Headquartered in the financial center of Frankfurt Rhine-Main, Germany, Deutsche Börse Group is an international exchange organization and innovative market infrastructure provider. The company delivers trusted infrastructure and IT solutions for major capital market operators, including Germany's largest stock exchange: the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Deutsche Börse supports a massive volume of financial transactions in Europe. The company clears approximately 250 trillion euro annually—about three times the world’s gross domestic product. Through its operation of the European Energy Exchange, Deutsche Börse also enables trades of more than 5,000 terawatt hours of electricity and gas, which is more energy than is consumed in the United States every year.
Creating trust in today’s and tomorrow’s markets is central to Deutsche Börse’s mission. To succeed with that mission, the company must continue to provide stable, efficient, scalable and future-proof infrastructure to market operators.
"Technological progress and innovation have always been a part of our DNA, and they remain a major cornerstone,” says Christoph Böhm, CIO and COO of Deutsche Börse Group. “We transformed and disrupted traditional stock trading in the early ’90s, introducing electronic markets and high-speed trading. Today, our journey continues as we aim for digital excellence."
Since 2017, Deutsche Börse has focused its technology strategy on new technologies such as cloud infrastructure as well as powerful new analytics and AI tools. "Many of today's business innovations, like ledger-based settlement systems, are only possible if we take advantage of the latest innovations in the cloud," says Böhm.
Deutsche Börse has started cloud adoption for internal operations while also launching new cloud-based services for its customers. The company's analytics platform, A7, is a case in point. "The PaaS offering provides programmable APIs for custom ad hoc analysis of most granular market data, down to nanosecond trades. That is only possible utilizing hyperscaling cloud infrastructure," says Böhm. "And it allows us to significantly extend the value of our services for our clients."
For Deutsche Börse, like many companies, one cloud is not enough. By pursuing a multi-cloud approach, the company can make the most of what each cloud partner can offer.
Multiple clouds are particularly beneficial for supporting all of the company’s apps. Using multiple public clouds—including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud—gives Deutsche Börse the freedom to implement applications in the optimal cloud and best meet specific app requirements.
For some applications, such as machine learning (ML), Deutsche Börse uses a hybrid approach that connects public clouds with an on-premises data center. With on-premises resources alone, the application might take weeks to train a single ML model—and by that time, the data would already be out of date. By taking advantage of hyperscaling for ML services, Deutsche Börse can reduce model training time to just hours.
While many organizations encounter challenges managing multiple clouds, the Deutsche Börse team recognized the potential value that a multi-cloud approach could deliver. "We saw multi-cloud as an opportunity right from the beginning,” says Böhm. "Multi-cloud gives us choice and portability, allowing us to use the best of all worlds." While management can be complex, “it is absolutely worth the effort," says Böhm.
To build a hybrid multi-cloud strategy, the Deutsche Börse team turned to VMware—a partner whose virtualization solutions had long provided a robust foundation for the company’s IT architecture. "These [virtualized] environments have been resilient and rock solid for many years, and our customers love the quality we are delivering," says Böhm. "This is why we decided to work with VMware on our hybrid multi-cloud strategy. We want to leverage VMware across the many abstracted apps we run. That design pattern has proven to be an excellent choice."
The VMware Cloud Foundation platform has enabled Deutsche Börse to establish consistent infrastructure and operations across clouds. "VMware Cloud Foundation gave us a perfect setup to modernize our apps running in VMs,” says Böhm. "There is one abstraction layer. We have consistent operations of compute, storage, network and security services, spanning our on-premises environment and the cloud. We have also built in resiliency, giving us failover capabilities within regions and even multiple regions."
Deutsche Börse can use VMware Cloud Foundation running as a service on public clouds—including AWS, Azure and Google Cloud—or on the clouds of many other VMware Cloud Providers. "VMware Cloud Foundation runs directly in the data centers of our infrastructure-as-a-service partners, giving us low-latency access to ML, AI and big data services," says Böhm.
Using VMware as the foundation for the hybrid multi-cloud strategy also helps enhance flexibility and streamline management. "What I like most is the portability between different hyperscalers managed under [VMware] vCenter, which the team knows very well," says Böhm. "This is exactly what we want: highly resilient multi-cloud services under one well-established control plane."
Consistent operations and infrastructure across clouds also helps Deutsche Börse ensure tight security and maintain strict regulatory compliance—a necessity in the highly regulated financial industry. The company’s IT group has implemented a powerful, multilayered data privacy strategy that covers all public cloud activities. By protecting highly sensitive customer data and proving compliance with privacy laws, Deutsche Börse can create the trust that is central to the company’s mission.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant disruptions for businesses across industries. But Deutsche Börse has been able to weather the storm in large part because of its hybrid multi-cloud strategy.
"Scaling up cloud services has enabled us to continue our work during the COVID crisis right from the beginning," says Böhm. "We flipped the vast majority of our organization into home offices within one week. Our cloud-based workplaces have enabled us to stay connected to all business apps at any time."
The company’s hybrid multi-cloud approach also helps keep operations running smoothly, making sure that any business disruptions do not have adverse effects on the markets. "We have experienced firsthand how much digitization can help," says Böhm. "We were able to manage the peak volumes during the early weeks of the crisis."
Deutsche Börse has even been able to move forward with new initiatives during the pandemic. "We've completed major releases to support our growth plans and managed incidents in a new way of distributed working,” says Böhm. "The increased flexibility and agility have helped tremendously to master the unforeseen."
With a strong multi-cloud foundation, the company's leadership team knows that Deutsche Börse is well prepared for whatever the future holds. Says Böhm: "Going forward, we will continue innovating, creating trust and enhancing resiliency—by working with a set of leading cloud technology partners." ▪