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Financial regulators use AWS’s cloud to analyse 75 billion trades daily

Brandon Butler | Dec. 14, 2016
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is going all in on Amazon’s cloud

-Don’t lift and shift: Instead, rewrite and replatform applications for the cloud so they can take full advantage of the opportunity.

FINRA uses a full gamut of Amazon cloud services: From EC2 virtual machines to the Elastic Container Service and Lambda for computing; Virtual Private Cloud, Route 53 and Direct Connect for networking; data services such as DynamoDB, Relational Database Service (RDS), Simple Storage Service (S3), Glacier and Elastic Block Storage (EBS); security tools like the Key Management Service (KMS), Identity and Access Management (IAM); and app features like Simple Que Service (SQS) and Simple Notification Service (SNS), among others.

Using the cloud has reduced costs, allowed FINRA to get rid of proprietary infrastructure and has allowed the organization to leverage massive processing and storage at large scale and commodity costs, Randich says. The system has a 400X improvement in interactive queries compared to the previous platform, he added. “It (was like) researching something and only being able to do a few Google searches a day, it’s impossible,” he says. “Now we can do these things in seconds and subseconds.”

FINRA can better absorb “flash-crashes” and other extreme market events by automatically spinning up tens of thousands of nodes momentarily and then taking them offline, “without generally being aware of it until after it's happened and we review the logs.” In 2015 Randich said he came to the realization that cybersecurity was better in the cloud than in on-premises environments. “It’s allowed us to achieve freedom from the proprietary database vendors that were warning us,” not to use the cloud, he said.

 

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