infrastructure capable of responding quickly to changes in the business environment.

Surviving as a viable business depends upon setting up an infrastructure that can respond quickly to change

Daiwa Securities exists in an environment of tempestuous change. As a securities retailer, Daiwa firmly believes that business survival depends upon agility in the face of change.


Koichi Suzuki, Director of Operations & System Planning at Daiwa Securities

According to Koichi Suzuki, Director of Operations & System Planning at Daiwa Securities, "agility in the face of change" must include information technology that can respond quickly to this change. More than a focus on speedy application development, dealing successfully with change requires a thorough review of IT infrastructure. The current infrastructure has been designed for an environment in which each employee "owns" his/her PC and has specific applications installed. Responding to change under such a structure obviously takes a lot of time. By contrast, introducing a centralized system which can be used by any employee, anytime and anywhere makes it easier to respond quickly to change. "In other words, we came to the conclusion that it would be better for the IT infrastructure at Daiwa Securities to be based on thin client terminals and a centrally administered system", says Mr. Suzuki.

A thin client terminal that can be used anytime and anywhere will help speed up many business processes. For example, carrying in a mobile terminal to a meeting can help make the decision-making process more efficient. Terminals that can be used by anyone also help to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) through more efficient maintenance and management.

In addition, you can expect stronger business continuity. For example, suppose a major disturbance heavily damages all office facilities including PCs. Normally in such a case, even if the data center located at a remote location remains operational, it would not be possible to resume smooth office operations immediately. However, introducing a thin client system that can be used anytime and anywhere makes it possible to resume smooth business operations by simply switching terminals.

A Virtual PC- type thin client achieves the same level of performance as a fat client

After deciding to switch to a thin client system, Daiwa Securities began the search for a partner to help achieve that goal. After comparing several products, Daiwa selected NEC's Virtual PC Center and US100 thin client terminal.

There were two reasons for selecting NEC. First, NEC seemed to be forward-looking, and was eager to achieve an infrastructure that is adaptable to change with its partner.

According to Mr. Suzuki, even though NEC has a firm grounding in thin client technology with current products and the development of a new product, the US100, Daiwa wanted to see improvements in cost, ease of use, and other specifications. After Daiwa communicated these requests, NEC set about building a large-scale thin client system tailored to Daiwa's needs.

As a result, NEC developed the SAN boot server and a new server that can handle 30 thin clients – 10 more than the previous type – thereby delivering a system with better stability and ease of use.

The second reason Daiwa selected NEC was the virtual PC technology of its thin client. The Virtual PC Center combines a virtual PC server based on VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure software with a management server based on the SigmaSystemCenter, a central management middleware developed by NEC. In a virtual PC system, individual PC environments are set up and operate on a virtual PC server where it is also possible to automatically allocate CPU resources based on user needs.

"Each employee at Daiwa has individual application needs," says Mr. Suzuki. "And each employee uses specific types of data depending on what it is they do. Under a standard thin client system, all employees must use the same applications. Thus, such a system cannot be implemented at Daiwa. On the other hand, with NEC's Virtual PC Center, it is possible to allocate applications according to the needs of each user. This is an excellent feature."

System overview, Effect of introduction and Outlook

From 'having' a PC to 'using' a thin client. Replacing 10,000 computers by 2011 and expanding future possibilities.

Replacing 1,200 computers with thin clients six months ahead of schedule

Yoshinari Yamada, Planning Section Chief of the System Planning Department at Daiwa Securities.

Daiwa Securities plans to move its headquarters to the north high-rise office building in the Tokyo Station Yaesu area. The move is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2008. Initially, the plan was to gradually introduce the thin client system and to complete the IT infrastructure by April 2008 in parallel with the move. However, it was discovered that the task of replacing computers with thin clients is relatively straightforward and the risk of destroying or leaking data during the transition is low. Daiwa therefore introduced the new system six months ahead of the scheduled move.

"Developing and deploying a system composed of the latest software and hardware six months ahead of schedule is an extraordinary achievement," says Yoshinari Yamada, Planning Section Chief of the System Planning Department at Daiwa Securities. "We truly appreciate the efforts made by NEC."

Through these efforts it has been possible to launch the thin client system as scheduled in November 2007. Completing the deployment of the virtual PC system in advance will make the move to the new headquarters easier, and each employee will be able to use all applications and data as is on the client terminal upon arrival.

Enhancing precision management and user convenience through a thin client system

Introducing a thin client system enables Daiwa Securities to deal more easily with change (e.g. moving headquarters) and to speed up the decision-making process. In addition, the new IT platform reduces TCO and ensures business continuity. Employees using the new system remark that the thin client responds quickly and boots up extremely fast.

"Office productivity has improved because with the US100 an employee can switch off the client mid-task, go home, return to the office the next day, switch on the client and resume his/her task at the same place as on the previous day," says Mr. Yamada. Users also like the US100 for its hard-diskless, fan-less design. It is extremely quiet, and the unit generates little heat, thus making it an eco-friendly IT infrastructure.

The thin client system greatly reduces the time and effort required for maintenance and management. For example, suppose a breakdown occurs on a thin client. In such an event, a user would only have to move to another client to continue working. This means there is no need for the system administrator to rush to the rescue. In addition, all applications are installed by the administrator from the management server depending on the individual user or the group.

In particular, there are significant time savings in terms of security management. A securities company handles a great deal of confidential information. Up until now, a system administrator has had the incredibly time-consuming task of marking each computer that contains sensitive data and clearly identifying each type of content. Since the thin client stores no data, there is no longer a need to manage individual terminals.

According to Mr. Suzuki, NEC's thin client system has the advantages of being able to add video and Voice over IP phone at the proper timing or to quickly switch over to a next-generation network as required.

Daiwa Securities is moving forward with a plan to strengthen its network of 117 offices nationwide and to replace a total of 10,000 PCs with thin clients by 2011.

From owning a client to using a client. In a few years, the PC thin client system, Virtual PC Center, introduced by Daiwa Securities may well become an industry standard in Japan.

From NEC System engineers

Using flexibility and collective strength, NEC built a large-scale thin client system in a short period of time.

In November 2007, Daiwa Securities deployed NEC's Virtual PC Center (VPCC) consisting of 1,200 thin client terminals.

The system design not only involved the building of a thin client environment but also other technologies including servers, storage, networks and virtualization software for total system design. The challenge of building such a large system relied on the cooperation and combined expertise of employees involved with products, infrastructure system integration and system engineering. The collective strength of NEC Group was thus ideally suited to the task.

For sizing analysis under the new server infrastructure, NEC gathered all of the equipment at its headquarters and repeatedly ran system tests. The purpose of these tests was to verify operation stability of the entire system (e.g. server CPU, network, storage capacity) under conditions similar to those of the customer. After setting up an environment to emulate customer conditions, it was possible to operate a test system, collect/analyze data and thereby obtain the best sizing data for the system.

Bringing out maximum performance from the Quad-Core SIGMABLADE

Shigeru Yabe, Project Director of 3rd Financial Systems Division at NEC

From the point of view of business continuity management (BCM), a key factor in building this system was improvement of availability.

Several approaches were considered to improve the availability of the 40 virtual PC servers administering the large-scale thin client environment. After careful thought, it was decided to use a configuration of four series of 10 virtual PC servers each as the best way to avoid physical concentration for reduction of risk. Adopting a flexible approach to a real world problem is integral to the building of a system.

The collective strength and flexibility of NEC Group was given full play in other areas as well; for example, in how system engineers became firmly familiar with the development of Daiwa's current system as well as in how they unified Windows domains and file servers in parallel.


Hakusei Liu, Assistant Manager of 3rd Financial Systems Division at NEC

Along with availability, cost reduction was another key factor.

In the past, high costs have been a major hurdle to the deployment of thin client systems. To improve cost performance, each server was made to handle more clients, thereby lowering the overall cost of the system.

Specifically, each virtual PC server was equipped with a quad-core CPU. This enhancement enables one server to handle 30 virtual PC clients compared to 15 to 20 as in the past. Recent CPU development has focused on increasing the number of cores rather than on improving the clock speed of a single processor. In addition, VMware software works exceptionally well with a multi-core CPU. Thus, there were no difficult technical barriers to building a solid virtual platform.

Meanwhile, one difficulty that was faced was the very tight time schedule. The deployment schedule was pushed forward six months so that deployment of the thin client system could be completed before the customer moved to its new headquarters. The system test at NEC headquarters mentioned earlier has contributed to achievement of this schedule. It was necessary to give full play to the expertise of the project management in order to set up test systems for verifying the customer operating environment in advance.

Relying on a flexible approach to achieve convenience identical to that of a fat client

SigmaSystemCenter A central management software

Various methods were developed to achieve performance identical to that of a fat client (PC).

For example, a fat client has a reset button that you push to turn off the power while a thin client does not. We therefore equipped the thin client terminal with a reset button as software for conveniently turning off the power.

In addition, the SigmaSystemCenter – central management software – plays an important role in administration. This software has easy-to-use functions that respond to the characteristics of Japanese companies for administering the client environment with little effort. As a result, the time required for and cost of management and maintenance was greatly reduced.

Currently, it takes only 15 minutes to add a new client to the system. This is far faster than the time it takes to configure a fat client. A Virtual PC Center enjoys many advantages thanks to this excellent central management software and virtualization technology. For example, it is very easy to migrate the functions of a fat client to a thin client, it is adaptable to any organization's customized configuration and it is easy to raise the level of integration. In particular, a dynamic resource allocation is a significant merit. It is unnecessary to allocate maximum resource utilization to 10,000 individual clients because the system is capable of dynamically allocating computing resources to users. In other words, the larger the scale, the greater the advantages of using a virtual PC thin client system.

The Virtual PC Center clears difficult requirements and sets a high standard as a thin client system. It is certain to become the focus of a great deal of attention in the future.

Company: Daiwa Securities Co., Ltd.
Headquarters 2-6-4 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Establishment: April 26, 1999
Paid-in Capital: 100 billion yen
President & CEO: Shigeharu Suzuki
Overview: Daiwa Securities Co., Ltd. is a retail securities company and a subsidiary of the Daiwa Securities Group, a listed holding company. The aim of the company is to provide innovative financial services that exceed the expectations of customers, businesses, and current industry standards.
URL : http://www.daiwa.jp/