IBM WebSphere User Group: Impact 2011 recap: Monitoring low-latency middleware at Barclays Capital using WebSphere DataPower

Impact 2011 recap: Monitoring low-latency middleware at Barclays Capital using WebSphere DataPower.

By The Global WebSphere Community

At Impact 2011 a few weeks ago, Stephen Neal, Director and Global Head of Middleware at Barclays Capital spoke about his experiences monitoring low-latency middleware at Barclays. Here are some of the highlights of Stephen's remarks.

In today’s business climate, it has never been more important to leverage technology to drive effective, intra-day risk management systems.

At Barclays Capital, there is a need to support a middleware footprint across more than 32 offices worldwide employing more than 25,000 people. This footprint is supported by about 7,300 technologists in 19 countries. Some technology teams at Barclays are business-aligned while others provide shared services across all asset classes and business areas.

Middleware is classified into two categories within Barclays Capital – a base layer of communication middleware that handles lower level messaging and a higher layer of integration middleware that handles application and data integration technologies. The integration middleware layer drives business value from the communication middleware by getting accurate, actionable information from real time events occurring at the lower levels.

Barclays Middleware Challenge
Barclays middleware needs to be flexible enough to handle acquisitions and other changes in scale. Of course, when there are changes in scale and liquidity in the markets, risk factors are heightened – so Barclays needs increased stability during these periods.

Stricter regulatory guidelines also demand more control in the middleware platform. Basle III has had a major impact on risk and compliance systems and has highlighted the need for intra-day risk management in the finance industry. The UK’s Independent Commission on Banking has proposed reforms in response to financial crises. Finally, there is an even greater emphasis on data security in the financial services industry – mostly in the form of controlling data access rights to head off illegal activity and fraud.

The Advent of the Appliance
Barclays selected appliance-based middleware technology to support their business imperatives because of the compelling cost-benefit compared to software-based middleware. Barclays uses the Solace Systems 3260 Content Router and the IBM DataPower XM70 for content-based routing, message transformation, protocol switching and low latency messaging.

As Barclays engages in data center consolidation, the Solace Systems 3260 Content Router and the IBM DataPower XM70 preempts bottlenecks to avoid outages as the concentration of messaging becomes greater and risks become heightened. Data center consolidation also allows for VPN partitioning, improved utilization and with blade-based technology scalability can be increased without requiring additional cabinet space.

Appliances also allow for more application mobility and elasticity as demand on the middleware platform scales up and down. It is easier to move applications and objects from one place to another in the overall IT infrastructure. Finally, enterprise monitoring helps provide an end-to-end and integrated view of the global appliance estate.

Nastel AutoPilot
Barclays Capital is one firm which selected Nastel AutoPilot as its middleware monitoring product. AutoPilot is used to address the following concerns:

  • A need to remove legacy and build a middleware platform to last
  • Establish a consistent way to manage a high number of technologies in the communication middleware tier
  • Deployment of monitoring tools to manage the estate

AutoPilot supports business growth through regional AutoPilot managers that provide a high speed caching tier to improve overall efficiency within the private cloud environment. This reduces the risk of adding additional load and therefore instability to the environment in the event of an outage.

AutoPilot provides a single security model across all users that features password resets, default systems accounts, re-certification in the system, monitoring, and logging.

In data center consolidation, AutoPilot provides real time management of past, present and expected volumes on the appliances managing the communication middleware environment. AutoPilot also flexes to support dynamic business requirements.

Future Plans

There is a trend toward “zero latency”.

Barclays is also looking to extend capabilities across the global appliance estate, improving self-service, extending monitoring into the integration middleware stack, providing tighter integration with monitoring of management systems, getting more value from Complex Event Processing to enhance decision support, and using Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) to predict past experiences based on real-time data. In addition they plan to add transaction monitoring for end-to-end trade lifecycle management, stitched transaction flow and in depth performance management.