Case Study

Banking Corporation: F5 Validation Testing

Proof of concept quickly validates ultra-low latency capabilities of F5 load balancing solution to secure competitive market position for large multinational bank

Supporting low-lATENCY, global transactions

In order to remain competitive, financial institutions must increasingly offer customers more online and mobile services without slowing down the speed of their day-to-day operations. As banks work to keep up with digital transformation trends, they also demand ultra-low latency protocols for instantly delivering these secure banking services.

A global Banking Corporation wanted to introduce a load balancing solution into their network environment to provide increased resiliency and security for the electronic trading taking place online and through their mobile application. With a load balancer, the Bank can ensure the reliability of their online services and mobile app by monitoring the status of the applications and only sending requests to servers that can quickly respond.

The Bank operates in different pools of liquidity throughout the world, including the London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, the Montréal Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. In order to perform the Bank’s current scale of trade, quoting, settlements and other electronic trading activities, any technology that is introduced into the critical path of connectivity needs to include a fixed low latency protocol, meaning it won’t affect the speed of traffic entering the application colocations.

F5’s application delivery services would offer the needed security and resiliency when responding to the organization’s large amount of financial traffic. Before introducing F5’s architecture, however, the Bank needed validation that their load balancing solution would meet the need for resiliency without impacting the Bank’s transaction speed.

F5 testing in the Advanced Technology Center

The proposed F5 BIG-IP platform consisted of 10350v, running advanced protocols and FIX licensing – offering load balancing services at an ultra-low latency of four to six microseconds once the FIX session is established.

This type of infrastructure testing would take the Bank up to 18 months to complete, tying up internal resources or draining the budget if outsourced to various companies. Using WWT’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) Lab-as-a-Service (LaaS) offering, along with our vast testing expertise, they were able to certify the new technology much faster using dedicated hardware that mimicked their production environment.

To perform the solution validation, ATC engineers created the proposed architecture in our testing environment. The core of this environment was the F5 Big-IP platform, supported by Nexus 3K switching and IXIA traffic generation hardware.

Our extensive investment in IXIA traffic generating hardware allowed us to simulate the Bank’s electronic trading environment and replicate their daily operations. The solution’s latency impact was validated within microseconds and F5’s technology also passed all tests performed for software stability within the mobile application.

Accelerated digital strategy

Through lab testing services in the ATC, we offered the Bank a quicker time to market for implementing the network load balancing solution and ensured it wouldn’t impact the necessary speed of banking transactions. Their 18-month certification process was cut almost in half, saving them time and money in validating F5’s cutting-edge technology.

With F5 introduced in the critical path, the organization can now take advantage of offerings across F5’s entire portfolio without impacting latency, allowing them to provide new network features with a strengthened level of connectivity and security.