HDFC Securities Ramps Up IT Systems For Faster Online Trading

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 16, 2014


One of the leading e-brokerage companies in India, HDFC Securities (subsidiary of HDFC Bank) offers an online trading platform for its investors, where they can make trades through the internet and mobile services. The platform is a major line of business for the company generating nearly 80% of its annual revenue.

The firm however was facing unique challenges owing to its legacy systems and consequently needed to ensure high availability for its online trading platform to support the rapidly growing customer base and daily transaction load.

The challenges

“Our legacy servers and storage systems did not meet service-level agreements and could not scale to support projected growth. The platform experienced large I/O bottlenecks and significant response time delays, which negatively impacted the customer experience,” Vivek Joshi, CTO, HDFC Securities says explaining that in a highly time-sensitive trading environment, this could cause direct financial losses to investors and penalize the company for breaching regulatory requirements, as well as tarnishing its brand in the financial industry.

The company was also looking to avoid a single point of failure and could save data center costs. “Earlier we had a redundant environment with 25 legacy servers and two storage systems for the online trading platform. Half of these servers were used as the primary system and the second half used as redundant systems in the event of failure,” says Joshi.

He explains the challenges faced with the legacy environment, where it took 30 minutes for the switchover, which was not acceptable. “It caused performance degradation and posed a significant risk to our business,” Joshi says.

In addition, the legacy architecture had numerous failure points that continued to multiply as the company added servers and storage to support growth. Downtime increased, as well, and it became complicated, costly, and time-consuming for IT staff to fix problems in so many areas.

Of the other challenges, our specialized risk management team took 30 minutes to generate up to 100 risk-exposure reports each day, evaluating them was becoming a cumbersome task, informs Joshi, who was desperate in finding the right technology partner to meet business needs. 

Finding the right partner

It was then that after several rounds of evaluation the financial security firm zeroed in on Oracle. HDFC Securities decided to consolidate its legacy infrastructure onto a single Oracle SuperCluster engineered system for its extreme performance, single vendor support, simplified system management, and clear roadmap.

“We chose Oracle SuperCluster over other vendors, as it was a perfect fit for our time-sensitive business, in which every second is critical. We were very impressed with its extreme performance and built-in redundancy.

In April 2013, HDFC Securities completed consolidating 25 servers and two storage systems into a single Oracle SuperCluster and ensured a highly available, scalable, and secure online trading platform in a business where fractions of a second matter. The firm engaged Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to assist with the implementation and migration.

“We had worked with Tata Consultancy Services for years, and the team was involved in every step of the implementation to ensure smooth operations. Tata Consultancy Services’ IT experts combined with Oracle’s technology enabled us to provide the highest online trading service to our customers and support our growth,” Joshi said.

A positive outcome

After implementing Oracle SuperCluster, the first thing HDFC Securities noticed was zero downtime during trading hours. The system has no single point of failure, as it comes with an automatic application failover and recovery feature. The company also deployed an Active Data Guard software in the disaster recovery site. “This enabled us to achieve extreme performance and ensure a highly available online trading platform to meet the time-critical requirements of the financial market,” says Joshi.

Without any points of failure, IT staff can now focus on strategic projects rather than fixing issues in the legacy environment. For example, HDFC Securities is planning to roll out a new service—online advisor—to improve customer service efficiency and quality. IT staff can now spend time on this project and provide more creative ideas for new initiatives.

HDFC Securities’ legacy IT infrastructure occupied six racks that each required 30 square feet of floor space in the data center, spanning 180 square feet of hosting area.  “We integrated servers, storage, networking, and software technologies into a single box and consolidated from six racks to one rack,” says Joshi with a tint of joy. he explains, as such, we required only one sixth of the data center floor center space needed previously, reduced administration overhead, and significantly decreased energy consumption, which not only cut our electricity costs, but also reduced carbon footprint.

In terms of risk management too, the company now have an edge “We can confidently deliver the reports within 10 minutes, as against a long time earlier. Faster reporting time also enabled the team to make more consistent and accurate assessments of our risks and reduced business and compliance issues,” Joshi said.

Finally, Joshi believes the single vendor support now provides seamless integration. he exaplains that earlier, HDFC Securities had multiple vendors for servers, storage, and networking. It was time-consuming to manage and maintain multiple vendor systems and coordinate with each vendor to resolve issues. 

According to Joshi, the company accelerated throughput performance by 3x, increased online trading speed by up to 60%, produced reports 67% faster, improved risk management, and cut data center costs. Joshi asserts that the company can now easily process more than 200,000 daily trade transactions at peak hours and has achieved sub-second response times for more than 10,000 concurrent users. 

“When customers want to trade, they can trade. Our staff can also confidently commit to our customers because they know they can deliver,” says Joshi enthusiastically.