As a subsidiary of HDFC Bank, HDFC Securities is a leading financial services firm in India, serving a diverse clientele ranging from retail to institutional investors. The company offers a wide spectrum of financial products and services, such as insurance, portfolio, and equity management to 1.8 million customers from a network of more than 200 branches across 150 cities in India. HDFC Securities is also recognized as an e-brokerage pioneer, offering an online trading platform for its investors, where they can make trades via the internet and mobile services. The online trading platform has become a major line of business for HDFC Securities as it is the largest e-brokerage house in India and generates nearly 80% of the company’s annual revenue.
HDFC Securities needed to ensure high availability for its online trading platform to support the rapidly growing customer base and daily transaction load. The company’s 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. 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.
In November 2012, HDFC Securities consolidated 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 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.
HDFC Securities needed a highly available, scalable, and high-performing online trading platform to ensure providing subsecond customer response times and support its growing business. HDFC Securities has 1.8 million customers, and the company’s projected growth was 15,000 customers a month. It also estimated a 2.5x increase in daily trade transactions and expected to double concurrent users over the next three years.
By using Oracle SuperCluster, HDFC Securities accommodated growth with a 3x increase in throughput performance, thanks to Oracle Exadata Smart Flash Cache. The company also minimized the data bottleneck between the servers and storage system by using Infiniband Networking technology and the increased I/O throughput. The company can now easily process more than 200,000 daily trade transactions at peak hours and has achieved subsecond response times for more than 10,000 concurrent users.
“Oracle SuperCluster was the obvious choice for us. It was the best fit for our time-sensitive business in which 100% uptime is critical for our online trading service. When customers want to trade, they can trade. Our staff can also confidently commit to our customers because they know they can deliver,” said Vivek Joshi, CTO, HDFC Securities.
HDFC Securities built a redundant environment with 25 legacy servers and two storage systems for its 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.
“With the legacy environment, it took 30 minutes for the switchover, and it often failed to complete. For a time-sensitive business, each second is critical, and a 30-minute switchover was not acceptable. It caused performance degradation and posed a significant risk to our business,” Joshi said.
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.
By implementing Oracle SuperCluster engineered systems, HDFC Securities has experienced zero downtime during trading hours since implementation, and the system has no single point of failure, thanks to Oracle SuperCluster’s integrated built-in component redundancy with an automatic application failover and recovery feature. The company also deployed another Oracle SuperCluster and Oracle Active Data Guard software in the disaster recovery site. This enabled the company to achieve extreme performance and ensure a highly available online trading platform to meet the time-critical requirements of the financial market.
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.
“With Oracle SuperCluster, we integrated servers, storage, networking, and software technologies into a single box and consolidated from six racks to one rack. 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,” Joshi said.
With Oracle SuperCluster, HDFC Securities cut trade settlement batch processing time by three hours. It now completes the process in five hours instead of eight hours, finalizing settlement by 9:00 p.m. instead of by midnight.
HDFC Securities’s specialized risk management team previously took 30 minutes to generate up to 100 risk-exposure reports each day. These vital reports evaluate potential trading risks for the company, including clients trading outside their parameters or beyond their means.
“With Oracle SuperCluster, we can confidently deliver the reports within 10 minutes. 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.
Before implementing Oracle SuperCluster, 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.
“We now have a single point of contact and single point of resolution for all the components instead of ending up as an arbitrator for each vendor. It is much easier to resolve issues, saving us time and money,” Joshi said.
HDFC Securities also used Oracle Solaris Cluster to significantly reduce time for patching and minimize unplanned downtime. It enabled the company to provide the highest service levels and uptime for the online trading platform. By seamlessly moving the company’s legacy environment to Oracle SuperCluster, HDFC Securities gained a much faster engineered system to support its expanding securities trading services.
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 SuperClusterover other vendors, as it was the 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. As important, we no longer have a single point of failure, and we boosted our operating efficiency. Our customers can now trade when they want, which is hugely beneficial for our trading services,” Joshi said.
In November 2012, HDFC Securities began to consolidate its legacy IT infrastructure into Oracle SuperCluster. The entire implementation took five months to complete and included installation and testing, as well as migration of Oracle Solaris 11. The new system went live in April 2013.
HDFC Securities completed the initiative on time and within budget. Upon go live, the online trading platform ran flawlessly on Oracle SuperCluster, and staff members completed their duties without problems.
HDFC Securities engaged Oracle partner, Tata Consultancy Services to assist with its Oracle SuperCluster implementation and Oracle Solaris 11 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 SuperCluster technology enabled us to provide the highest online trading service to our customers and support our growth,” Joshi said.