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Accelerating Cloud Transformation – Featuring Fulcrum Asset Management

Optimising the utilisation of on-premise and cloud computing power enabled Fulcrum Asset Management to achieve record performance.
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. Their investment approach is rooted in academic rigour and analytical tenacity.

Discover how YellowDog helped this leading investment manager, transform how they used their on-premise and cloud infrastructure to significantly improve the performance of their compute-intensive financial analyses.

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 were looking to take their digital transformation to the next level by diversifying their use of cloud. They wanted a long-term, overarching strategy that would enable them 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. They were set up to use a single cloud provider, which would be used when a workload required more computing power. While this strategy had its advantages, it also presented the team with a couple of challenges:

  • Performance: Fulcrum’s back-testing would often require over 1,000 cloud instances. The team had observed issues with machine availability and boot time, which extended run times or, in some cases, meant workloads had to be restarted the next day.
  • Price: Due to the ad hoc nature of the workloads, they were run on machines hired by the hour. This exposed Fulcrum to spikes in market pricing and also risked data loss if instances were distributed to another bidder before finishing a task.

Controlling Costs With the Efficient Use of Resources

Fulcrum wanted to avoid the costs associated with the inefficient use of compute. They wanted to be able to align their workloads to available resource so they weren’t paying for instances that weren’t needed. They also wanted the ability to terminate any instances left idle after a task had been completed.

Furthermore, they wanted to ensure they were maximising their return on capital investment, by prioritising the utilisation of their on-premise infrastructure before bursting to the cloud.

Utilising a Secure Multi-Cloud Strategy

To meet Fulcrum’s requirements, YellowDog delivered:

  • 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 Amazon Web Services (AWS) and their own dedicated compartment within Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), to ensure total separation and privacy for Fulcrum’s data and workloads, and to use their existing cloud accounts so change to business processes was minimised.
  • Visibility of how compute resources were being used through performance dashboards.

Accelerating Cloud Transformation by Several Years

Working with YellowDog accelerated Fulcrum’s cloud transformation by several years and enabled them to be one of the first in their market to become cloud agnostic. The freedom to intelligently optimise their 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.

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.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

The YellowDog Platform has enabled Fulcrum to accelerate their cloud transformation and halve their workload run time. The monitoring and reverse-burst strategy delivered has given Fulcrum the confidence to run analyses 24/7, as they know the YellowDog Platform will manage all of their 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 their customers, on budget and on time.

“"YellowDog have 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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