Momentum Metropolitan improves balance sheet performance by migrating and upgrading Murex MX.3 on AWS in just 9 months

Executive Summary

To access new innovations and functionality, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited (Momentum Metropolitan) upgraded, migrated Murex MX.3, and replatformed its ecosystem on AWS in 9 months.

Migrating MX.3 to AWS alleviated an investment in on-premises hardware and eliminated the risk of over-and under-provisioning Momentum Metropolitan’s on-premises environment. Because it chose AWS for the migration, Momentum Metropolitan now has on-demand infrastructure for risk calculations, which provides the agility to address market volatility and improve balance sheet performance. The performance and capacity of Murex MX.3 on AWS is now five times higher for the same TCO. End of day risk analytics processes are now completed within 20% of the previous calculation time and are more accurate.

On-premise challenge: Estimate the infrastructure needed to upgrade MX.3 and accelerate the run time of complex risk analytics processes

MX.3 provides extensive risk modeling and analytics that helps Momentum Metropolitan position its portfolios appropriately. In 2018, Momentum Metropolitan started planning for a significant upgrade from MX.3 v3.1.28 to 3.1.41. Predicting the capacity required for upgrading MX.3 on-premises was complex and carried the risk of under- or over-provisioning hardware, resulting in extended timelines or wasted expenditure.

Momentum Metropolitan needed the elasticity to run compute-intensive risk analytics and reporting processes, such as liability matching, on demand, with improved accuracy. Lengthy end-of-day batch runs can eat into trading time and can cause costly missed opportunities. To address these challenges, Momentum Metropolitan decided to upgrade and migrate MX.3 to AWS, along with replatforming its ecosystem on AWS, rather than doing a straightforward lift and shift.

“On AWS, we have the processing agility and capacity to use more model points in our risk calculations and we can model over longer periods, giving us improved confidence over our near-term results. This has a measurable impact on our balance sheet portfolio risk posture and performance.”

- Stephen Jones, Head of Group Finance and BSM IT, Momentum Metropolitan

Solution: Upgrade and Migrate MX.3 to AWS to match capacity with demand

Matching resources to demand over time was key to rapidly respond to changing business conditions. Therefore, Momentum Metropolitan decided to upgrade and migrate MX.3 to AWS at the same time, with the support of Murex partner Elenjical Solutions. Momentum Metropolitan is a pioneer in the move to AWS in EMEA and has managed, together with the assistance of Elenjical Solutions and Murex, to upgrade and migrate the Murex MX.3 platform to AWS in a single 9-month project.

The core AWS solutions included Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), with a broad range of instance types and configurations to match almost any workload requirements, and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for Oracle, which simplifies data management and offers multiple AWS Availability Zone replication for resiliency. Momentum Metropolitan also selected Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Workspaces, and Amazon CloudWatch. Outside of the Murex project, Momentum Metropolitan used Amazon Aurora for its in-house Apache Airflow scheduling configuration and AWS Lambda for serverless distribution of market data.

Stephen Jones, the head of group finance and BSM IT at Momentum Metropolitan, emphasized AWS was the right platform for the project. “I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when they approach cloud is they assume their costs are going to all come from compute. That simply isn't the case. There are so many different storage technologies available that match to particular use cases, but it comes down to performance and costs and matching different storage platforms to the workload. AWS had the right tool for the right job that enabled us to optimize in this area,” said Jones.

Outcomes and results: Upgrade, migrate, and replatform on time and on budget

The decision to upgrade and migrate the MX.3 platform to AWS at the same time yielded benefits during the project. Momentum Metropolitan ran its test and development environments on Amazon EC2, making use of its elasticity and the low management overhead of Amazon RDS, added new open-source tools, decommissioned third-party tools, and fully tested everything. This flexibility helped Momentum Metropolitan complete the project on time and on budget, delivering greater speed and agility, along with the following results and outcomes.

Working with Murex, Elenjical Solutions and AWS, Momentum Metropolitan completed the upgrade, migration and replatforming of the MX.3 ecosystem in just nine months. With an on-premises upgrade, there was no guarantee that planning could drive accuracy or reduce the risk of over- or under-provisioning. The on-demand provisioning provided by Amazon EC2, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), and Amazon RDS as Momentum Metropolitan ran their test and dev environments enabled them to build as many environments as needed and take them down afterwards.

“We considered 9 months as the expected duration for this upgrade, assuming the infrastructure would be ready on-time. In an on-premises set-up this is rarely the case, so it is 9 months plus the time spent waiting for the infrastructure. The adoption of AWS negated this dependency; the infrastructure was available when we needed it, and that's big,” said Arnaud de Chavagnac, Head of Cloud, Technology and Services Marketing at Murex.

“The fact that Momentum Metropolitan performed the MX.3 upgrade and cloud migration in parallel is compelling and was possible thanks to the flexibility provided by AWS. The project was delivered on time and on budget.”

- Arnaud de Chavagnac, Head Of Cloud, Technology and Services Marketing, Murex

5x the capacity and performance with the same TCO

Momentum Metropolitan turned everything on in production in one weekend before the pandemic. Since the release, capacity and performance are five times greater with the same TCO, because they made use of Amazon EC2 and storage services like Amazon S3. Also, the performance improvements delivered by AWS helped Momentum Metropolitan address the even greater volatility caused by the pandemic in a market that normally swings as much as 10% a day, compared to 1-3% in the U.S. and Europe.

End-of-day risk analytics and reporting processes are now 5 times faster

The adoption of AWS has removed the on-premises infrastructure capacity constraints for the end-of-day risk analytics and reporting processes run by MX.3, these are now completed 5 times faster. Primary risk calculations are executed daily, down from once a week, and liability matching is more accurate. With these and other improvements, along with the on-demand infrastructure provisioning of Amazon EC2, Momentum Metropolitan has gained the business agility to respond to and hedge against its volatile market, while increasing its competitive advantage. Momentum Metropolitan also added some new capabilities along the way, using tools such as AWS Lambda and Amazon Aurora.

The capability for employees to work from home – in less than 24 hours

In March 2020, South Africa went on lockdown due to the pandemic. Like many companies, Momentum Metropolitan needed to adjust its operating model. Momentum Metropolitan employees perform complex financial tasks, use confidential data, and communicate with external partners and customers, so setting up the ability for them to accomplish the same work from home required technology adjustments. Thanks to Amazon Workspaces, a managed, secure desktop as a service solution, work from home was enabled in less than 24 hours instead of the 2 months originally estimated.

Disaster recovery time that beats recovery time objectives (RTO)

As part of the replatforming, the Momentum Metropolitan cloud infrastructure has been categorically documented, and it can repeat deployment processes.

“We can leverage DevOps-type approaches to infrastructure to recreate our environments in whichever regions or availability zones we choose. We can reprovision our MX.3 environment and comfortably achieve the RTO set by the business,” said Jones.

The infrastructure-as-code, high-availability, and disaster recovery aspects of AWS, including Amazon RDS Multi-AZ and fast recovery from EBS snapshots, have enabled Momentum Metropolitan to recreate environments across AWS Availability Zones or regions, reducing business risk.

Important cloud migration lessons learned

One of the lessons learned during the migration project was that executive support is essential. “You need a top-down mandate,” said Jones. Another critical lesson is that lift-and-shift will not drive desired benefits. “To take full advantage of a cloud migration you need to embrace infrastructure as code, set aggressive goals, and bring the right team who can drive these results,” Jones explained. “You need your ‘A-team’ and AWS.”

Momentum Metropolitan

About Momentum Metropolitan

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited is a South-African-based financial services group listed on the Johannesburg and Namibian Stock Exchange.

About Murex

Murex designs, develops, implements, and evolves integrated trading, risk management, processing, and post-trade solutions across asset classes with its MX.3 platform.

Published June 2021