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Delivering a Fault-Tolerant Multi-Cloud Solution – Fulcrum Asset Management

Learn how YellowDog helped Fulcrum Asset Management implement a fault-tolerant multi-cloud solution to improve cost-efficiency and ensure business continuity.
Digital Transformation in Financial Services
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Fulcrum Asset Management is an independent investment manager with a global client base of institutions, wealth managers and private investors. Its investment approach is rooted in academic rigour and analytical tenacity.

Discover how YellowDog helped this leading investment manager, transform how it uses its on-premise and cloud infrastructure, to significantly improve the performance of its compute-intensive financial analyses and meet important regulatory constraints.

Securely Bursting Workloads to Multiple Clouds

As workloads such as big batch processing, credit risk analysis and actuarial modelling are becoming more compute-intensive, financial institutions are under increasing pressure to accelerate their digital transformation strategies to keep up with the demands of the industry. Failure to do so could result in cost inefficiencies and regulatory and compliance issues.

Fulcrum Asset Management was looking to take its digital transformation to the next level by diversifying its use of cloud. It wanted a long-term, overarching strategy that would enable it to securely burst workloads to multiple clouds and make the best use of on-premise infrastructure, to ensure cost and performance were optimised.

The Challenges of Using a Single Cloud Vendor

Fulcrum’s systems had been developed internally. When it approached YellowDog, it was already set up to use a single cloud provider, which would be used when its on-premise infrastructure was at capacity. However, the firm was seeking ways to transform its IT infrastructure due to the following reasons:

  • Regulatory requirements: The FCA require that firms have arrangements in place to ensure that it can continue operations in the event of an unforeseen interruption, such as a cloud outage. This means companies, such as Fulcrum, are under increasing pressure to be able to demonstrate they can move tasks from one cloud provider to another, to mitigate the business risk and meet the FCA’s standards.
  • Potential delays: Due to the ad hoc nature of Fulcrum’s use of cloud infrastructure, it utilised Spot instances. This exposed the firm to potential delays if the instances were pre-empted before a task had been completed.

Due to these challenges, Fulcrum was looking for a cloud strategy that would:

  • Enable it to securely burst workloads to the cloud, using multiple regions within Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as across multiple cloud providers, to satisfy ever-increasing regulatory requirements.
  • Improve the cost-effectiveness and utilisation efficiency of existing on-premise infrastructure, especially during off-hours and over weekends.
  • Ensure workload completion in the face of outages or instance withdrawals, by moving tasks to the next available source.

Utilising a Secure Multi-Cloud Strategy

To meet Fulcrum’s requirements, YellowDog delivered a tailored solution that included:

  • Access to the YellowDog Platform to efficiently coordinate and monitor workload execution across multiple cloud providers, through a single API.
  • The ability to prioritise the use of on-premise infrastructure over cloud, with intelligent provisioning strategies, to ensure compliance with data sovereignty and to optimise the cost, performance and latency of the resources used.
  • Configuration to use Fulcrum’s existing Virtual Private Cloud with AWS and other cloud providers, to ensure total separation and privacy for its data and workloads, and to use its existing cloud accounts to minimise changes to business processes.
  • Visibility of how compute resources were being used through performance dashboards.
  • The ability to automatically reassign tasks when instances were pre-empted, without disrupting workload execution.
  • The ability to reliably transport and retrieve data to the cloud using YellowDog’s Object Store Service.

Accelerating Cloud Transformation by Several Years

Working with YellowDog accelerated Fulcrum’s cloud transformation by several years and enabled it to be one of the first in its market to become cloud agnostic. The freedom to intelligently optimise its use of cloud and on-premise hardware will save the business significant amounts on both capital and operational expenditure and will reduce the time taken to deliver business intelligence.

Ensuring Business Continuity With a Fault-Tolerant Solution

With YellowDog’s real-time monitoring of active workloads and cloud provider performance, Fulcrum benefited from a solution that had the highest resilience in the market to cloud outages and instance withdrawals.

If an issue was identified, the YellowDog Platform would automatically replace the withdrawn or pre-empted instance with another available resource, without disrupting the progress of the active workload. This elegant response meant there was no significant interruption to critical services – a key requirement for business continuity.

Fulcrum was also able to regularly test its ability to use another cloud provider, to prove its operational resilience in line with current regulations. By demonstrating the company can take its on-premise data and place it into two separate clouds simultaneously, without impacting critical business processes, was a compelling benefit for Fulcrum.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

The YellowDog Platform has enabled Fulcrum to accelerate its cloud transformation and halve its workload run time. The monitoring and reverse-burst strategy delivered has given Fulcrum the confidence to run analyses 24/7, as it knows the YellowDog Platform will manage all of its computing resources – regardless of provider, location or type – while maximising the cost efficiency and performance of every single instance.

With this cohesive multi-cloud strategy in place, Fulcrum can stay ahead of the competition and deliver more for its customers, on budget and on time.

“YellowDog has transformed how we use our existing hardware and the cloud, making all the behind the scenes workload management invisible.”

Jago Westmacott
Jago Westmacott Chief Technical Officer, Fulcrum Asset Management

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