NCDEX Reduces IT Costs, Increases Performance, Standardizes IT Architecture and Achieves 99.99% Uptime Using Red Hat Solutions

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October 23, 2010

Customer: National Commodities & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX)

Geography: APAC
Country: India


Software:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, IBM AIX, Microsoft Windows Server

Hardware:

Stratus Server boxes for the trading systems; IBM Servers (More than 100 in primary datacenter and 30 in disaster recovery site of NCDEX)

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Background:


National Commodities & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) is an online multi-commodity exchange. The shareholders of NCDEX comprise of large national level institutions, large public sector banks and companies such as National Stock Exchange (NSE), and LIC of India amongst others. NCDEX’s core business is to facilitate trading of agricultural commodities, metals, energy and carbon credits. NCDEX is located in Mumbai and offers facilities to its members from approximately 550 centers located throughout India.BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Business Challenge:

When NCDEX was incorporated in 2003, its core business objective was to set up a professionally managed online commodity exchange. It needed to provide a world-class commodity exchange platform for market participants to trade in commodity derivatives.

“Unlike other stock exchanges, NCDEX has trading hours from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the summer and until 11:55 p.m. during winter. So high availability is critical, since trading continues for almost 14 hours,” said Devesh Surana, vice president, Technology, NCDEX. This has forced the exchange to focus on high-availability along with the transaction speed while building its IT infrastructure. “It was critical for our complete IT infrastructure to be designed in such a way so that it has 99.99 percent uptime.”

“Additionally, in our early years of operation, we didn’t want to lock ourselves into any particular technological platform via licenses for our business-critical applications,” said Gopi Krishna, deputy manager, Technology, NCDEX. For this reason NCDEX decided to standardize its business applications on an open architecture to increase flexibility, avoid vendor lock-in and foster business innovations.

SOLUTION

Solution:

Using NSE’s IT infrastructure as a benchmark and with its guidance, NCDEX decided to build its infrastructure of business-critical applications on open source technology solutions to ensure redundancy and failover.

“Red Hat solutions have helped NCDEX to standardize its business-critical applications on an open architecture, cost-effectively, while ensuring 99.99 percent uptime of these applications,” said Surana.

The NCDEX team chose Red Hat as its trusted technology partner. “More importantly, we have experienced excellent performance with Red Hat Enterprise Linux,” said Krishna. “Red Hat is much better than alternatives in terms of its maintenance and updates, which is essential looking at our high-availability needs.” NCDEX started with Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 3 and over the last six years has migrated all of its systems to Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 5.

Today, many of NCDEX’s business-critical applications are standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. “We never faced any major challenge while maintaining these systems and the downtime was nearly eliminated,” said Mr. Surana. “In addition to the support available from Red Hat, we have also developed good in-house expertise on Linux.”

“With Red Hat, it is easier to migrate applications from one version to another,” said Krishna. “The API and ABI (binary) compatibility between versions gives us a high level of confidence. The Red Hat subscription model affords us the flexibility to upgrade based on our maintenance cycles, not vendor-forced refresh cycles.”
“The benefits of using open source make it much easier to fine tune the platform for our requirements, as well as develop applications on this platform,” said Surana.

Recently, the NCDEX internal team successfully implemented open VPN on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform. “The solution is significantly more cost-effective than premier proprietary solutions, very secure and flexible to our needs – not requiring us to depend on proprietary product roadmaps to address our business needs,” said Surana. The other apt use of open source technology is the use of Openfiler, which provides all four protocols- ISCSI, FCP, NFS and CIFS on a standard commodity server, which reduces storage cost by converting a commodity server into an enterprise storage.

BENEFITS

Benefits:

“With Red Hat, we could standardize our critical business applications on open architecture, freeing us from vendor lock-in. It has helped us to choose hardware platforms that deliver flexibility and high performance,” said Surana. “Reliability and ease of maintenance of the Red Hat solutions allows us to predictably scale and manage our infrastructure in a very cost-effective manner.” In short, Red Hat solutions provide NCDEX with lower IT costs, simplified management, reduced systems maintenance and increased performance.

The biggest benefit that NCDEX has achieved with Red Hat solutions is from its ability to provide 99.99 percent uptime. “Systems based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform are very robust and require low overhead. Being open source, it’s much easier to fine tune the platform for our requirements, as well as develop applications on this platform,” said Krishna.

Overall, Red Hat provided NCDEX with enterprise-class solutions at an affordable price without any compromise on performance. “In the near future, we are looking at deploying the Red Hat clustering technology included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. Additionally, we are closely evaluating JBoss Enterprise Application Platform for one of our internal web applications. We have kept Red Hat solutions firmly on our radar for future technological developments at NCDEX,” said Surana. “My ultimate wish is to run our trading engine on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based platform.”

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