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Posted: 12/7/2012
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Caxton FX Currency Trading Database Hits Maximum Uptime with Hybrid Cloud Solution

Foreign exchange specialist Caxton FX wanted a secure database platform for its trading system, combining real-time replication, reporting services, and data warehouse capabilities. It chose Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise data management software in a hybrid cloud configuration. It uses a cloud-based data centre managed by Microsoft Gold Partner Interoute, with replication to a second physical database at Caxton FX.

Business Needs

Founded in 2001 and with an annual turnover of £700 million, Caxton FX specialises in foreign exchange and international payments transactions, as well as analysis and reports on foreign currency markets. It deals in both large and small transactions—from its prepaid currency cards that offer fee-free travel money to robust hedging strategies for multimillion pound deals.

In a fast-moving business such as foreign exchange, price and service have been the guiding principles that have helped Caxton FX—which is regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority—earn a reputation for excellence in customer care. In this competitive industry, technology is a key driver for both the trading and analytical sides of the business, which need support systems with high levels of performance, availability, and security.

Mark Faithfull, Chief Technology Officer, Caxton FX, says: “We wanted to run all our reports and foreign exchange transactions on a single trading platform, which is up around the clock. For that to work effectively, we needed a database platform for our replacement settlements and a trading system that combined real-time replication, reporting services, and data warehouse capabilities.”

To support its highly experienced foreign exchange analysts, Caxton FX needed a reliable platform through which analysts could create their own self-service business intelligence reports. They needed to use real-time financial data while having the authority to query the data to discover business trends. Faithfull says: “Our aim was to build a solid platform for the future of the organisation.”

Solution

Caxton FX decided to take advice from Microsoft Gold Partner Interoute—formerly Quantix, which is now part of Interoute, the owner of Europe’s largest cloud services platform.

Interoute proposed using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise with Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 to support both the trading side of the business and the analysts. It includes features that will help Caxton FX scale and maintain performance as its business continues to grow and financial markets globalise. SQL Server 2012 runs on standard commodity hardware, providing a low total cost of ownership, and has the capacity to capture and process an increasing number of complex trades.

Julian Boneham, Sales Director, Interoute, says: “We proposed a hybrid solution, running the trading platform in the private cloud at the Interoute Application Management data centre. This involved real-time replication to a second database hosted within the Caxton FX internal cloud infrastructure, which is part of a data warehouse and real-time reporting service. The AlwaysOn feature in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise manages high availability and disaster recovery needs for Caxton FX through a single solution. The system is up all the time.”

In addition, Interoute is designing the new infrastructure to ensure that Caxton FX can deliver the highest levels of security for its currency trading and prepaid currency card clients.

Benefits

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is providing Caxton FX with a reliable, cost-effective, low-maintenance database framework, supporting both process-intensive trades as well as self-service reports for analysts, without experiencing any dip in performance. With reduced licensing, hardware and administration costs, Caxton FX is building a strong business for the future.

Hybrid configuration extends life cycle of IT assets. Caxton FX is benefiting from the additional security of running the trading platform in the private cloud at the Interoute data centre, with real-time replication to a second database hosted within the Caxton FX internal cloud infrastructure. As a result, it has avoided the costs associated with a major infrastructure project, while extending the life cycle of the IT systems already in place.

Licensing model cuts total cost of ownership. Caxton FX has a Microsoft Services Enterprise Agreement for low-cost volume licensing of software, which also includes the Licence Mobility feature of Software Assurance. Faithfull says: “We wanted to take advantage of the new era of cloud computing, while continuing to extract value from our existing IT assets. Licence Mobility helps us extend the value of our server application licences by deploying them on-premises or in the cloud.”

Real-time replication keeps analytics relevant. The real-time replication feature of SQL Server 2012 means Caxton FX can run complex queries and reports on the local reporting instance of the database. It is always up to date and operates without compromising the online transaction processing performance of the trading platform.

Cloud-based service delivers simpler systems management. Running the trading platform in the private cloud at the Interoute data centre with replication to Caxton FX has dramatically improved the resilience of the solution. In addition, there is no increase in IT costs compared to the previous architecture.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 65 employees

Organization Profile

Caxton FX is a privately owned foreign exchange and international payments provider based in London in the United Kingdom. It focuses on foreign exchange deals, online currency transfers, and prepaid currency cards.


Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Vertical Industries
Financial Services

Country/Region
United Kingdom

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Interoute

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