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Less is more

F.Y. Teng | April 16, 2012
Insights of the CTO of HK-based global trading house 8 Securities on the value of the cloud.

Being a believer of the social community, we want to support a very active community of investors and a rich free ecosystem in a cost effective way that benefits our customers.

As a business we want to be able to scale and capitalise quickly on opportunities when the time is right.

As a disruptive enterprise we have continuous innovation in our DNA. We want to be able to pivot and change our mind without being penalised.

From a technical point of view, that translated into the following key strategic decisions:-

* Build a scalable application based on a master/worker design pattern and a no SQL implementation.

* Build an application that is able to leverage the elasticity benefits of the cloud to expand and contract according to our business needs.

* Deploy our application in the cloud to optimise our infrastructure costs and minimise our management overheads.

* Design our application with minimal moving parts in order to handle fast pace of change while minimising the risks of change.

* Implement clear boundaries and demarcation lines between the providers and consumers of services and data.

Give us a timeline from when you conceived your business through actual setup to the present.
Before joining 8 Securities, a colleague-Francis Otshudi, Director of Technology-and I built the first iteration of the trading portal in 2009 based on RIA technology, Web 2.0 principles, aggregation of services/content and with the ability to run and benefit from a cloud deployment in AWS.

In 2010, we built from the ground up our social engine fully integrated with trading.

By the end of 2010, we joined 8 Securities and built together the first iteration of the portal for equity trading in Hong Kong and the US.

Mid-2011, 8 Securities secured its funding. We hired the team and completed the integration of the portal with our execution engine and market data providers in five months. In addition to our live platform, all our development, release and testing environments are hosted in AWS cloud. We launched our product in Hong Kong during late march 2012.

When you started out, what options were you considering for setup, before going with a cloud model?
For the past 13 years, I have been running IT infrastructure and operations for several financial companies-institutional and retail-and have my fair share of horror stories. I have experienced firsthand the limitation of the on premise approach. When we came across AWS three years ago it was like a hallelujah moment. It just made sense. Our application can run on premise but we built it for the cloud. From the word "go" there was no doubt in our minds that a cloud deployment was the best way forward for 8 Securities.


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