How consolidation helped BSE
its servers did away with BSE's computing woes
BSEs server problems had roots in the organisations
rapid growth over the years. As the organisation grew, server count also went
up. Each department had its own server which led to a situation where server
management and resource utilisation became major concerns.
According to Patankar, Director, IS, Bombay Stock Exchange, One application
needed higher power at a specific time during the day, while the other required
more power at a different point of time (e.g. trading operated during the day
while settlement processes ran at the end of the day after trading). This led
to hardware not being utilised efficiently.
This was the time when BSE started identifying critical applications that had
to be operated from its disaster recovery site. Consolidation of applications
and servers was diagnosed as the cure for BSEs IT ills.
To begin with, server consolidation was undertaken. However, BSE had to sort
out some tangles to get its consolidation right. To cite an example, derivatives
run through the day and we need lot of compute power for that. At the end of
the day, the settlement system requires more power. This is the time when trading
does not happen. So if we keep more CPU power for derivatives, it is going to
waste, Patankar explains.
The Right Stuff
Today the stock exchange uses HP rp8400 servers based on the PA-RISC 8900 CPU
(upgraded from the PA-RISC 8700 CPU used at the initial stage of consolidation)
to resolve the issues that they faced. Two rp8400 servers in cluster mode were
Patankar points out that the benefit of this configuration includes availability
of a local failover and increased uptime of applications. The VPAR tool that
came with the servers was used to create virtual partitions allowing BSE to
allocate CPUs, memory and I/O according to the different application requirements.
At present, BSE has consolidated from 14 to just 2 servers with a fail over.
If a server goes down, the applications fail over to the second server. The
applications were distributed across the two servers.
BSE uses dynamic partitioning so that trading is given the maximum CPU power
during the day. At the end of day, the settlement system gets more power. The
same CPUs that were lying idle earlier are now utilised for various applications
at different points of time. Thus the system is more responsive, hardware costs
are reduced and the hardware is utilised efficiently, Patankar adds. According
to him, the ROI calculation for the servers has been simple. Earlier, BSE used
to have three-year AMCs for its 14 servers. The new rp8400 servers with three-year
warranty were purchased for the cost which was marginally higher of that AMC.
Apart from this, BSE also saved on administration costs because of the changeover.
The new servers are cheaper and easier to manage. In addition, we almost
doubled the power available for each of the applications, Patankar affirms.
BSE also saved in terms of DR because they did not need to buy 14 servers for
a secondary site. Just two servers similar to those deployed at primary site
had to be purchased. Since the organisation was able to reduce the number of
servers at the main site to two, all that was required was replicate the set-up
at the DR site.
Some of our applications required additional capacity
and the same was acquired from HP by using their capacity-on-demand (COD) policy
i.e, additional CPUs are in the system and you pay as you use them. This gives
instant capacity upgrade with little upfront financial outflow, says Patankar.
Patankar summarises benefits of the consolidation
- Reduction in cost
- Higher uptime (local failover available)
- Better manageability
- Lesser administrative costs
- Smaller footprint (space savings)
- Reduction in A/C and electricity charges
- Enabled getting rid of obsolete equipment
- Reduction in AMC costs
- Increase in capacity
With updates from VG