CDSL Overcomes Platform Shift At Breakneck Speed

by Hinesh Jethwani    Jun 17, 2004

Central Depository Services (India) Ltd. (CDSL) is in the process of wrapping up a path breaking platform migration project, that required 500 systems, spread all across the country, to move from the now unsupported Windows NT, to Windows 2000/XP.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Pramod Deshpande, VP-IT said, “Since Windows NT support has been deactivated by Microsoft, we had to migrate to either Windows 2000 or XP. A similar task undertaken by any depository services provider would have taken at least two years to complete. We have managed to convert 85 % of our systems in around six months time, and the project is expected to finish this month.”

“After all systems are successfully migrated, I can breathe easy for at least the next three years, until the next version of Windows is released,” said Deshpande.

Explaining his dilemma - a situation often faced by CTOs but hardly discussed in the open - Deshpande explained, “How do you push 500 mission critical clients mapped across the country to a completely new platform, if the applications do not have the capability to support higher versions? It becomes a highly complicated issue, and there’s more to it than meets the eye. The task of migration may seem trivial, but the issue that compounds it is the fact that you just cannot shut down critical applications, unless you want to invite the risks of being sued. A massive change like this also severely affects both system performance and stability.”

Applications at CDSL run on .Net and VB at the front end, and the platform migration left many functions hanging.

“The project has pushed my relationship with my system administrators across the country to the limit. There are still a lot of follow-ups to be done, and I have issued deadlines to various departments for ensuring that the project completes on time. It needs to be finished within the stipulated time limit, even if it involves going to the extent of imposing penalties on those that lag behind schedule,” said Deshpande.

Reminiscing old times, Deshpande recollected his past experience with Bank of India, where he spent ten solid years handling the IT infrastructure on Novell Netware and Cobolt Btreive. “Those systems worked beautifully for over a decade, but now with high speed technology growth, migration issues crop up every two years,” lamented Deshpande.

“During the migration process, many runtime errors are creeping up. At some places, old DLL files are there but the new ones are missing. This is a vicious cycle that no one would like to get into. Fortunately, things are under control now,” explained Deshpande.

So how will CDSL benefit from the Herculean platform jump? Deshpande replied, “An inherent benefit is that with the new platform shift, the hardware will obviously need to be upgraded. It will allow us to speed up our systems to match the new software.”

CDSL is a depository service provider promoted by the Mumbai Stock Exchange (more popularly know as BSE).

Tags: CDSL