Case Study: Amazon Web Services offers cost effective cloud platform to MarketSimplified

MarketSimplified specializes in making online brokerages fully mobile by developing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications for the financial industry. The company’s technology enables end-users to access, trade, and manage investments securely and reliably. Therefore, scalability, cost, and time to market are all key criteria for MarketSimplified, and ensuring they meet these requirements is what led them to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Based in Chicago, MarketSimplified is a subsidiary of the Indian firm INXS Technologies. The company’s customer base expands beyond the United States to India, Singapore, and Dubai. A variety of brokerage firms such as TD AMERITRADE, optionsXpress, FXCM, PFGBest, ChoiceTrade, tradeMONSTER and Kotak Securities are all customers of MarketSimplified using the company’s mobile applications.

The MarketSimplified SaaS model enables financial institutions to use cutting-edge applications over the internet and mobile devices. Brokerage clients using MarketSimplified solutions access account details, real-time quotes, market data, news and technical analysis tools using smart phones and other mobile devices.

The ability to offer all these capabilities in a SaaS delivery model is not a trivial task and requires a reliable computing infrastructure. In addition, disseminating real-time market data to thousands of smart phones and mobile devices with quick response times requires scalable compute power and workflow coordination.

Not only does this need experienced personnel to configure, deploy, and manage the infrastructure, but also demands a sizable monetary investment. The capital expenditure model slows down projects from being lifted off the ground and the overwhelming cost factor makes most projects not even see the light of day.

MarketSimplified immediately saw value in the AWS pay-as-you-go and pay-for-what-you-use pricing model, in addition to the impressive scalability of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). MarketSimplified thus selected AWS as their infrastructure platform of choice. AWS has no upfront costs, so there are no setup fees, nor long-term commitments.

Instantly, they gained the inherent benefits of scale and the ease of ramping up capacity in the shortest and most efficient possible time frame. Now the mobile platform developed by MarketSimplified, fully designed and architected to work on AWS, is serving thousands of end-users worldwide.

The MarketSimplified mobile platform is using a variety of infrastructure web services, including Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

In addition to hosting the application, Amazon EC2 also enables MarketSimplified to provision capacity for financial data analytics, which end-users can use to generate financial reports and analytics in an on-demand fashion. In the process of architecting their solution for the AWS cloud, MarketSimplified has employed best practices such as dynamic scaling, reusability, auto recovery, and inbuilt monitoring (see architecture diagram, March 2010).

Having built the mobile platform on AWS, MarketSimplified has experienced 60% cost savings, with over 40 percent in man-hour savings. Using the AWS cloud has also reduced their time to market and enabled them to offer their customer base a quick solution. Seeing AWS’ powerful performance, MarketSimplified plans on using the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Amazon Mechanical Turk for future versions of their mobile platform.

“Launching a mobile trading application was a major decision as we did not have clear visibility into infrastructure that would be required to support our clients,” said Marc Prosser, chief marketing officer of FXCM.

“We had to have a scalable solution that would be able to support the activity of tens of thousands of clients on day one, but, we only wanted to pay for actual usage of the product. The MarketSimplified solution made offering mobile trading to our clients an easier decision by reducing development and infrastructure costs to zero while not sacrificing the quality of the offering,” Prosser added.

AWS has given MarketSimplified a cost effective, scalable, and quick go to market cloud computing platform for their growing mobile business.

“Amazon Web Services gives us very clear advantages; unlimited scale and computation capability, zero capital expense, Amazon’s assurance of reliability, and maximal utilization of resources. We can confidently state that not a penny spent on Amazon’s services has been for idle running, and therein lies the true unique selling proposition of AWS,” said Vinod Muthukrishnan, VP of Strategy and Partnerships. Team
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