Fueling Growth in Financial Services with High Performance NVMe Data Storage

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Click to learn more about author Julie Herd.

Every day, new application workloads are being developed for online services, and many companies flounder because they are unable to process growing data volumes at a sufficiently fast pace. Consequently, they may not always make the best and most informed decisions and may be missing out on the opportunity to generate new revenue streams, improve customer satisfaction or spot emerging trends. This is especially true for the financial sector, where the need to process data rapidly depends on access to high speed analytics and the ability to crunch Big Data sets.

The financial services industry has always been ahead of the curve with technology it deploys as it has, in general terms, the funds and business needs to purchase the very latest solutions. Two decades ago, Internet development and large technology investments drove unprecedented advances in technology for financial services. According to PWC, banks spent an estimated $215 billion on IT worldwide in 2014, including hardware, software and overall services, which has only grown since then.

It’s not surprising that, today, many financial sector companies are exploring cutting edge NVMe (non-volatile memory express) storage systems in order to stay ahead of the performance curve and keep profit margins growing.  With lower latency than previous flash storage options, NVMe storage systems enable financial services companies to process their data at high speed, delivering timely (and in some cases real-time) findings from their business analytics software that directly impacts their bottom line.

Real-Time Data Analytics

In Michael Lewis’ book, The Flash Boys, Lewis describes how, in the world of financial trading, large sums of money have been spent to increase network speed by just a couple of milliseconds. This proves how vital speed and reliability is to businesses, where the cost of downtime can translate to lost revenue.  In the financial services industry, downtime can have a dramatic impact on companies, when fast transactions and information can make or break a business.

Real-time data analytics provides a near constant stream of data, which allows for immediate action for events, such as risk management, sales and trades. In finance, real-time analytics are critical to high-speed trading, fraud detection and transactions. Financial institutions that don’t adopt real-time analytics are putting themselves at a disadvantage, by missing out on the ability to make rapid decisions.

In many cases, the analytics environment for financial firms cannot scale with the growth of the dataset, especially if the firm has turned to servers with internal SSDs to meet their need for low latency. Adding more capacity to the existing architecture is extremely expensive and disruptive, which is why many companies are looking to high performance NVMe over fabrics solutions to meet their performance requirements without compromising on reliability, availability or scalability.

Processing Data in High Speed with NVMe Storage

Latency poses a major problem in the world of high-speed analytics and Big Data management. Financial sector data has a limited lifespan and quickly ceases to be relevant or actionable. With this in mind, management of Big Data sets and fast processing of business analytics data is critical as there is a tight time window for extracting the intelligence and then making the accurate decisions. If a financial services company is experiencing high latency with legacy flash storage technology, it can translate to millions of dollars lost in financial trading.

NVMe is a new interface protocol for flash storage, designed to take latency out the data path as it enables an exponential increase in the parallel access to the flash media.  The protocol is very flexible and can be deployed in shared storage systems over any supported high-speed network such as Ethernet, InfiniBand or even legacy Fibre Channel while maintaining the low latency required for real-time workloads.

NVMe storage solutions have shown strong performance in industry standard benchmarks, with the fastest storage solutions performing as fast or even faster than servers with internal NVMe SSDs for financial workloads.  This strong performance has fueled early adoption by financial firms which require very low latency and strong performance. NVMe is on the path to becoming the de facto standard for solid state media. According to G2M Research, the NVMe market will exceed $57 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 95 percent.  

IDC estimates that by 2020, there will be up to 450 billion online business transactions each day. With more automated transactions and trades happening in financial services, high speed data processing is key for the most accurate decision-making.  Investing in high performance NVMe storage behind high speed networks and servers will have a significant impact to delivering smarter and quicker decisions.

Financial firms need to gain business insight, by transforming available data into meaningful, useful and actionable information. Through NVMe storage, financial firms are monetizing data-driven insights and solving challenges in real-time, which ultimately leads to faster growth for businesses and a stronger bottom line.

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