HSBC is switching to IT configuration software from Adaptiva worldwide. The OneSite software is expected to allow the London-based bank to distribute new software to users immediately, without the need for dedicated servers or increased bandwidth.

Deepak Kumar, Adaptiva's founder and chief technology officer, says OneSite can deploy software to thousands of client machines from one server. Since it can detect unused network bandwidth, new applications can be deployed during peak hours.

The software also creates a microcloud within each network location, and combines unused disk space into virtual SANs, accommodating the extra storage required by new applications.

"If you have a large, mission-critical application you want to send out, usually you would send it out on the weekend or at night," Kumar says. "With OneSite, you can send it when you want, in real time, because we automatically harvest bandwidth that's not being used."

The $2.7 trillion-asset HSBC has 6,600 offices in more than 81 countries. It has more than 340,000 computers in its worldwide infrastructure.

"Keeping all the IT services up and running, all the banking apps running, and Windows itself up and running and secure means sending a lot of software out continuously to these machines," Kumar says. "Every month there are Windows patches, app updates and whatnot for business applications."

HSBC plans to use OneSite to deploy new applications, upgrade applications and send patches for Windows and other programs.

"Say Office 2013 comes out and it contains new features," Kumar says. "They will use OneSite to deploy Office 2013 across the network."

OneSite's use of a peer-to-peer content distribution network means it doesn't require dedicated servers.

A bank with, for instance, 15,000 locations wouldn't need 15,000 OneSite servers; it could use a handful of servers in major cities. "Say the bank is introducing a new financial product that requires an application that's 100 megabytes in size," Kumar says. "That needs to be installed wherever that product is being marketed. This will allow you to rapidly deploy services for that financial product."

HSBC is switching from Nomad, an IT configuration from a British company called 1E that has been running on 200 servers across the bank.

According to Kumar, HSBC bank chose Adaptiva's technology for its adaptive protocol (that ability to detect and harvest unused bandwidth); its peer-to-peer distribution capability, which means it can repurpose those 200 servers; and PXE, a component of OneSite that provisions new machines in the event of a computer breaking.

"This is important - bank machines break, and you can't be out of action," Kumar says. "You can use the BXE technology to bring a brand new image up in 20-30 minutes."

HSBC currently uses Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to deploy applications, security patches and operating systems. OneSite is compatible with this Microsoft product.

The return on investment is expected to come from not needing to upgrade network bandwidth worldwide and avoiding the cost of buying and managing servers.

The list price of OneSite is $15 per managed client plus an annual maintenance fee that includes customer support.

"I found it very impressive," Kumar says, "that HSBC decided to move worldwide with peer to peer."

"Banks hate peer to peer," he says. "HSBC did a very extensive proof of concept many times. It chose cutting-edge technologies on a massive scale."