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Pay and Clear Now – EPAY Migration

Published • 04 July 2023

Synthesis was approached by BankservAfrica as a preferred partner of AWS to setup the cloud infrastructure required for the enablement of the EPAY services, an API based product offering as part of its’ first move to modernise the account verification services (AVS) and real time clearing (RTC). The existing AVS and RTC applications historically involved file-based mechanisms, and this engagement enabled the establishment of parallel modernised application components and environments in the cloud. The project started in 2021 as part of BankservAfrica’s modernisation strategy. 

EPAY went live in 2022 in the cloud environment with the account verification and validation background capability along with the real time clearing components which allows the product offering to have the verification checks to allow for the participant banks to process real time payments.  

The core component of the system is called the Tango gateway, and this is still based on premise pending the migration to the cloud. This did not stop the cloud adoption journey since the networking that was developed between the on-premise environment and the cloud was secure to ensure continued business functionality.  

Challenges

The migration of the EPAY system was the first application that BankservAfrica moved to the cloud, and because of this there were many concerns that were raised by the organisation. This ranged from the security concerns related to a production payment system moving to a public cloud, networking, governance, cloud costing, as well as operational concerns related to a system that “cannot go down.” 

The project required expert cloud experience skills to assist BankservAfrica in the move to the cloud.  

Synthesis was able to assist in navigating these challenges with our cloud team collaboratively working with the BankservAfrica team to execute the project by involving cloud engineers, networking and security consultants to assist in the architectural design, and the infrastructure implementation of the EPAY system. 

Solution

AWS was used as a cloud solution to move an application that was based on servers in the data center to an AWS Managed Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). The on-premise databases were swopped out for a managed AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) which provided a greater level of confidence to deliver a service with higher availability times.  

The move to the cloud allowed for the building of API capabilities for the application. This enhanced the offering of the solution by providing a new way to interact with an old system.  

The solution that was deployed allows for the interoperability of the API based system with participant banks that are still using the old messaging system and allows for a seamless communication with the old and the new.  

Results

The application infrastructure was deployed using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) with the chosen language being Terraform. The move to the cloud allowed for the building of multiple environments (development, staging, user acceptance testing, market testing, non-functional requirements and production). These multiple environments as well as code pipelines to deploy the infrastructure enhanced the reliability of the application.  

Utilising the managed infrastructure (EKS, RDS) provides the peace of mind that the backups and patching of the core infrastructure is managed by AWS.  

The move to EKS allows for an application that is capable of scaling which provides greater confidence when compared to on-premise servers that provided this functionality.  

Moving of the database to the RDS provides the functionality of a point in time restoration of the data with minimal effort.  

Moving the EPAY infrastructure into the cloud is one step closer to reduce the dependency on the data center. Given the risks associated with load shedding, and the requirement to run generators to power up the data center – this is just one less application that the BankservAfrica team must be concerned about.  

About BankServAfrica

BankservAfrica is Africa’s leading automated clearing house (ACH) – the transactional link between many of its major payment institutions. In South Africa, BankservAfrica is the banking sector’s long-time trusted clearing partner and official payment system operator (PSO), as authorised by the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA). The organisation ensures increased interoperability between banks in South Africa for decades, reducing risk and producing world-first innovations such as SASWITCH along the way.   

Ends

For more information on the innovative work Synthesis has done for its clients, contact us on 087 654 3300

About Synthesis

Synthesis uses innovative technology solutions to provide businesses with a competitive edge today. Synthesis focuses on banking and financial institutions, retail, healthcare and telecommunications sectors in South Africa and other emerging markets.

In 2017 Capital Appreciation Limited, a JSE-listed Fintech company, acquired 100 percent of Synthesis. Following the acquisition, Synthesis remains an independent operating entity within the Capital Appreciation Group providing Cloud, Digital, Payments and RegTech services as well as corporate learning solutions through the Synthesis Academy.

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