ABN AMRO Clearing: Financial Systems on Postgres Plus

July 22, 2018

ABN AMRO Clearing is a recognized global leader in derivatives and equity clearing and one of the few companies that can offer global market access and clearing services on more than 85 of the world’s financial exchanges. The company operates from 12 locations worldwide and supports more than 16 million trades per day.

Reducing operating costs while ensuring functionality, security and availability are key challenges for organizations today and ABN AMRO Clearing is no exception. To reduce costs, the company instituted a global policy to use open source solutions wherever it’s feasible. The freedom from vendor lock-in that comes from using open source was attractive too. The company builds many of its applications in-house. 

High costs and vendor lock-in prompted the infrastructure architects to consider alternatives for the database. That led the team to open source-based Postgres Plus Advanced Server from EnterpriseDB (EDB) and a relationship that has expanded in recent years along with the Postgres footprint at ABN AMRO.

Open Source-Based Solution

In 2006, as open source software emerged as a priority for the company, ABN AMRO Clearing started using the open source version of PostgreSQL for two applications. One of the applications is a global reporting portal, used to store clearing transaction data and compiling reports for customers, ABN AMRO departments and regulators. The database grows at an aggressive rate. 

The growth, and geographic reach, of this application is an example of how the applications running on PostgreSQL became more important. As a result, the company began planning a transition from the open source database to Postgres Plus Advanced Server from EDB. EDB extends open source PostgreSQL with enterprise-class performance, security and manageability enhancements. The team did the migration in 2011 during a hardware upgrade.  

“In order to provide our clients with quality and in-time service delivery, it is crucial for us that we ensure high availability and continuity for our applications,” says Pieter Van Tol, European Chief Technology Officer of ABN AMRO Clearing Bank’s London Branch. “Our applications have a 99.97% high availability requirement. Continuing to work with the community version of Postgres without the proper support model was not an option. In addition to support, there are things EDB’s Postgres Plus offered that aren’t available in the community version, such as monitoring, tooling and compatibility for Oracle.”

Expansion of Postgres Plus

ABN AMRO Clearing has continued to expand the Postgres Plus footprint in the organization. The team ported a transactional trade capture system from the community PostgreSQL to Postgres Plus in 2013. The application was part of legacy infrastructure installed in the 1990s and had been targeted for modernization. 

“As part of the European datacenter consolidation project we decided to immediately make use of the opportunity to migrate our reporting application to EDB’s Postgres Plus,” said Mike Van Doorne, ABN AMRO Clearing’s European Technology Architect. “This migration forced us to build a solid new database platform based on EDB Postgres Plus, which accelerated the use of Postgres Plus by other applications as well.”

As of April 2015, ABN AMRO was using Postgres Plus to facilitate between six and 10 million transactions a day. The team was also performing a Proof-of-Concept for a new mission-critical risk assessment/risk calculation application to be powered by Postgres Plus The company was further planning a new a client query portal to be deployed on an all-flash array for high-performance and powered by Postgres Plus. 

“This is an example of the evolution of EDB’s Postgres Plus into our environment,” said Van Tol. “We’re expanding our Postgres Plus footprint and increasingly looking for ways to use it for our more highly business-critical systems.”

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