Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, August 17, 2022

NCCC Pushes Credit Card Processing With Xeon E7 Processor 

Since its establishment in 1979, the National Credit Card Center (NCCC), the largest credit card processing center in Taiwan, has been working to enhance credit card functionality and services through the application of new technologies. The NCCC handles an enormous volume of business requests, up to several million transactions per day, on tight deadlines. So when it came time to refresh its processing system, the center needed a solution that was fast, stable and easy to maintain. With those attributes in mind, NCCC selected an Intel Xeon processor E7-based platform to build and run its service.

With tasks that run the gamut from credit card processing, domestic liquidation, and collection of bill payments, to bonus calculation and card-related services, the biggest challenge for NCCC was providing timely, reliable data exchange. The information and authorization process must be completed quickly, while ensuring an error-free and secure data transfer. To meet business request demands, NCCC requires a fast and reliable computing system that can handle a high volume of transactions in a timely manner. The system must also include powerful CPUs capable of processing a massive amount of financial information.

To satisfy these requirements, NCCC deployed servers outfitted with Intel Xeon E7 parts along with VMware's vSphere server virtualization stack to enhance utilization. According to the associated case study, Intel's Xeon processor E7 product family was selected for its ability to "maintain stable service for current and future processing requirements with the high-reliability architecture of the data processing system's CPU."

"Intel Xeon processor E7 product family's excellent performance allows real-time credit card transaction data to be processed in a timely way, ensuring a smooth flow and positive overall experience for consumers," notes Wang Xiaohui, senior assistant manager for the Information Service Department National Credit Card Center of the Republic of China.

"For the NCCC, the main work is data processing and exchange. Hence, there are high demands on the performance of the server hardware, mainly because a high-performance system can handle a relatively heavier workload. For our huge trading volume, which can be up to several million transactions per day, saving manpower, time, and management costs is of paramount importance," explained Wang.

When the NCCC considers a new hardware purchase, the CPU is a critically assessed item. The center has a set of predetermined applications that it uses to benchmark prospective devices. The best-performing model is selected to ensure there is sufficient compute power. The testing process also helps verify the stability of the system's operation.

Due to the sensitive nature of credit card processing, stability and reliability are essential. While NCCC is not a bank, its IT systems must comply with the regulations set by the Financial Services Commission. The center reports that its new system has never had any failure that caused the system to shut down.

To boost server utilization and obtain maximum CPU efficiency, NCCC also adopted VMware's vSphere virtualization solution. As part of a technical cooperation contract, Intel and VMware developed instruction-level virtualization technology specifically for NCCC to optimize virtual system performance.

Wang explained that VMware vSphere enables a single physical CPU to execute multiple virtual machines, boosting performance by 50 percent. By achieving a consolidation ratio of 1:6, or one CPU for six virtual machines, NCCC was able to lower its virtual platform licensing costs, increasing its overall return on investment.

The Intel Xeon E7 family is available in variants with 2, 4 and 8 sockets. Last month, Intel rolled out an updated line of E7 processors, aimed at enabling mission critical computing chores and real-time analysis of large data sets. The Xeon E7 v2 parts are designed to support servers with up to 128 sockets and the largest one has 15 cores. Nearly two dozen hardware manufacturers have already signed on to support the platform, including Asus, Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP and Lenovo. On the software side, Microsoft, Pivotal, Red Hat, SAP, Splunk, and Teradata are among the list of partners, while a couple vendors, namely IBM and Oracle, appear on both lists.

About the author: Tiffany Trader

With over a decade’s experience covering the HPC space, Tiffany Trader is one of the preeminent voices reporting on advanced scale computing today.

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