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With Kubernetes, China Minsheng Bank Transformed Its Legacy Applications—and Moved into AI, Blockchain, and Big Data

China Minsheng Bank was the country’s first national commercial bank owned primarily by non-government enterprises, so it should come as no surprise that it’s part of CMBC’s culture to be pioneers. “My bank is always leading in technology in the financial area,” says Zhang Li, who is leader of technology for CMBC’s container cloud. Two years ago, that meant “we must also be a leading group in cloud native.”

But all of CMBC’s legacy applications—for example, the core banking system, payment systems, and channel systems—were written in C and Java, using traditional architecture. “We wanted to do distributed applications because in the past we used VMs in our own data center, and that was quite expensive and with low resource utilization rate,” says Zhang. “Our biggest challenge is how to make our traditional legacy applications adaptable to the cloud native environment.”

Zhang believed that Kubernetes was the key to building a cloud native environment, and he worked with Alibaba Cloud to achieve this. Since the beginning of 2019, “they’ve helped us to start our transformation,” says Zhang, “and we also give them feedback so we can help them improve their products and services provided to other industries.”

So far, around 20 applications are running in production on the Kubernetes platform, and 30 new applications are in active development to adopt the Kubernetes platform. “Alibaba Cloud Container Service helps Minsheng Bank embrace the rapid growth of innovative business,” says Eric Li, Senior Architect of Alibaba Cloud Container Service for Kubernetes. Today, applications involving AI, blockchain, and big data analysis are all being built on the platform. 

With the Kubernetes platform, development, operation, and maintenance efficiency has increased by 3x, and resource utilization of CPU and memory has more than doubled. Deployment time has been reduced from hours to minutes. Says Zhang: “For all of our technical departments and the business departments, we think this transformation to a cloud native environment is very critical.”

Read more about CMBC’s cloud native journey in the full case study.