Futures market in China has gone through drastic changes from 2018. With increasing globalization, the competition among the brokers has been growing even fiercer. In 2018, China’s financial watchdogs issued new regulations and policies, bringing both opportunities and challenges to the market. As a double-edged sword, the new regulation makes the industry practice more standard on the one hand, while it enhances the threshold at the same time. Future brokerage business went down as the consequence of all the changes. 

Overall there are over 100 companies in the futures industry, with the business mode focus on providing efficient, stable and cost-effective trade deals and brokerage services. To adjust to the changing market environment, futures brokers must be equipped with solid digital capability to meet with the challenges and the evolving landscape.

While the futures brokers proactively make the changes happen to win the competition, they need to keep the IT infrastructure up as always to be fully geared for the digital transformation journey.

Pain points from the legacy infrastructure system

Due to the incompetency from the legacy IT system, brokers are facing with obstacles and challenges. 

  • First of all, with most of the business applications running on physical machines, the infrastructure of futures brokers is not virtualized to fully leverage the multi-core CPUs and IT resources in general. 
  • Secondly, centralized storage is not only difficult but also expensive to maintain, manage and scale out. 
  • Thirdly, as the physical machines already take most of the rack space, how to maximize the computing power and storage capacity within the limited racks becomes a headache for the IT team.
  • Last but not least, according to the new regulations, the disaster recovery and backup center shall have the same performance as the production center. If the futures brokers build the disaster recovery and backup center with outdated architecture, they need to make huge investments on data center space, racks and servers, which imposes heavier pressure on cost control. 

Under traditional mode, futures brokers have to buy new servers and storage drives whenever there is need to launch a new business application. All the hardware have to go through a long process to deploy, configure and test. However, IT infrastructure need to be in place and flexibly scale out and scale up in line with the business needs.

SmartX HCI builds stable, agile IT system for futures brokers

Hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) is a software defined IT framework that combines storage, computing and networking into a single system on x86 hardware to reduce data center complexity and increase scalability. It is highly responsive to and flexible with business needs, which supports trading, host, OA, development and testing systems, etc. It also enhances the usage of hardware and rack space to become the high-performance, scalable, cost-effective and simple-to-use solution for the enterprises. With HCI, futures brokers will be able to strengthen their competitiveness with new products and services for more client groups. 

As a company dedicated in HCI, SmartX has many customer cases and best practice in finance, insurance, and funds etc. For futures firms, SmartX HCI unleashes the potential of data from the upgraded architecture as well, so as to help them meet with the challenges. SmartX HCI has proven itself for futures companies from the following aspects: 

  • First of all, SmartX HCI is built for virtualization. Aside from its own developed virtualization platform based on KVM, SmartX HCI is also supportive to VMware among others, which enables a fully virtualized environment for enterprises. 
  • Secondly, SmartX HCI integrates the computing, storage and networking maintenance into one single management interface, greatly reducing the complexity and alleviates the manpower of the IT team. 
  • Thirdly, SmartX HCI supports diversified application scenarios with software defined IT resource allocation.
  • Fourthly, SmartX HCI is built on standard x86 server clusters, with high flexibility and scalability. Enterprises are able to purchase the IT hardware based on their demand and deploy within a tight time frame, in case of the high-volume and urgent resources demand arisen from the business teams. 
  • Last but not least, the cost-effective solution meets the needs of compliance and reduces the TCO when talking about the disaster recovery and backup center buildup. 

Success stories from industry leaders

SmartX HCI has been deployed in many leading futures brokers, to support a variety of workloads and applications.

Founder CIFCO Futures, a leading futures broker in China, has deployed mission-critical workload on HCI system. As one of the earliest companies in the market, Founder CIFCO Futures has 31 branch offices all over China. It has now put its financial system history database as well as others on HCI. With this, the company has now run its applications on an efficient and stable infrastructure. The IT team streamlines the management and eases the pressure from system maintenance. With the high scalability, the IT capability has been enhanced to support more businesses and applications for the future.

Minmetals & Jingyi Futures has leveraged SmartX HCI to support the development and testing environment, as well as OA, email systems. The R&D team is now able to deploy and scale up their development and testing system fast and flexibly. IT resources are utilized with better efficiency, less rack space, as well as easier operations and management.

Guotai Junan Futures, one of the Top 3 futures brokerage firms, leverages SmartX HCI to support development and testing applications. As an industry leader, the company is a role model for more futures brokerage firms to utilize HCI for digital transformation.