A10 Networks, a technology leader in application networking, today announced that Saxo Bank is using A10 Thunder Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) to meet the critical transaction processing requirements for its state-of-the-art online trading platform.
Established in 1992, Saxo Bank was one of the first financial institutions to develop an online trading platform that provided ordinary investors with the same tools and market access as the professionals. Over more than two decades, Saxo Bank has grown to become a fully licensed bank in Europe – specialising in trading and investment, supporting an international client base from its headquarters in Copenhagen and a growing network.
At the heart of this process is a dedicated IT infrastructure and development team that delivers a platform offering over 30,000 financial instruments available in over 20 languages that is also white-labelled by more than 100 major financial institutions worldwide. The platform needs to be highly performant, resilient and able to scale to meet volatile trading patterns. In 2014 alone, the platform executed 22.5 million trades worth hundreds of billions of Euros.
“Our platform has thousands of feeds, some of which are updated several times a second and in volatile markets the number of trades can drastically increase,” explains Robert Smith, IT Procurement Manager for Saxo Bank. “It is for this reason that we build our infrastructure with low latency in mind to deal with these vast, changing data flows, and with plenty of headroom to handle spikes without compromising the expected levels of resiliency our business demands.”
Saxo runs a fully redundant infrastructure with full active-active networks, datacenters, switches, servers and applications that are physically separated across geographies and even at the individual sites level. “As we have our own highly skilled in-house technical infrastructure and development team, we can be very exacting when it comes to IT,” says Smith. “For any upgrade or change, we tend to run deep proof of concept and technical evaluation on our beta test environments, then carefully migrate onto live systems using a practiced methodology.”
For Saxo, application traffic management is a vital component and as a predominately Cisco-focused networking environment, the end of support for the vendor’s ACE product prompted a major revaluation. “We had the opportunity to look at the market and choose an application delivery solution based purely on how it compared against our requirements,” says Smith.
Saxo gathered requirements from both its networking and application development teams to generate a vendor shortlist before running an extensive, multi-stage proof of concept (PoC) and evaluation test. “In our beta environment, we ran a number of real-world latency, performance and storm tests and it was clear that A10 easily met our requirements, but with enough headroom to meet the exceptional spikes in traffic,” says Smith. “We were also very impressed by the responsiveness of the support process with every query answered professionally and timely.”
Another major benefit that was proven during the PoC was the SSL offloading capability, which allows the bank to place its critical encryption processes in the dedicated A10 hardware and remove the workload from its application servers. The test comfortably ran tens of thousands of new SSL sessions – even with the 2K encryption keys used to provide deep security for transactions.
“We’re honored that Saxo Bank chose our Thunder ADC solution to manage its state-of-the-art trading platform,” said Sanjay Kapoor, VP of Global Marketing for A10 Networks. “A10 Thunder ADCs provide increased agility, scalability and security to organisations of all sizes, enabling them to meet fast-paced, high-performance demands quickly and efficiently. Additionally, our solutions can be easily integrated using DevOps, while also allowing third-party applications to remotely control server load balancers via our REST-based API.”
Saxo selected multiple active-active pairs of A10 Networks Thunder ADCs, each offering 30 Gbps of Layer 4-7 Intelligence using aFleX scripting throughput with GSLB functionality at each datacentre to ensure the highest levels of reliability and performance. “The entire process has been careful and measured and the test results from running the A10 in our simulated environment have given us the confidence that the Thunder platform will comfortably meet our requirements and help deliver excellent service to our client community,” Smith adds.