How DevOps, Microservices, and MongoDB are Making HSBC “Simpler, Better, and Faster”

Mat Keep

#Customer Stories

A digital revolution is happening at HSBC. As one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations, the company is building global digital solutions that will help customers worldwide to manage their personal and business finances.

The drive for digital innovation comes as part of a series of strategic actions set out by HSBC’s board to adopt technology that makes HSBC “simpler, better and faster”. To achieve that goal HSBC has embraced agile ways of working. Technology teams are championing a DevOps culture and microservices design approach, while harnessing the next generation of technologies like MongoDB – which is helping HSBC to simplify, migrate and manage complex data change.

Data is at the core of HSBC’s innovation. Nick Maybin, Development Manager, and Andrew Matthews, Equities Architect, HSBC, shared some powerful statistics in their “Bye Bye Legacy: Simplifying the Journey” session at this year’s MongoDB World conference. From data assets totaling 56PB in 2014, the HSBC team expects to see these grow to 93PB by the end of this year.

One area of HSBC that is particularly data driven is the trading technology teams. As part of a collaborative initiative the trading teams in London are using MongoDB to build an Operational Data Store for trades to enable, equip and engage trading desks, salespeople and operations teams across the world, rapidly serving up data consistently and reliably from a single source of truth For example, the Operational Data Store will help users access data on complex markets like Equities and Fixed Income. This includes simple instruments like bonds and shares, but also many other types of more intricate products such as futures, forwards, options and derivatives trading.

Previously this data would have been stored in relational databases, but in the quest to better serve users the team are migrating to MongoDB. The reasons align with the board’s goal of finding technology that would make HSBC simpler, better and faster:

  • Simpler – Compared to relational tables, MongoDB’s document data model mean it is significantly simpler to model bonds, swaps and equity products. While each of these assets are instruments, they all need to store different attributes – something known as polymorphism. MongoDB’s flexible document data model makes it simple to manage this type of data variability. With a dynamic schema, it is also easier to make changes for new data types or for regulatory reasons. Finally, MongoDB makes life simpler for the Ops part of DevOps by providing high availability, scale and security, right out of the box. HSBC operates multiple data centers around the world. The existing relational databases required manual failover to recover service in the event of an outage – a process that is difficult to configure. MongoDB’s self-healing replica sets largely eliminate the complexity in creating a resilient, always-on database infrastructure.
  • Better – HSBC’s Operational Data Store is being built with numerous microservices using native end-to-end JSON data structures that extend from the client, through to the apps, and the market data itself. The flexibility of MongoDB’s data model allows HSBC to manage complex data modeling better, including bitemporal data, providing a way of storing historical data across two separate timelines. Take a look at the slides to learn more about how the HSBC developers model bitemporal data with MongoDB.
  • Faster – this is not just faster response times, but a perhaps even more important type of speed: organisational change. The Operational Data Store is demonstrating the value of adopting new technology and development processes. HSBC has a large DevOps Programme underway and application teams are changing their approaches, enabled by more flexible technologies. Shifting from traditional siloed teams, segregated by management hierarchy, into much more cross functional groups with self-sufficient, multi-disciplinary pods. All of which is helping the company move faster with a more entrepreneurial approach. Review the slides to learn more about the roles of technical staff, communicators, and influencers in driving technology change.
  • HSBC believes the technology ideas of today, will be the intuitive habits of tomorrow. The trading teams’ migration away from relational databases, is another demonstration of how impactful that can be, with MongoDB enabling fast iteration for new applications and helping to support a shift in culture. It’s no surprise HSBC was a clear winner in this year’s MongoDB Innovation Award for Data Driven Business.

    To learn more about its journey to a data-driven business, take a look at HSBC’s talk: “Bye Bye Legacy: Simplifying the Journey”

    Download our whitepaper to learn more about how microservices are enabling modern application development.