Case Study

CITIC Securities – Offer System

China’s largest full-service investment bank prevents offer system downtime using the Stratus® ftServer® continuous availability solution

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, CITIC Securities Co., Ltd. is China’s largest full-service investment bank. The company offers securities brokerage, trading and underwriting, as well as investment banking, asset management, wealth management, and investment advisory services. Established in 1995, CITIC Securities was listed for trading on Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2003 and 2011 respectively. Through the years, the company has earned a strong brand reputation in the domestic market, winning accolades and awards from respected institutions including Asiamoney, Financial Times, Forbes, and the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges.

The challenge

As part of CITIC Securities’ comprehensive trading system infrastructure, the offer system engages in bi-directional, real-time reporting with the China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Ltd. (CSDC), a non-profit corporation that provides registration, clearing, and settlement services for securities listed in the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The offer system communicates with the CSDC through the following gateway systems:

  • PROP Gateway: provides real-time reporting services for day-to-day business such as account-based and financing transactions. At the close of business, it receives end-of day service updates including the Shanghai market settlement, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect settlement, and the Yimatong unified brokerage account system data.
  • DCOM Gateway: provides real-time reporting services for quote repurchases, transfer financing, margin trading, short selling, initial public offerings, and more. At the end of the business day, it receives settlement data from the Shenzhen market and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect.

Because CITIC Securities depends on these critical communication gateways for its ongoing trading and business operations, the company needed to eliminate any single point of failure that could result in offer system downtime. That’s why IT leaders set out to find a continuous availability solution that would keep its real-time transaction gateways up and running —24/7/365—for reliable, always-on offer system processing.

The solution

CITIC Securities conducted an in-depth evaluation of best-in-class high availability hardware and software solutions on the market. After rigorous comparison testing, the company selected the Stratus® ftServer 4810 system—a fully integrated hardware, software, and services platform—to keep its communications gateways up and running without risk of downtime or transaction data loss. The company deployed two ftServer systems running Windows Server and SQL Server—one for the PROP Gateway and another for the DCOM Gateway—in its Beijing data center.

Every fault-tolerant ftServer system is made up of two identical customer replaceable units (CRU)—each with its own processors, memory, and storage—packaged as a single system for reduced licensing costs and simplified management. Redundant field programmable gate arrays, data paths, and lockstep firmware provide the processor syncrhonization, data replication, and logic needed for continuous availability, even in the event of a hardware component failure. Therefore, if a component in one CRU encounters a problem, the gateway applications will keep running on the other CRU—without in interruption—for seamless communications with the CDSC.

This unique fault-tolerant design keeps CITIC Securities’ gateway applications running smoothly with reliable file downloads— even through transient errors and power spikes that would take down other x86 systems. Because the ftServer systems prevent downtime from occurring rather than just recovering from it, the company can rest assured that all transactions are processed and the integrity of both committed and in-flight data is fully protected.

The high-performance ftServer system is the ideal continuous availability solution for the fast-paced securities industry, where system downtime and data loss can create significant financial and compliance risk. Plus, the system is easy to deploy, operate, maintain, and manage—without the high cost and complexity associated with other high availability solutions—eliminating the need to modify applications or networks to achieve always-on gateway communications.

“The high-performance ftServer system is the ideal continuous availability solution for the fast-paced securities industry, where system downtime and data loss can create significant financial and compliance risk.”
Li Xiaolong 黎小龙
Lixl@citics.com 核心交易系统运维经理
Core Trading System Maintenance Manager
CISAI Tech

The results

Since deploying the ftServer systems in April 2019, CITIC Securities has experienced zero downtime of its PROP and DCOM gateways, resulting in zero data loss and zero file corruption. The ftServer systems not only protect against customer losses associated with trading system downtime, but they also enable the company to meet the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s strict requirements for high system availability.

The ftServer’s fast, easy deployment allowed CITIC Securities to achieve instant continuous availability without having to make changes to applications or write complicated failover scripts. In addition, the platform’s operational simplicity— delivered via self-monitoring hardware, automated parts replacement, and customer replaceable subsystems—saves time and money, while freeing the company’s IT staff to focus on other strategic priorities.

With the ftServer systems removing any single point of failure in its business-critical PROP and DCOM gateways, CITIC Securities is able to maintain high performance and continuous availability of its trading offer system for satisfied customers and sustained growth.

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