It is about speed to outcome and cost efficiency. AWS delivers in spades.
Richard Atkinson Chief Business Development Officer

RoZetta Technology provides big data storage, management, and analytics consultancy and solutions to the financial services sector. The business operated from 2005 as SIRCA Technology, the commercial arm of SIRCA, a private company founded by universities in Australia and New Zealand to collect data and develop financial tools, before changing its name to RoZetta Technology in February 2015.

One of RoZetta Technology's systems is a large financial markets database and data service for clients that runs out of a production data center in Sydney. The system has more than 1,000 core processors and several petabytes of storage across a production data center, and a linked disaster recovery data center in order to provide a resilient infrastructure for clients.

The business found delivering customer services from these data centers presented a range of challenges. To meet peak customer demand, RoZetta Technology had to buy advanced hardware that increased the density of processors running in data center racks. This started to strain the data center power supply and slowed performance, compromising customer service. The business also had problems recruiting IT workers with the skills to administer a traditional data center infrastructure. “The physical infrastructure was expensive to run and complicated to maintain. Margins were eroded by the need to invest capital in hardware to maintain customer satisfaction, and customers were starting to become dissatisfied with performance levels as we struggled to scale to meet demand,” says Richard Atkinson, chief business development officer at RoZetta Technology.

In 2012, RoZetta Technology started evaluating service providers that could run a dynamic compute load at low cost and meet strict security, data sovereignty, and performance criteria. Atkinson says, “At the time of evaluation, there were only a small number of cloud services providers available in Australia. We did consider an alternative provider, but they could not match the elasticity or range of services provided by Amazon Web Services, and there were up front commitments required to utilize their cloud infrastructure.”

RoZetta Technology’s research revealed that AWS could meet its requirements. Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) could enable the business to run customer environments in isolated sections of the AWS cloud and take advantage of features such as security groups and network access control lists. The presence of AWS data centers in Europe and the United States eased the concerns of one multinational client over data sovereignty, and the launch of an AWS data center in Australia in late 2012 solved the problem completely. After conducting several POCs to determine if the business would experience better price/performance in AWS, AWS proved it could consistently provide the performance needed to meet customer requirements.

AWS provides the elasticity to support demand peaks for client services and enables the business to pay only for the infrastructure resources it needed. In addition, the cloud service could easily scale to support rising transaction volumes and demand for RoZetta Technology services.

RoZetta Technology started deploying its first client project in AWS in late 2013 and is now running client projects in separate Amazon VPCs. These projects include a service that extracts company announcements from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in PDF form, undertakes optical character recognition, and delivers this information to Dow Jones for use in its Factiva information platform.

RoZetta Technology uses AWS CloudFormation to create templates for client environments that incorporate core AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for compute resources, Amazon S3 for data storage, Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) for message queueing, Amazon DynamoDB for NoSQL database scalability and performance, and Amazon CloudSearch for search.

AWS has provided RoZetta Technology with sales support in addition to technical support. Technical experts have reviewed and ratified the AWS architectures created by RoZetta Technology’s internal development teams, while AWS sales teams have helped explain to prospective RoZetta Technology clients the value of financial-data-management solutions running in a public cloud. RoZetta Technology is an extensive user of AWS architecture training programs to help its IT team members understand core AWS technologies. Meanwhile, the stability of AWS technologies has meant that AWS Support has acted as an insurance policy for RoZetta Technology, with queries to date limited to minor engineering questions.

The figure below illustrates RoZetta Technology's environment in AWS.


RoZetta Technology has met its critical architecture requirements by using the tools and technologies provided by AWS and can now complement its data center environment with a dynamic, agile cloud-based infrastructure.
Three years ago, RoZetta Technology delivered a project operating on 16 servers, multiple firewalls, and SAS storage in a physical data center. This project costed AU$800,000 in up-front hardware costs. Provisioning was months in the making, requiring specialized skillsets, contract negotiations, long term planning, careful disaster recovery planning, and the integrated task management and careful synchronization of several teams. RoZetta Technology recently delivered its latest AWS based project that consisted of over 40 Amazon EC2 instances accessing over four terabytes of data in various databases including MySQL, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon DynamoDB, with an estimated operating cost of AU$100,000 per year. The core project infrastructure was up and running from scratch in a matter of hours with AWS, and automation of provisioning and release was done in a matter of weeks.

The business is now also sending new applications into production with fewer defects as developers can now use development, testing, and staging environments that effectively mirror the production environments. RoZetta Technology is able to remove the 8 to 12 weeks required to acquire and deploy hardware from project timelines. The business has also gained the flexibility and performance to boost customer satisfaction whilst also reducing its operating costs.

RoZetta Technology and its customers have benefited from near zero downtime, with the business able to complete live upgrades without interrupting user access. Atkinson says, “Implementing AWS has been very positive addressing our need for cost effective, scalable, compute and storage. They deliver what they say they are going to deliver.”

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