Italy’s stock exchange shares its Postgres success story

It wasn’t long ago that chief information officers of large corporations ignored any ideas about implementing open source software – they believed it was not right for their business and was used in sensitive industries like finance, retail, or healthcare completely out of the question, according to Roberto Giordano (pictured), end-user computing, enterprise and database services manager at the Borsa Italiana Group, Italy’s only stock exchange.

But now this fear-based idea is slowly changing. CIOs recognize the potential of open source solutions. Aside from their ability to innovate, open source solutions are secure, scalable, and some are even designed to be regulatory compliant. In addition, open source software can also be offered via paid “premium” alternatives, where they offer the additional support and functions that the industry requires.

The PostgreSQL distribution from EDB is a great example of this type of open source solution. According to Giordano, it provides commercial support with the right expertise and guidance for deploying databases in large environments.

“If you are a large organization that does a highly regulated business, you are [might be] a bit of a fear of open source because there is this general consideration about the lack of enterprise level support. I would say that is a thing of the past because there are companies like Postgres EDB who are 100% able to provide enterprise-level support, ”he said. “With the specific distribution, the support gets even more accurate, but as you know, you can also benefit from the main contributors of the Postgres community.”

Giordano spoke to Dave Vellante, Hosted by theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s live streaming studio, during Postgres vision 2021. They discussed open source, Postgres EDB and the migration of its services. (* Disclosed below.)

The new age of fast and reliable trading

To be successful in the retail industry, you need to consider two important aspects: speed and reliability. For example, modern trading companies might have massive and diverse structured (or unstructured) data that comes in at high speed and needs review and storage. In order to process such a large number of orders at extremely high speeds, modern high frequency trading companies would often use high throughput software, co-location services, and even individual data feeds to compete and win in milliseconds.

But not all technology solutions, especially conventional database systems, can help reduce these milliseconds while maintaining a high level of reliability. According to Giordano, data stores must be able to process incoming high-speed data and return trade orders after examining the algorithmic results in order to process orders reliably.

“As an IT professional, our first goal is to operate a market infrastructure, to provide a reliable infrastructure with the lowest possible latency. So we focus a lot on performance and reliability, just to name the two main drivers of our systems, ”he said.

How to choose a database platform for an exchange

As the only Italian exchange, Borsa Italiana provides market infrastructure across Europe and the rest of the world, so choosing the right technology is critical for the company. Giordano chose Postgres EDB as one of its main database platforms.

“We are a multi-vendor shop. So we’d have to choose the right technology for the right service. This means that my database services teams are currently managing several different technologies where Postgres is a big part of our portfolio, ”explained Giordano.

Borsa Italiana supports both the open source version of Postgres and the EDB distribution. They were running the open source version of Postgres, but over time, when they needed more enterprise level and corporate function support, they upgraded to the Postgres EDB distribution.

The Postgres EDB distribution is the loaded version of the popular, object-relational, open-source database system PostgreSQL from ancient times. The EDB distribution offers the same reliable technology, backed by the same contributions from the broad PostgreSQL community. In addition, it provides the additional expertise and support of the PostgreSQL development team that industries such as retail and finance often need.

“What really drove us? [to adopt EDB] was the right combination of simplicity, but also good value for money. So we like to choose the right database technology for the right type of service / budget the service has and the open source solution for a given service is our first choice, ”said Giordano.

The right balance between price, support and functionality

The price of open source solutions is also an important decision factor for companies looking for more flexible ways to improve their profitability. When executives demand high performance on a shoestring budget, CIOs often have to search open source solutions.

“You know [Borsa’s line of business] just makes demands in particular on performance and reliability. And of course everyone is happy when we are all able to save a little bit of money, ”said Giordano.

Aside from good investment value and ease of use, Postgres EDB also has the right features and functionality that such sensitive industries need.

“We particularly prefer EDB distribution, where we have found specific functionalities that only EDB offers. And we [also] needed the top notch support that EDB has been able to offer us over the years, ”added Giordano.

EDB distribution can provide the key functions that commercial and financial companies need. For example, supporting both structured and unstructured data in a single environment while maintaining the required data integrity with proper compliance can be key to trading.

Maintain a high level of availability, reliability, and control

Another example of requirements in the retail industry is maintaining high availability and reliability.

A popular failover technique known as hardware clustering (or operating system clustering) ensures that applications run (or failover) on the primary cluster node and that applications that depend on a local file system such as a database , also skip the primary node of the cluster.

“Historical, [Borsa Italiana] formerly on operating system clustering from the [failover] Perspective. But over the years we’ve found that even though [OS clustering] works well, we faced some internal challenges because we do not have the operational system layers within my team. So we wanted a solution that was 100% within our control and scope, ”explains Giordano.

Large PostgreSQL deployments often require advanced cluster management. And that’s exactly what Postgres EDB solves by meeting the stringent requirements of retail companies by providing multiple failover and replication solutions while maintaining control.

“We recently migrated our on-premises cable availability solution using the EDB Failover Manager, an additional component that only EDB provided,” said Giordano.

To reduce the business impact in the event of a failure, the EFM provides full high availability management for PostgreSQL and EDB Postgres Advanced clusters. More control is one of the top reasons companies offering critical services like Borsa Italiana choose EFM.

“In the event of an error, the database service team can offer a solution that is 100% close to us. That means that we are fully responsible for it. In short, when you run a service, the fewer people and the fewer teams you have to involve, the more control you can provide, ”concluded Giordano.

Watch the full video interview below and read more about SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of Postgres vision 2021. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Postgres Vision event. Neither EnterpriseDB Corp., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor any other sponsor have editorial control over the content of theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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