Flash Analytics in Finance – Hindsight, Insight and Foresight


Data is the new gold for the modern financial business, but the question of how to effectively mine, manage

and utilise that data has proved far more challenging. For the finance sector, the challenges are multiplied by

the sheer  volume of data from billions of transactions. These billions of transactions hide the good, the bad

and the downright ugly. When you are faced with this unrelenting barrage of transactions how do you know

which is which?




For many years, forensic analytics has let you look back on historical data to help you:


  • Detect suspicious patterns or trends
  • Discover fraud
  • Identify money laundering activity

These reactive activities are key in modern finance, however, today's bankers are also looking for a proactive

strategy applying continuous surveillance and screening of data on arrival. Machine learning is increasingly

used to drive operations deliver near real time results, and can tie in neatly with processes of compliance and

regulation. The benefits go far beyond the realm of forensic accounting, into offering business benefits through

predictive analytics, detecting positive trends, relationships, and sentiment.

In order to deliver these real-time insights powered by machine learning, data needs to be stored in a way that

can be accessed quickly, while still adhering to a highly-regulated environment. This means that the systems

need to be both secure and able to offer ever-lower latencies. A few years ago, many milliseconds of latency

in response times was the norm. Now high performance analytics dictates only latencies of well under one

millisecond as acceptable, and, very soon, that will reduce to a few tens of microseconds. However, the one

aspect that does not change is the universal requirement for consistent, repeatable, and predictable data

management regardless of where your data resides.




The technology leading the next wave in the fight for even lower latencies and higher performance is NVMe.

To date, industries have reused tried the tested storage protocols SAS and SATA. That’s fine, but

these protocols were designed for the mechanical HDD age and carry the baggage for managing HDDs.





While we were all taught that the HDDs are ‘random access’ devices in school, HDDs are limited by one set of

read / write heads that can only be in one place at one time. If you share HDDs with busy workloads then

achieving the nirvana of consistent low latency was difficult, hence the admin overheads associated with

short-stroking, load balancing and queuing.


Flash Storage, on the other hand, is like memory. It can be accessed in parallel, by many applications at the

same time, at extremely low latencies. This is where NVMe delivers. It is designed to drive parallel access to

solid state storage technologies, addressing next generation bandwidth, IOPs, and latency requirements.




The latest  FAS hybrid storage systems from NetApp include NVMe. The FAS9000 supports up to

16TB of NVMeFlashCache, while the All Flash A-Series will easily add NVMe and NVMf technologies

in the near future.


There is no doubt in my mind that analytics and business intelligence will be a top-of-mind project for many

CIOs the 2017 as these topics underpin the value derived from digital transformation.

If you are looking to meet the challenges of digital transformation and analytics, then NetApp All-Flash

technologies are designed to deliver interoperability and future proofing with confidence.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you need a Formula 1 car with extreme performance, shortest path to your data?
    • Then EF systems are perfect for analytics and battle-hardened.
  • Do you need a high-performance saloon car with creature comforts configurable for all passengers?
    • Then AFF systems are right if you need high performance and rich data management that’s cloud ready.
  • Do you need a bullet train ? No need to learn how to drive it, just buy the ticket for the service you desire.
    • Then Solidfire is perfect for these next generation linear scale-out requirements
    • Where a guaranteed quality of services for individual workloads matters.

If you are looking for more information here are useful links:


Hybrid FAS and E-Series Systems


NetApp Hybrid Storage


All Flash Systems


NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF)


Laurence James, on behalf of the EMEA Products and Solutions Team