Established in 1993, CARE Ratings Ltd. is one of the leading credit rating agencies in India. The firm has a huge track record of rating companies for almost three decades and played a pivotal role in developing bank debt and capital market instruments, including commercial papers, corporate bonds and debentures, and structured credit. It has emerged as the leading credit rating agency in several rating segments, including manufacturing, infrastructure, and the financial sector, including banks and non-financial services. CARE Ratings is recognised as a knowledge-based company and provides near real-time research on all domestic and global economic developments. CARE Ratings’ wholly-owned subsidiaries include an advisory arm focused on providing advisory and consultancy services and a solutions platform company that provides risk management solutions.
The company’s primary IT infrastructure was hosted in-house with a total of three setups – one each for CARE Ratings, CARE Advisory Research & Training, and CARE Risk Solutions. These on-premise data centers were spread across three locations in Mumbai.
Managing and maintaining these captive data centers was a huge operational challenge for the organisation. Additionally, finding the right skillsets to manage the entire setup added to their complexities.
A Shiju Rawther, Chief Information & Technology Officer, CARE Ratings, points out, “Apart from manageability issues, scalability and agility in terms of uptime, ageing infrastructure, and constant refresh of IT infrastructure were other areas of concern for us. Besides, looking at the critical nature of our work and the data that we possess, we needed tighter security controls to mitigate any threats, which was not possible in a captive data center setup.”
“Managing power was a big challenge. While we had installed UPS for backup, we didn’t have gensets that could hold for long hours. While we didn’t face any issue with the power outage in the past, the management had a clear mandate that the business should not get impacted at any cost. This became a triggering point to collocate our on-premise data center,” highlights Rawther.
Moreover, the pandemic made CARE Ratings look at things differently because reaching out to respective teams to manage the data centers was impossible. “Since we had data centers at three different locations, managing them during the lockdown took a toll on us,” he adds.
All these factors pushed the IT team and management of CARE Ratings to look for a third-party data center and, in the process, consolidate all three setups into one.
In 2020, during October-November, the organisation decided to colocate its on-premise data centers. It was looking for a multi-tenant data center that could help the company gain agility. After carefully evaluating leading data centers in Mumbai, CARE Ratings zeroed in on Yotta as their data center partner.
Many factors worked in favour of Yotta – be it the facility’s location, redundancies from the power perspective, a natural cooling facility, and 15 layers of physical security.
“We found Yotta to be much more efficient and economical than the rest. The infrastructure set up at Yotta is unbeatable in the country. All the other data centers in Mumbai are within the city limits, and it is one of the biggest threats that we can come across. For example, the threat of fiber cut is inevitable in such areas, and the moment it happens, it will disrupt our services. This is very much prevalent in a city like Mumbai. Secondly, all the data centers in the city are difficult to reach at times, as they are located in crowded places, making it tough for customers like us,” adds Rawther.
He further states, “The huge capacity of Yotta NM1 attracted us as well. If we want to expand tomorrow, we need to look at the existing facility’s capacity or the availability of the land to build a new facility within the campus. Apart from this, we were impressed with the skillsets of the Yotta team – both from a network and support structure perspective. We also looked at the goodwill of the Hiranandani Group and the vast experience of Sunil Gupta in setting up quality and scalable data centers. All these factors added weightage towards Yotta.”
It was a complete lift-and-shift migration, organised and managed seamlessly by the Yotta team. The entire migration was well-planned, right from coordination, packing and unpacking of the equipment, transportation, keeping the CARE Ratings’ team informed on the status of the vehicles, servers getting loaded into racks – at every step until completion.
“We initiated the migration during non-business hours, and this is where we had a couple of hours of planned downtime. We had planned everything well in advance, wherein we had created a temporary ‘bubble setup’ in a cloud environment with the Yotta team’s help, which helped us create a backup of our infrastructure. In case of any unforeseen situation, we could have rolled back to the old setup. The best part was that it didn’t require the presence of our team during the migration journey,” explains Rawther.
The entire migration was so meticulously planned that it was completed within half of the estimated time period.
CARE Ratings went live at Yotta NM1 in April 2021. Currently, the organisation hosts close to 35 applications. Out of these, 13 critical ones are accessed by about 6000 active customers, and internal stakeholders consume the rest 22 internal applications.
“We are also in the process of building a new data platform that will be used by minimum 20,000 customers initially. This platform will be hosted at Yotta NM1. At present, close to 5000 customers access this system hosted at Yotta,” says Rawther.
Apart from colocation services, CARE Ratings is also availing managed infrastructure and security services, High-Performance Computing-as-a-Service (HPCaaS) for core applications and databases, and deployed Web Application Firewall (WAF) for Content Delivery Network (CDN), and Privileged Identity Management (PIM) and Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions for the defined and time-based access control of the critical data. Besides, it is currently doing POC of Graphics Workstation Anywhere services for analytics purposes and moving soon.
The organisation is already exploring Yotta’s cloud services. It is slated to adopt them in the coming months. Going forward, they will be availing Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity services at Yotta’s Greater Noida facility, when it goes live.
Post migration to Yotta NM1, CARE Ratings is experiencing multiple benefits – be it high uptime bringing in more flexibility, stability, scalability, and agility. In addition, the access speed has gone up because of the increased bandwidth and no physical security threats. All these parameters are helping the organisation in improvising its customer experience.
Rawther highlights, “We are now free from manageability issues of our captive data centers. The infrastructure team was very relaxed during the second lockdown period and could focus on the core projects. From running three power sources, we are now managing one power source. The skill sets that we would want are readily available from Yotta on a shared basis. Otherwise, hiring a dedicated resource is always a time-consuming and costly process. Moving to Yotta has brought us complete peace of mind.”
While the organisation is currently experiencing considerable cost benefits, it envisages close to 30% of total savings in the next three years.
“From the scalability perspective, we don’t have to worry now. If we have to scale up our business to 2x, we are assured that Yotta’s infrastructure will help us. The expansion of business was not possible in the earlier scenario. Yotta has made it easier to focus on business innovation, as we are free from managing IT infrastructure. By choosing Yotta as our digital infrastructure partner, we can now focus on the key business of ratings and deliveries to the customers,” concludes Rawther.