Opensource is what makes Bombay Stock Exchange the fastest exchange says BSE IT Chief Kersi Tavadia

Sangram Aglave, Contributing Editor, BW Businessworld caught up with Kersi Tavadia, CIO, Bombay Stock Exchange at Cloudera Sessions Mumbai 2018 to learn about his career spanning across three decades and his experience in taking Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) from proprietary to opensource.

Edited excerpts from the interview below

1. How much data does BSE create in day?

Kersi: On an average 400 GB data gets created at BSE each day. 

2. You are from a pre-consumer internet generation. How was the journey from Relational database systems to distributed storage systems?

Kersi: My journey began with structural databases. But those systems led to redundancy. Storage was expense in those days. We had to normalize the structural databases and all of us worked hard on that. Then came in the relational databases which brought the ease of normalization. And now with distributed system we are again going towards redundancy as storage is relatively inexpensive. Also the distributed systems offer far better read and write speed. The journey is characterized by learning and unlearning cycles. 

We at BSE have had access to all the best proprietary hardware and software. I have found that even the best proprietary systems are rigid and come with lot of DevOps constraints. Opensource takes away a lot of limitations and allows more choice with commodity hardware, horizontal scale out and distributed processing. Opensource has significantly less techno-commercial speed blockers and surprises. 

3. How has open source helped Bombay Stock Exchange?

Kersi: Bombay Stock Exchange adopted opensource in 2013. Opensource platform has helped us compress the post fact analysis lead times by 70% for e.g. fraud detection and audit teams get data early in the cycle without any performance issues. The core platform of BSE runs off a German open source which has helped us bring down the transaction processing time from 40 milli seconds to 6 micro seconds at present. Opensource has made technology more accessible to Bombay Stock Exchange. The capital expenditure entry barriers are all gone and there were deliberate techno commercial realities of proprietary software which also don’t exist in the opensource world. Opensource drives BSE and is the reason why we are one of the fastest exchanges in the world. Opensource is much better bet for long term dependencies.

4. Can you share the milestones in your journey from 40 milliseconds to 6 microseconds trading latency?

Kersi: Our trading platform works on opensource but that is of German origin. We went from zero to one from proprietary to opensource like no other exchange has ever done or accomplished. We went from 40 milliseconds to 10 milliseconds to 200 microseconds to 6 microseconds.

5. How did you go about implementing opensource at Bombay Stock Exchange?

Kersi: The current MD of BSE, Ashish Chauhan is an ex-CIO and I received a lot of support from him to experiment with opensource. The initial 2 years the only cost we incurred was payroll and about six servers. We started small then increased the scope and perform several such pilots while slowly moving production like workloads on to the big data open source system. We had to write reverse API’s so that the shift to opensource does not impact external systems. Implementing opensource needs patience when you do it for the first time. Don’t give up and it is absolute pleasure when it works.

6. How do you use Cloudera at Bombay Stock Exchange?

Kersi: We use Cloudera in our post-trading surveillance platform and it being opensource seamlessly integrates with other opensource without a lot of trouble. 

7. What would you like to share with a “aspiring” CIO?

Kersi: I don’t believe in non-playing captain approach. Roll up your sleeves in every critical project. I prefer all hands on deck approach. Work with your team. Only giving guidance is not enough. Avoid ‘only taking stock’ sans hands on approach to management. Imbibe opensource culture.

Tags assigned to this article:


Around The World