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ACI Worldwide Modernizes Software Architecture While Reducing Risk and Lowering Costs with PostgreSQL

EDB Team3/2/2021
Database high availability

ACI Worldwide is a global software company that provides mission-critical real-time payment solutions to corporations. Customers use the company’s proven, scalable, and secure solutions to process and manage digital payments, enable omni-commerce payments, present, and process bill payments, and manage fraud and risk.

The Challenge
As part of a multi-year modernization effort, ACI Worldwide sought to reevaluate its database investments. The goal was three-fold: 
1. Identify a strong technical partner responsive to ACI’s evolving requirements.
2. Eliminate the architectural compromises often dictated by proprietary databases without sacrificing functionality needed by ACI’s real-time solutions.
3. Reduce and simplify database licensing costs.

The Solution
After an extensive evaluation, the team ultimately selected and deployed BDR from EDB. Given the emphasis on real-time transaction processing (and the criticality of the financial data being processed), ACI needed a solution that could support multi-master replication in a true active-active deployment with elegant conflict resolution capabilities. BDR delivers on those requirements. 

The Results

  • Improvements in performance, application flexibility, and features
  • Streamlined licensing and lower costs 
  • A harmonized database architecture suitable for adoption by ACI’s entire portfolio 
  • An active, collaborative, long-term partner 
  • A drive towards open source adoption 

 

Legacy database limitations and rising costs prompt reevaluation

Boasting 19 out of the world’s top 20 banks and thousands of merchants as customers, ACI Worldwide processes more than $14 trillion in payments and securities transactions every day. That intense volume of real-time transactions comes with many technical requirements and associated costs.

“Given the financial nature of the transactions we process, we not only need multiple data centers for redundancy, we need those data centers to be fully synchronized in real time,” explains Jack Bloch, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at ACI Worldwide. “With the move to cloud architecture/cloud deployment, there is additional need for reliable replication technology.”

While ACI’s legacy databases could technically support those requirements, it did so through a combination of add-ons that added both technical complexity and cost. 

Continued Bloch, “We also found that our previous databases impacted our design decisions—we found ourselves having to adjust code to accommodate limitations in the database and how it behaved. We wanted to allow our team to make design decisions based on what was best for the application—not what was best for the database.”

In addition to the architectural impact, the legacy database had high costs, and while cost wasn’t the driving factor for reviewing the database, it played a role.

 

Aligning functionality with philosophy

Since the new database would become a critical component of ACI’s entire solutions portfolio, Bloch’s team conducted an extensive five-month evaluation of multiple relational database options, both open source and proprietary, to ensure the company selected the best partner for its long-term needs.

After eliminating databases that couldn’t meet ACI’s exacting standards, the team evaluated the remaining options based on their suitability as a long-term partner: responsiveness, resilience in architecture, willingness to collaborate, and flexibility in both architecture and organization. 

“While a couple other databases also offered the functionality we were looking for, they did so using multiple, often overlapping products,” says Bloch. “BDR provided what we needed in a single lower-cost solution—without any additional add-ons. PostgreSQL is a workhorse. Our performance is great, and it’s philosophically well aligned with our worldview.”

Bloch explains that philosophical preference further: “In today’s technological and business environment, you never know what can happen to a business. Open source technology provides us with more options and some insurance against uncertainties.”

 

A well-considered choice becomes a long-term partner 

Since selecting BDR as their solution, ACI has been pleased with the partnership they’ve developed, working closely to refine and evolve the offering to meet ACI’s needs. 

From installation and collaborative development to performance and ease of use, ACI’s experience with BDR has continued to validate their decision.

As Bloch puts it, “We’re finally at the point where application architecture and deployment architecture are the same thing.”

Today, ACI’s core platform, which supports much of its product line, has already been migrated to BDR, as have a number of its individual applications, all with satisfactory results.

“The team behind BDR has been phenomenal,” finishes Bloch. “They’re very strong technically and knowledgeably, and also extremely responsive. When they’ve committed to something, they’ve delivered it.”

Want to see more? Read our EDB customer stories here