SunGard, a global leader in software and technology services, wanted to help a Swedish bank adapt to changes in the financial marketplace. The bank anticipated a rapidly increasing volume of transactions and data as a result of a new NASDAQ trading
system. First, the bank migrated from Sybase to a Microsoft solution. Then, SunGard partnered with Microsoft to optimize its Front Arena trading and position management solution with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. The Microsoft and SunGard teams helped the
customer implement best practices that would ensure future scalability. The bank is confident that it can meet future challenges with its trading and position management solution and has already increased throughput by 40 percent. Together, SunGard and Microsoft
continue to enhance an end-to-end trading and position management solution to meet current and future performance challenges.
Based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, SunGard is a global leader in software and technology services. SunGard Front Arena, its flagship product in the financial services sector, is an enterprisewide, cross-asset trading system that brings transparency to the entire
trading organization, from trading via position control and risk management until settlement.
||Banks expect trading volumes in the financial markets to increase significantly.…To meet that challenge, SunGard and Microsoft helped the bank understand its current system better, as well as how to scale out the solution.
| Nils Undén
Chief Product Owner – Platform
SunGard designed the solution to help traders stay competitive in today's marketplace—a situation that poses technical as well as business challenges. “We are moving from manual processes to automated trading, and the deregulated trading environment has increased
the number of execution venues,” says Nils Undén, Chief Architect and Chief Product Owner - Platform of the Front Arena Business Unit at SunGard. “These changes have resulted in a huge increase in data flow.”
To adapt to the ever-changing financial marketplace, traders need to constantly keep up with their technology infrastructure. “Trading systems need to be re-architected if traders have any chance of keeping up with the increase in data and transactions,”
says Undén. “You cannot say ‘no thank you’ to these changes—you have to face them.”
For example, Swedish banks were challenged when the NASDAQ OMX Group launched the world’s fastest trading system in the Nordic cash and fixed-income derivatives market in October 2010. The new system, which provides sub-100 microseconds latency and throughput
of more than 1 million messages per second, would also be offered to commercial exchanges around the world. To keep up with the anticipated growth in data and transactions, a Stockholm-based bank wanted to ensure that its mission-critical Front Arena infrastructure
was optimized for throughput and scalability. Undén says, “The bank was running Front Arena with a Sybase solution, and they were concerned about the trading system upgrade and our software’s ability to withstand the high volumes.”
To improve performance, the bank decided to migrate from Sybase to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise software running on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system. Unlike Sybase, SQL Server 2008 R2 also includes built-in capabilities that
reduce cost of ownership, including high-availability and disaster- recovery features.
The solution worked well, but it was just a preliminary step. SunGard continued to look for more ways to improve the scalability of the bank’s Front Arena infrastructure.
SunGard and Microsoft performed benchmark tests at the Microsoft Platform Adoption Center in Redmond, Washington. The goal was to simulate an enterprise-class financial workload on industry-standard hardware and compare an out-of-the-box implementation of
SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with an optimized solution. The team measured a typical throughput of exchange trades through the Arena Market Access Server, which handles two-way traffic in an exchange. It also tested position management throughput of the Arena
Message Broker Adapter, which processes incoming messages and stores them as trades in the Arena Data Model database.
After optimization, the team achieved more than 160,000 message inserts per second for the exchange trade performance instead of the more typical 30,000 message inserts per second. Position management performance showed similar results, with a typical range
of 200 to 400 trade inserts per second, increasing to more than 1,000 per second.
To offer its customer similar benefits, SunGard proposed using the same approach to optimization with the bank’s internal infrastructure. Then, teams from Microsoft, SunGard, and the bank met in a lab at the customer’s headquarters in Stockholm. After verifying
the Redmond benchmarks, the teams fine-tuned the solution and gained a further increase in throughput. Then SunGard and Microsoft created a best-practices approach that the bank could use to optimize its entire trading infrastructure. “We looked at this as
an end-to-end solution,” Undén says, “We knew that we couldn’t get ongoing performance benefits just by tweaking our own application. Instead, we looked at ways of scaling that also included databases, networks, and storage disks.”
SunGard reports that three factors came together holistically to contribute to the success of the project:
- In-depth expertise from the Microsoft team on SQL Server, including how to fine-tune the solution
- Front Arena product knowledge from SunGard, including capabilities that take advantage of core features in SQL Server
- The customer’s unique requirements for deploying Front Arena in a production environment
When the project was complete, the bank was ready to move forward. “One crucial component of our success is the training and skill transfer that the SunGard and Microsoft team provided to the customer,” says Undén. “As a result, the customer was empowered
to evolve the solution on its own after the on-site session was over.”
Equipped with a new management strategy, the bank immediately eliminated a performance bottleneck and exceeded the throughput achieved in the lab. The Microsoft and SunGard team also helped the bank plan for future scenarios, so that it can independently
scale out its solution architecture as trading volumes increase.
SunGard and Microsoft strengthened the customer’s confidence by helping it improve scalability through a better understanding of its Front Arena and SQL Server 2008 R2 solution. The team optimized the solution to improve throughput and continues to build
best practices through a strong partnership.
Strengthens Customer Confidence with Improved Scalability
||If you work closely with your partners, you can achieve great things. And I think our joint venture with Microsoft already provides concrete examples of that.
| Nils Undén
Chief Product Owner – Platform
With an optimized trade management solution, the bank is confident that it can handle increased automation and an ever-expanding flow of data and transactions. “Many banks expect trading volumes in the financial market to increase significantly in the
coming years” says Undén. “To meet that challenge, SunGard and Microsoft helped the bank understand its current system better, as well as how to scale out the solution going forward.”
Increases Throughput by 40 Percent
By working together on an end-to-end solution tailored for its customer’s environment, SunGard and Microsoft achieved a significant improvement over previous benchmark tests. “We demonstrated the value of carefully tuning SunGard Front Arena 2.2 with
SQL Server 2008 R2 in the lab and then again at the customer’s site,” says Konstantin Dotchkoff, Partner Technology Advisor at Microsoft. “By identifying ways to optimize the solution, we increased throughput by 40 percent.”
The bank is continuing to make improvements on its own. “The customer reported that, based on the knowledge gained from Microsoft and SunGard in the lab, it was able to test storage system settings and gain a 600 percent increase in throughput in one of
the work streams,” says Dotchkoff. “So we know the bank is prepared for future increases in workload.”
Builds Best Practices Through a Strong Partnership
SunGard looks forward to continuing to build best practices through its strong partnership with Microsoft. “We successfully improved throughput in the database tier, and we’ll continue to look at all aspects of the system,” says Undén. “If you work closely
with your partners, you can achieve great things. And I think our joint venture with Microsoft already provides concrete examples of that.”
SunGard intends to take a similar collaborative approach with Front Arena and SQL Server 2012. “This will be an ongoing process,” says Undén. “To meet increasingly difficult performance requirements today and in the future, SunGard and Microsoft need to
work together as a team and integrate the entire spectrum of platforms and applications.”
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