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Financial trader bets on hyper-converged from Nutanix

London Capital Group ditches server-plus-SAN architecture for Nutanix and slashes deployment times and datacentre footprint with hyper-converged server/storage boxes with VMware

Financial trading tools provider London Capital Group (LCG) has ditched its traditional server-plus-SAN IT systems and replaced them with hyper-converged infrastructure from Nutanix.

LCG operates from its Knightsbridge HQ with 130 employees, and has sites in Israel and Poland. It runs core internal applications plus financial trading platforms that customers access via the internet.

About 18 months ago, its IT infrastructure – comprising HP blade servers plus Dell EqualLogic and HP Proliant shared storage – had reached end of life and maintenance periods, said CIO Blair Wright.

Also, the infrastructure had grown organically and was over-complex, while the storage was nearing capacity, he said. “Things were just bolted on and not a lot of thought had gone into how the system had scaled.”

Initially, Wright and his team looked at replicating the traditional server/storage infrastructure, but eventually opted for hyper-converged infrastructure.

Hyper-converged products combine compute and storage in one box with virtualisation capability. They have emerged in recent years as competition to discrete server and storage products. Key suppliers include Nutanix, Scale Computing, Simplivity and VMware’s EVO:Rail.

“We were under a very tight deadline to get the technical underpinning of the business on a solid foundation as soon as possible,” said Wright.

“If we had gone down the route of Cisco UCS servers and networking with external storage, we were looking at a lead time of around six months. But with Nutanix, we did not need to build a storage team and the timeframe to deliver and deploy it was a lot quicker. We got it running in just over two months.”

Read more on hyper-converged infrastructure

  • Hyperscale computing and storage are the norm for web giants. Hyper-converged scenarios make it possible for small and medium-sized enterprises to gain the advantages of combined server/storage nodes.
  • Hyper-converged storage/compute poses a threat to standalone SAN/NAS in the datacentre.

Now LCG is 100% Nutanix. It has deployed 11 nodes with a total storage capacity of 278TB and is running 28 VMware virtual machines. Physical footprint has been reduced by 60% compared with the existing server-plus-SAN architecture.

Wright considered using Nutanix’s own AHV hypervisor but rejected that option when it procured the systems 14 months ago.

“It was very early days at the time and AHV was not sufficiently developed, so we went for VMware as we also wanted to use NSX [network virtualisation],” said Wright. “We didn’t want too many risks in one go and the feature set at the time was not quite there. We will be looking at AHV with keen interest going forward, though.”

Read more on Virtualisation software