CIMD successfully migrated its contingency data centre with Equinix's colocation solution via Colt, ensuring minimal disruption and synchronous information backup.
Faced with the challenge of migrating its contingency data centre in a short period of time, CIMD opted for Equinix’s colocation hosting solution, offered through Colt. It became the first customer in Southern Europe to use this joint service, which allowed minimal interruption of operations and guaranteed the continuity of synchronous information backup.
Jesús Mayo, CIO of CIMD for Spain, Portugal and Dubai, tells how his group faced the challenge of migrating its systems in an emergency situation. Flexibility and guarantees of success were two of the key aspects that managers valued most in this process.
Restricting CIMD’s business activity to a single area is difficult. Its main operations are spread across the entire spectrum of the financial industry, but within the group there are security companies with specialised agencies, consultancies, fund managers, a company representing renewable energy producers, and even an electricity distributor. However, this diversity is unified in infrastructure management, which is cross-cutting for all these entities. All these operations were at play when migrating its data centre. CIMD turned to Colt to implement the colocation solution that it offers in conjunction with Equinix.
To understand the difficulties of the operation, it is necessary to realise that the company’s needs derive from its status as a market member and, at the same time, as a financial market. One of the group’s entities, the investment company CIMD, is a trading platform. Jesús Mayo, CIO of CIMD for Spain, Portugal and Dubai, explains that much of the brokerage consists of operating by voice. However, the business has some key dependencies, the post-trading processes, as well as communication to regulators and the exercise of transparency. That’s why it needs high connectivity requirements, in keeping with market standards.
The CIMD Group is a member of the Spanish Stock Exchange and Markets (BME), the German markets EUREX and XETRA, and the main European markets EURONEXT. It also offers the brokerage service in other markets, both European and American. Its clients are mainly institutional. With these characteristics, any major technological change to infrastructure or communications has an added difficulty, as it is necessary to guarantee the continuity of market access services to customers, maintaining the levels required by the financial industry and with minimum downtime.
The communications infrastructures and systems of the companies were spread across three data centres: a main one, with the core systems; a second centre, which housed user services; and a third one, which acted as a contingency centre, hosted at the headquarters of the BME in central Madrid. “The challenge arose when the BME decided to remove the hosting service. It was necessary to relocate our contingency infrastructures, taking into account two major challenges. On the one hand, we had to ensure that our business continuity requirements were always guaranteed and, on the other, we had to minimise the time to transfer the infrastructure. All this without affecting the services provided to our customers”, says Jesús Mayo, adding that “the location of the BME was part of our fibre communications ring between our CPDs, which allowed us to balance part of the communications with suppliers and customers, and was the place where a synchronised copy of all our information was hosted. We had to make sure that communications would not be affected in the transfer and that synchronicity was maintained”.
The timeframe set by the BME was only three months. This was a challenge for the group, which needed to coordinate a significant number of changes and transfer the hardware to a place where it would work from the outset. And in the face of all the challenges, there was an unavoidable need to minimise downtime. In order to streamline the transfer, Colt offered a colocation hosting solution at the Equinix centre in Madrid. Added to this were two protected 1 Gbps ethernet lines, as well as internet access.
The solution in partnership with Colt and Equinix, is designed for the capital markets sector and allows a enclosure to be transferred in just a few days. CIMD is the first client in Southern Europe to use it, with its experience having served to set up an efficient procedure with a view to future projects. The partnership between both companies allows Equinix to offer colocation hosting through Colt.
With this joint solution, in addition to securing the hosting, CIMD could also establish connections to the markets through the Colt network. However, one of the company’s requirements was to maintain its former neutral data centre model so that there was no captive relationship with a communications provider, which in this case was guaranteed.
The CIMD Group’s relationship with Colt dates back more than twenty years. “Colt is highly specialised and well versed in the financial industry. Both when we can choose connectivity and when the market forces us to use a supplier, we always consider Colt as our primary connectivity supplier”, explains the group’s CIO, before specifying that “our real challenges are to maintain connectivity, have good levels of latency, and guarantee quality in the connection. What’s more, the resilience of the lines is very important for us”.
The company needs diversified routes to connect with its suppliers, whether these are a market like the BME or another service provider like Bloomberg. However, redundancy also comes with an ease of scaling connections. “From our experience, Colt is going to provide us with an infrastructure to help us grow very quickly. This is a guarantee of growth that comes with the supplier. If we start from some initial requirements, we know that if tomorrow we need to increase them, this won’t require a change in its infrastructure. There are suppliers that are very limited in that regard, and any modification implies the opening of a new project, which slows down the adaptations to our requirements”, says Mayo.
Going forward, the group is looking towards the new Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), which gives financial institutions until January 2025 to adapt to stricter standards that guarantee digital operations. According to Mayo, the reliability of Colt’s services will help the CIMD Group navigate the waters of the new legislation.
“The bundling of services allows us to control the cost. And the model offered by Colt within Equinix provides us with another advantage. We’re not restricted from using other providers, as it isn’t a closed service where all communications you enter into Equinix are limited to Colt. We can ask for connectivity with a third party and there’s no problem with this”, says Jesús Mayo, CIO of the CIMD Group for Spain, Portugal and Dubai.
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