FICO: Reducing time to market and cutting costs with Red Hat software

We can tell you how OpenStack can help financial services companies become more competitive, cut costs, boost product development and even lift the bottom line. But sometimes it’s better to let someone else tell you. FICO—the predictive analytics and decision management software company that determines credit ratings—says it has reduced time to market by 50 percent and lowered costs by 30 percent since moving to an OpenStack cloud infrastructure. The financial services firm has deployed Red Hat software, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, Red Hat CloudForms, and Red Hat Ceph Storage.

Here’s what Nick Gerasimatos, cloud development director at FICO, had to say (he’s quoted in this Red Hat press release): “With Red Hat’s OpenStack on Cisco UCS and Ceph, we’ve been able to create an elastic scalable infrastructure that delivers all of the benefits of cloud – speed of innovation, agility, the ability to deliver Software-as-a-Service – but with the ability to securely manage our resources in a private datacenter. This gives us the cloud platform we need to create FICO’s offerings, but with control of our data, workloads, compliance and security.”

FICO wanted to move away from its legacy proprietary-based infrastructure and chose OpenStack to achieve more flexibility and agility. It tested various OpenStack-based offerings and decided on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Cisco Nexus Series Switches.  Cisco’s reference architecture on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and previous UCS deployment within FICO allowed for a smooth transition to the new infrastructure.

FICO has global data centers running more than 10,000 containers and virtual machines. To help manage this vast cloud environment FICO replaced its proprietary software deployment with Red Hat CloudForms, an open management platform that provides orchestration, governance and policy-based control across hybrid clouds. CloudForms enables self-service provisioning and resource management, as well as quota enforcement, metering, and chargeback. It also gives FICO “single pane of glass” management over its private and public clouds.

FICO deployed Red Hat Ceph Storage for its enterprise distributed shared storage to support data volumes reaching into the petabytes. Red Hat Ceph Storage provided the object storage capabilities that FICO was looking for, and is also tightly integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. All told, the solution has delivered a 60 percent cost savings over FICO’s previous storage solution.

We’ve covered FICO a few times in the Red Hat Vertical Industries blog. For example, the company was a Red Hat 2015 Innovation Award recipient (by the way, nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Innovation Award). And in this video on our blog, you can learn about The FICO Analytic Cloud, which gives application developers, business users, and FICO partners one-stop access to FICO’s analytics and decision management tools and technology, including SaaS applications for social and mobile customer engagement, marketing campaign development, account management, and credit decisions.

FICO uses OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat’s private PaaS, so it can build analytic applications and run them in its cloud architecture, and FICO says it has reduced the time to value by up to 70 percent compared to its legacy software. With OpenShift Enterprise, FICO customers can create hybrid cloud solutions using the FICO Decision Management Platform and deploy those solutions both hosted and on-premises.

We’re starting to see more financial services companies implement open source in their operations for similar reasons as FICO: they want to cut costs, create efficiencies and foster innovation and faster time to market. Is this your story? Let us know in the comments section below!

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