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Microsoft Windows Azure - RiskMetrics Enhances Capabilities With Dynamic Computing Case Study


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Microsoft Windows Azure - RiskMetrics Enhances Capabilities With Dynamic Computing Case Study

  1. 1. Windows Azure Customer Solution Case Study Financial Risk-Analysis Firm Enhances Capabilities with Dynamic Computing Capacity Overview “We’re using Windows Azure to meet the Country or Region: United States Industry: Financial analysis evolving needs of our clients. And with the … reduced levels of new investment Customer Profile RiskMetrics provides risk required, we can consider solutions that management analysis for banks, investors, and asset might otherwise not have been possible.” managers. Headquartered in RiskMetrics Group’s Risk Management Business New York, RiskMetrics has more than 1,100 employees delivers risk management services to the world’s operating in 13 countries. leading asset managers, banks, and institutions to Business Situation help them measure and model complex financial To enhance scalability of its instruments. To meet increasing market demand services, RiskMetrics needed to support large bursts in for risk analysis, RiskMetrics needed to computing activity over short accommodate increasing peak loads on its periods of time. It wanted to empower innovative solutions computing infrastructure for specific periods of by reducing the required new time. The company used the Windows Azure™ investments in its physical computing infrastructure. platform—an Internet-scale services platform hosted in Microsoft® data centers—to provide on- Solution RiskMetrics used the Windows demand computing capacity for its analytics Azure™ platform to provide on- applications. Now RiskMetrics can complement its demand computing capacity for its analytics applications. on-premises capabilities with a flexible, reliable solution that can support bursts in computing Benefits • Elastic scaling activity over short periods of time, deliver • Enhanced services, enhanced services for more customers, empower empowered innovation • High reliability innovation, and provide the company with • Improved agility increased business agility.
  2. 2. “Working with Situation thousands of physical CPUs, the RiskMetrics provides risk company provides technology the .NET management, governance services through a software-as- services, and financial research a-service subscription business Framework and and analysis for the world’s model. It hosts its risk with tools provided leading investment banks, asset management applications in two managers, hedge funds, pension large data centers in the United by Microsoft for the funds, insurers, and central States and delivers them as banks. Headquartered in New services to customers across the Visual Studio York, RiskMetrics has more than world through the Internet. development 1,100 employees operating in 13 countries. The company models As an early pioneer in financial system, we can over 4 million global securities software-as-a-service, daily, spanning 750,000 market RiskMetrics has the necessary develop data time series. computing power, management applications locally efficiency, and scalable RiskMetrics delivers innovative multitenant architecture to deliver and deploy them to technology solutions to help its highly reliable risk management customers better analyze risk and products and services. But to return. To estimate the risks retain its leadership position in an associated with specific assets, increasingly complex market, the financial engineers develop company maintains a heavy focus complex Monte Carlo simulation on research and development of models, a class of algorithms new products and services to used to generate and evaluate a benefit its customers. broad range of estimated future values for each asset by Given currently projected projecting the risk factors that economic conditions and could influence the price of the anticipated demands from asset over a range of time enhanced financial regulation, horizons. market participants will require increasingly comprehensive risk Monte Carlo simulations require analyses delivered on demand. high computing capacity, and to To process that level of service, provide a complete view of the RiskMetrics will likely have to risk factors influencing hundreds impose very high peak loads on of customers’ financial its computing infrastructure for portfolios, RiskMetrics may have short periods of time, often to repeat the extremely complex demanding 10 times the simulations thousands of times computing resources required for every customer—and do it during other periods. within a restricted time window of a few hours. With a processing To provide even deeper, faster, infrastructure that includes more responsive, and more
  3. 3. “We can take interactive risk analyses for its customers, RiskMetrics needed a “The technologies we were calculations we way to support increasingly large already using are very compatible bursts in computing activity. It with Windows Azure,” says would normally do wanted a computing solution that Richard Bower, Developer at locally, process would enhance its business agility RiskMetrics. “Working with the with reduced levels of new .NET Framework and with tools them on Windows investment. At the same time, the provided by Microsoft for the company needed a solution that Visual Studio® development Azure, and could meet critical standards for system, we can develop integrate the availability and reliability. applications locally and deploy them to Windows Azure very results with our quickly.” Solution local analytics RiskMetrics decided to develop a Using Windows Azure, architecture. We solution that would host the RiskMetrics developed a solution processing of complex pricing rapidly over the course of several call the solution calculations on the Internet months. To complement its on- through an external data center, premises infrastructure, RiskBurst: bursts of a system often referred to as RiskMetrics uses the Windows processing onto “cloud computing.” The Azure cloud services operating company participated in a system—the development, the cloud from our Microsoft® Technology Adoption service hosting, and service Program for the Windows Azure™ management environment for the risk platform, an Internet-scale cloud Windows Azure platform—to infrastructure.” services platform that is hosted in provide on-demand computing Microsoft data centers. The capacity for its analytics Windows Azure platform provides applications. During periods of an operating system and a set of high demand for specific kinds of developer services that can be complex analysis, the company used individually or together. can extend the capacity of its Also, Windows Azure affordably risk-analysis applications by fits the needs of customers by deploying large numbers of offering a scalable infrastructure Windows Azure resources to with a pay-as-you-go model. process the calculations. When RiskMetrics already used the the demand declines, RiskMetrics Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 can scale down from the and the Microsoft Visual C++® Windows Azure instances until 2008 development system to they need the capacity again. develop its existing applications. The company used those “We can take calculations we technologies to easily integrate would normally do locally, its applications with the Windows process them on Windows Azure, Azure platform. and integrate the results with our
  4. 4. “We require local analytics architecture,” dynamically provision Windows says Rob Fraser, Head of Cloud Azure instances as needed. binding SLA Computing at RiskMetrics. “We Eventually, RiskMetrics expects call the solution RiskBurst: bursts to provision up to 30,000 agreements from of processing onto the cloud from Windows Azure instances per all providers we our risk infrastructure.” day. engage in our RiskMetrics runs Worker role The RiskBurst solution already instances of Windows Azure to relies on the communication service delivery. By take messages from Queue between the RiskMetrics high- participating in the Services and from the Blob performance computing (HPC) Storage feature in Windows architecture and Windows Azure, Technology Azure. The worker roles pass on but the company anticipates the messages to an external 32- developing increasingly seamless Adoption Program bit calculation engine, which and scalable applications that for Windows Azure communicates with Windows span Windows Azure and Azure using Windows Windows® HPC Server 2008, we gained insight Communication Foundation. The which is built on the Windows company uses the Service Bus, Server® 2008 operating and built trust in part of Windows Azure, to system, to deliver both on- the people and monitor the messaging and the premises and cloud computing performance of the worker roles, capacity as needed. “Potentially, engineering behind measuring parameters such as we can use the right level of CPU utilization, the number of integration between Windows the SLA.” messages in the queues and Blob Azure and Windows HPC Server Rob Fraser, Head of Cloud Storage containers, and the to provide seamless elasticity Computing, RiskMetrics number of transactions between local software and processed by the calculation cloud-based services,” says engine. Fraser. “It’s a very exciting combination of technologies.” With the Service Bus, RiskMetrics monitors the demand for Benefits processing power and adjusts the With Windows Azure, RiskMetrics number of Windows Azure has extended its risk-analysis resources it uses to provide the solutions to dynamically scale to processing capacity it needs. meet processing demand. The System administrators can company can now provide provision additional Windows enhanced services for more Azure instances in approximately customers, while reducing the 30 minutes. The company will fully amount of new investment integrate the solution into its required. It can innovate with existing operational infrastructure more agility, bring new products to allow monitoring of the to market that would not have messaging queues and
  5. 5. otherwise been commercially RiskMetrics has to meet binding viable. service level agreements (SLA) to provide its services, and many of Elastic Scaling its customers cannot do business Using the vast computing and without receiving RiskMetrics storage capacity in Windows analyses every day. The Azure, RiskMetrics can enhance availability and reliability the scalability of its risk commitments provided with the management applications, Windows Azure platform are very deploying large numbers of important to RiskMetrics. processing instances only when necessary. It can respond to “We require binding SLA demand as it comes, provisioning agreements from all providers we more instances of Windows engage in our service delivery,” Azure as required and reducing says Fraser. “By participating in the number of instances as the Technology Adoption demand declines. Program for Windows Azure we gained insight and built trust in “That is not something we could the people and engineering have done in the past with just a behind the SLA.” fixed processing capacity,” says Philip Jacob, Head of Quantitative Improved Agility Development at RiskMetrics. While deploying large scale dynamic computing capacity Enhanced Service, Empowered Innovation provides elasticity for the With Windows Azure, RiskMetrics company’s RiskBurst analytics, can now enhance the analyses of RiskMetrics is also enhancing its its customers’ complex financial business agility and empowering assets. Using the vast computing innovative services for its resources of Windows Azure, the customers. By turning elements company can scale its solutions of its peak load infrastructure however it needs, empowering from a fixed cost to a variable innovative new solutions. cost, RiskMetrics can consider bringing new services and “We’re using Windows Azure to products to market that meet the evolving needs of our otherwise would not have been clients,” says Fraser. “And with viable. the significantly reduced levels of new investment required, we can With the pay-per-use payment consider solutions that might structure of Windows Azure, the otherwise not have been company only pays for what it possible.” needs as it needs it, without having to make significant capital High Reliability investments in fixed capacity,
  6. 6. For More Information enabling RiskMetrics to be more Windows Azure For more information about reactive to market demands. Platform Microsoft products and The Windows Azure platform services, call the Microsoft provides an excellent foundation Sales Information Center at for expanding online product and (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call service offerings. The main the Microsoft Canada components include: Information Centre at (877) • Windows Azure. Windows Azure 568-2495. Customers in the is the development, service United States and Canada who hosting, and service are deaf or hard-of-hearing can management environment for reach Microsoft text telephone the Windows Azure platform. (TTY/TDD) services at (800) Windows Azure provides 892-5234. Outside the 50 developers with on-demand United States and Canada, compute and storage to host, please contact your local scale, and manage Web Microsoft subsidiary. To access applications on the Internet information using the World through Microsoft data Wide Web, go to: centers. In addition, Windows Azure serves developers’ connectivity needs through For more information about the following services. RiskMetrics products and 〉 The Service Bus connects services, visit the Web site at: services and applications across network boundaries to help Additional Resources: Download: Windows Azure developers build Tools and SDK distributed applications. View: Architecting and 〉 The Access Control Service Developing for Windows Azure provides federated, claims-based access control for REST Web services. Software and Services • Windows Azure Platform • Windows Azure • Blob Storage • Service Bus • Microsoft Visual Studio • Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 • Technologies • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published November 2009
  7. 7. • Microsoft SQL Azure™. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed database service built on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies. To learn more about the Windows Azure platform, visit: