Inside B&K Securities’ IT transformation with HCI

Taking a leaf out of Mukesh Mehta’s book - IT leaders can easily adopt a high-end software driven approach, without sending the CFO into a panic attack. 

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For technology leaders, innovation is not a destination. It’s an evolving and dynamic journey.

The general idea is – if something isn’t broken, why fix it? But certain players are now moving beyond the ‘fix it’ phase to adopt futuristic systems for their organization. 

The Mumbai-headquartered Institutional broking firm B&K securities has taken the leap towards hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), enabled by Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mukesh Mehta and his team.

Breaking bottlenecks

HCI is the new kid on the block that is outshining traditional and converged infrastructure models in the enterprise. It allows for a simple and hassle free datacentre infrastructure by integrating server, storage and virtualization – into one platform. 

That sounds great, but why did B&K need a software defined approach? “At the trading floor, the execution-world talks in nano seconds. In such a scenario, the trading platforms need to be backed up with advanced infrastructure,” explains Mukesh Mehta, CTO, B&K Securities. 

... Be careful of focusing too much on brands. If the VM hypervisor requires extensive configurations for deployment, it will probably be useless in the end.
Mukesh Mehta
CTO, B&K Securities

An institutional broking house generally handles lakhs of trades (in numbers, not value) every day with an added complexity of managing multiple setups and vendors. Earlier, the company was on traditional IT and faced bottlenecks everywhere, says Mehta. 

Initially, areas such as warranty, components, products and software became complicated. And later, individual downtime, dependencies, scalability and management of multiple consoles became a snag. 

Software driven – And loving it 

B&K Securities is the first institutional broking house in the country to run its trading platforms (Algo and HFT) on HCI, points out Mehta. His team successfully migrated 48 VMs within 6-8 weeks, and 40U of rack space is now rejigged to just 2U.

The IT operation revamp led to process automation, which allowed few team members to focus on other critical areas such as information security instead of routine IT-operations. 

“Post migration to the new infrastructure, trade execution was improved substantially, and dealers are now able to visualize the significant improvement in it (with respect to latency) during peak market hours,” highlights Mehta. 

HCI comes with its usual gifts. Now, there is a single console to manage all layers – dashboard, VMs and storage. Hosts, controllers and CPU memory utilization has been made easy, as well as the real time monitoring of various alerts and checks. 

“Post migration to the new infrastructure, trade execution was improved substantially, and dealers are now able to visualize the significant improvement in it (with respect to latency) during peak market hours.”

The biggest reason why HCI is the right match for B&K perhaps lies in the fundamental nature of the technology. Traditional infra takes months of planning before it can be installed. Whereas, with HCI, the solution can be customized and set up accordingly within days or even hours, explains Mehta. 

HCI bandwagon: Do’s and don’ts 

While HCI seems like the go-to choice for enterprises looking at infrastructure transformation, IT leaders must be aware of certain caveats. 

Just like what HCI does for your infra – keeps it simple, it is important for IT teams not to get caught up in the web of HCI complexity. 

For instance, a hypervisor is a critical part of hyperconverged infrastructure. “However, be careful of focusing too much on brands. If the VM hypervisor requires extensive configurations for deployment, it will probably be useless in the end,” explains Mehta.

Hypervisor can greatly add to the cost of HCI implementations, and licensing can get expensive. 

So unless there is a complex case, IT leaders should look at standard configurations for HCI deployments, he points out. Most importantly, it is about how the system consumes resources than how they are delivered. 

The bottomline is that IT teams need to choose wisely, understand their infrastructure needs and assess accordingly.
 
Taking a leaf out of Mukesh Mehta’s book – IT leaders can easily adopt a high-end software driven approach, without sending the CFO into a panic attack.