AFTAs 2016: Best Infrastructure Initiative—Northern Trust

Northern Trust wins best infrastructure initiative, one of three award wins for the custodian at the 2016 AFTAs.

best-infrastructure-initiative-northern-trust

Northern Trust has been one of the mainstays of the American Financial Technology Awards over the years. The Chicago-based custodian completed a hat-trick at this year’s event, winning the best technology executive (buy side), the best global deployment, and the best infrastructure initiative categories to build on its history of success at this event.

The best infrastructure initiative category has historically changed hands year-on-year and Northern Trust last won it back in 2014 for its project where it developed an Apache Hadoop-based log analytics system.

Previous winners in this category also include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ITG and Convergex. This time, Northern Trust impressed the Waters judges with its efforts to update its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), as the custodian sought to replace its existing systems.

Northern Trust’s legacy VDI environment, built on a traditional blade/storage area network architecture, meant that managing performance and scalability was becoming an overly complex task, requiring multiple siloed technology teams.

In response, Northern Trust teamed up with California-based infrastructure vendor Nutanix to introduce new additional commodity server hardware built on solid-state drives (SSD), based on the vendor’s technology, which provides compute, network and storage capabilities in an appliance-like model and linear scale. This hyper-converged infrastructure has provided Northern Trust with improved response times for applications by storing active data on the SSD tier.

Institutions across the capital markets are seeking to reduce operating costs and associated burdens, and Northern Trust has realized a number of efficiencies through the implementation of its new VDI.

Institutions across the capital markets are seeking to reduce operating costs and associated burdens, and Northern Trust has realized a number of efficiencies through the implementation of its new VDI.

The institution has already realized some significant savings: a 50 percent reduction in five-year total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to a “do nothing” scenario costing approximately $6 million; a 50 percent cost reduction per virtual desktop; an 80 percent reduction in incident tickets that have led to increased experience and productivity; and a 30 percent reduction in power consumption.

The new VDI has also improved disaster recovery failover capabilities for Northern Trust through a 70 percent reduction in recovery time objectives, reduced time to market, and faster scalability.

So far, 6,000 Northern Trust personnel have migrated to the new VDI, mainly across the Asia-Pacific region, and access various applications from datacenters throughout the UK and North America. The custodian continues its cost-reduction drive across the Asia-Pacific region and is preparing to roll out the technology across its other regions, too.

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