Severalnines supports major bank’s private DBaaS strategy, handling over 3000+ database instances

After spinning off from Barclay’s, ABSA needed to reduce costs and streamline its hybrid database infrastructure. ClusterControl helped them harness open-source by automating database ops from a single pane of glass.

Industry Banking
Technologies MariaDB, MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis
Hosting On-premise, AWS, Azure
Datacenters 3
Products ClusterControl


Formerly of Barclays, ABSA Group Limited is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups, serving 12 countries with 42,000 employees. As such, they collect and process massive amounts of data used by credit scoring systems and retail and corporate banking services. Unfortunately, the infrastructure supporting their operations was proprietary, expensive, and underperforming. So ABSA initiated a digital transformation in 2017 to reduce costs, but more importantly, gain ownership over their infrastructure.


They wanted to migrate their massive Oracle, SQL Server, and DB2 stack to an open-source one consisting of MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Redis hosted in a hybrid setup. Such scale required an automation suite that could serve as one control plane for their databases hosted in their private data centers, AWS and Azure. It also needed to comply with stringent security requirements and local regulations.

After the vendor of their initial solution went defunct in 2019, ABSA was forced to look for an alternative with little notice. Even worse, the majority of the available solutions provided limited to no functionality for fully automated database management. Kevin Naik, ABSAs Head of DBaaS explains:

“We found that many solutions focus on EC2/compute instance provisioning on top of which you can deploy an open-source database stack but they’re missing the management layer, which would not be sufficient for us to dynamically deliver database services to internal and external customers, especially given our scale.”

Despite the shortage of options, they were able to find a handful of potential solutions, including ClusterControl.


ClusterControl enabled us to build automation around the platform for self-service provision while being able to determine the patterns of deployments consistently without DBA involvement.

Kevin Naik, Head of DBaaS

In relatively short order, ABSA’s team determined that ClusterControl was the only solution that could provide the feature set for ABSA to confidently manage their 3,000+ database nodes. Naik details, “Not only could ClusterControl handle database deployment and serve as the management layer, but it also provides additional features such as auto-failover and automated backups which very few alternatives supplied.”

From how ClusterControl handles failover to its monitoring and alerting capabilities, the AI-driven automation platform provides ABSA “peace of mind as to the availability and performance of our databases after deployment,” offering its end users a consolidated, intuitive, and performant platform to provision databases.


ClusterControl became central to ABSA’s private DBaaS strategy for a few key reasons:

  • Full lifecycle database automation: ClusterControl serves as a dedicated, always-on virtual DBA responsible for provisioning, management, and monitoring of their database infrastructure.
  • Improved resource allocation: Using ClusterControl to manage their opensource database stack has allowed ABSA to invest in its staff rather than expensive recurrent enterprise software licensing.
  • Ready workflow integration: ABSA leveraged ClusterControl’s APIs and tools to build their own DBaaS by integrating with their existing enterprise cloud platforms used for provisioning infrastructure.
  • Seamless hybrid ops: ClusterControl allows ABSA to transparently manage databases across local data centers and public cloud environments from a single control plane.

In sum? ClusterControl has empowered ABSA to regain control of their infrastructure using open-source.



A hybrid database strategy

ABSA splits application workloads between its own data centers and the public cloud to meet regulatory and performance requirements, operating over 3,000 database instances.


Supported by open-source

To reduce costs and vendor lock-in, ABSA decided to replace proprietary solutions such as Oracle SQL Server with open-source alternatives like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Redis, but they needed help with operations.


Operationalized with ClusterControl

ClusterControl empowers them to take control of their database tier with open-source technology by providing them a platform that delivers consistent, reliable database operations.

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