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Central Tanshi FX Co. Rebuilds Its System Infrastructure, Increases Service Speed with F5

Foreign exchange trading company Central Tanshi FX Co., Ltd. needed a solution to accelerate customer transactions by unifying its firewall and various network appliances. With the F5 BIG-IP platform, the company has dramatically increased service speeds, improved security, and reduced operational costs.

Business Challenges

 

In the retail foreign exchange trading (FX) business, transactions are performed very rapidly. While the goal of FX companies is to gain margins by trading foreign currencies such as dollars and euros, the exchange (currency pair) rates often fluctuate wildly within a fraction of a second. The processing speed for delivering these currency pair rates and completing customer transactions may also vary among FX companies. For customers who trade FX products, a faster system means more successful trading. For this reason, FX companies must improve the processing power of their systems to satisfy customers. To achieve this, Central Tanshi FX Company chose the F5 BIG-IP platform to manage all of its network appliances.

“We plan, develop, build infrastructure, and operate our system to flexibly accommodate any customer demands,” explains Ichiro Takahashi, manager of the Department of Infrastructure Operation at Central Tanshi FX Company. “Lately more customers have demanded faster currency pair rate delivery to improve their contract rates.” To satisfy this demand, the company’s Application Developer team wanted to offer processing performance far exceeding the previous level. This wasn’t possible with the old system. It had a firewall and load balancer between the ISP line and servers, which created a bottleneck. “We concluded we had to reorganize our network appliances from the ground up,” says Takahashi.

“Our Application Developer team requested processing power that far exceeded what we had available. Migration to the BIG-IP platform achieved this level of processing, enabling us to offer new services.” Ichiro Takahashi, Manager, Department of Infrastructure Operation, Central Tanshi FX Co., Ltd.

Solution

 

Central Tanshi FX Company reviewed existing network appliances and conducted a comparison study of offerings from multiple vendors. In addition to the performance level requested from the Application Developer team, other new requirements emerged.

The second requirement was a load balancing feature. The system, which was controlled by an ASP service, had a multihomed configuration for better availability of the ISP line as well as for load balancing. Therefore, the load balancing feature had to be housed within the company’s data center. In addition, a one-box solution was needed for various functions including firewall, load balancer, and link controller, which would help eliminate the performance bottleneck and allow for easier operation. Other important requirements included a scripting language to streamline the operation, as well as support for the latest technologies such as SPDY and HTTP/2.

Central Tanshi FX Company selected the BIG-IP platform with the F5 iRules scripting language to satisfy all of the company’s performance, load balancing, and operational requirements. Products deployed included BIG-IP DNS, BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM), and BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager (AFM).

“Putting all appliances together has reduced our operational cost. Use of iRules made it easier to implement our complex load balancing.” Yuzo Sato, Section Manager, Department of Infrastructure Operation, Central Tanshi FX Co., Ltd.

Benefits

 

By implementing F5 BIG-IP solutions and iRules, Central Tanshi FX Company has unified its system infrastructure—achieving faster service speeds, reducing operational cost and rack space, eliminating system bottlenecks, and ensuring better protection from online threats.

Improved performance to offer new services

“Our Application Developer team requested processing power that far exceeded what we had available. Migration to the BIG-IP platform achieved this level of processing, enabling us to offer new services,” says Ichiro Takahashi.

“With the new system infrastructure, we are delivering rates ten times faster than before October 2015, when we implemented the F5 solutions,” explains Yusuke Kuwahara, who oversees building of the infrastructure within the company’s Department of Infrastructure Operation. In February 2016, the company also started a new service that enables users to trade directly on the chart window. “While the BIG-IP platform is also used for SSL acceleration, the system has plenty of capacity to spare,” says Kuwahara.

The BIG-IP system’s Auto Last Hop feature tracks the source MAC address of incoming connections—automatically selecting the return route based on the stored information and improving the performance in the company’s multihomed configuration. “Deploying the same functionality with systems from other vendors would place a huge burden on the system, requiring a chassis-installed high spec machine at greater cost,” says Kuwahara. With the BIG-IP platform, a 1U unit is sufficient.”

Reduction in operational cost and required rack space

“Putting all appliances together has reduced our operational cost,” says Yuzo Sato, section manager of the company’s Department of Infrastructure Operation. The BIG-IP system has helped reduce the required rack space and power supply, simplify wiring, and lower the frequency of errors. In addition, using the BIG-IP DNS product for load balancing has made ASP unnecessary. “Use of iRules has made it easier to implement our complex load balancing. The hierarchical structure of the firewall composed of global and virtual servers makes the firewall easy to manage,” he says.

Enhancing security with WAF

“New services are now easy to implement with the infrastructure that the BIG-IP system provides,” explains Takahashi, citing also the high stability of the system. Protection from denial-of-service (DoS) attacks has also been enhanced using BIG-IP LTM and BIG-IP AFM. The company plans to introduce BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) in 2016 to further enhance web application firewall (WAF) security.

“During the deployment stage, the support provided by the engineers from F5 was extremely helpful,” says Takahashi. “We look forward to taking advantage of proposals from F5 to include new technologies that will enable us to offer new services to our customers.”