Mergermarket uses all-flash to deliver news as it breaks

Financial newswire uses all-flash arrays to make sure alerts with the latest information reaches subscribers in a snap, making sure they never have to make a deal based on out-of-date information.

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Financial newswire Mergermarket has invested in all-flash storage arrays to make sure alerts with the latest information reaches subscribers in a snap.

Principal advisory firms, investment banks, law firms, hedge funds, private equity firms and corporations subscribe to Mergermarket’s products to receive news and financial results as they break through websites, email newsletters or RSS feeds. Most enterprises will use Mergermarkets information for timely decision making, so speedy delivery is imperative.

Rakesh Patel, head of IT infrastructure at The Mergermarket Group, said: “The email content and generation is handled entirely in house, so having efficient and fast infrastructure is key to this process. We have seen significant improvements in email generation and delivery since using flash as all of our backend systems use large databases which are hosted on Pure Storage.”

Mergermarkets implemented all-flash arrays after Patel’s team began to virtualise 400 machines in its new VMware virtual environment. When it came to bringing a virtualised machine online, speed became an issue. With no performance testing, Patel said that it was hard to gauge what exactly the application needed, so it deployed Fusion-io flash cards for the database tier.

Further, a mixture of three different contracts - for EMC arrays, FusionIO flash cards and Dell DAS units from three separate vendors became problematic as maintenance and renewal cost quotes spiralled.

Patel said: “Our architecture is not designed to be like Facebook and Apple, they scale out. We cannot do that. Our architecture is very reliant on certain key systems – if they go down everything goes offline, we needed something reliable and with good performance. To throw drives behind that environment was not cost effective with the power and cooling that entails.”

Mergermarket had 13 racks in one datacentre when Patel knew that only two or three were necessary. Compared with the industry average storage spend of £1,500-£2,000 per month, the centre was struck with costs of approximately £26,000.

Benefits

With the all-flash arrays Mergermarkets has saved money and time, as monthly reports from Pure Storage takes time off the IT team’s hands. “I don’t want my guys fiddling around with storage all day”, Patel added.

“Another area where we have seen improvements is website loading times. These have been cut by between 10 to 30 percent since deploying Pure Storage and this directly benefits subscribers as they don’t have to wait for webpages to load.

“As part of our development process we refresh our development farms daily. This involves taking snapshots of live data, shrinking it and then restoring it to multiple development servers. This process used to take more than 12 hours overnight. Now we can refresh our environments in four hours. We are looking to reduce this even further with the new replication technology Pure Storage has rolled out.”

Mergermarket believes the streamlined development process means they will be able to roll out updates to our products much faster, benefitting subscribers to products, including financial newswires and analytics applications Mergermarket, Debtwire, Dealreporter, Xportreporter and Parr-Global.

The Financial Times-owned company was sold to BC Partners, a private equity firm for £382 million in cash, it was announced at the close of last year.

Flash start-up Pure Storage, which is in fisticuffs with EMC over intellectual property rights, unveiled its entry-level and high capacity array in London last week.

The storage newcomer has raised around £200 million pounds in funding – the highest amount of any storage company, it claims. The latest round of funding was led by public investors rather than venture capitalists, including Tiger management.

The storage company has hit headlines over ongoing legal issues with EMC, but Patel dismissed the troubles as “handbags”. He said the controversy was to “divert attention” from the all-flash boom and didn’t affect his position as a customer.

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