Liontrust is an independent investment management company that was founded in 1994 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. It provides portfolio management services, primarily in UK and European equities and markets its investment products to professional investors.
The firm’s ultimate goal is for its IT to become site-independent, available to users wherever they are, and saw Sungard Availability Services’ enterprise-class private cloud infrastructure as a logical solution. Liontrust’s continued growth meant its network attached storage arrays were nearing capacity, requiring capital investment of at least £50,000 and this proved the catalyst for the move to a cloud environment. “It would have been completely illogical to buy another physical server or storage device,” explains David Little, Head of IT and Investment Operations for Liontrust. “The cloud is the natural solution to capacity issues.”
Sungard AS worked closely with Liontrust to develop a hybrid solution incorporating both physical and virtual environments to meet its specific business needs. Liontrust’s confidence is such that it has placed all its core systems in Sungard AS’s private cloud infrastructure including its vital research database, trading platform and business email.
It has already seen the benefits of enhanced flexibility when, immediately following Liontrust’s acquisition of Occam Asset Management, it was able to seamlessly accommodate a 50% increase in users. “In the past if we needed to provision a new server it could take months and cost thousands of pounds,” notes David Little, Head of IT and Investment Operations for Liontrust. “Now it takes a couple of days and there are no additional costs.”
IT Manager Paul Mathanarajah highlights the productivity gains. “We wanted to take away the headache of a physical infrastructure so we could focus on delivering value to the users.” He adds, “And at last I can relax over long weekends because I don’t have to worry about servers overheating or power issues!”
The checks and controls built into Sungard AS’s IaaS have also relieved some of Liontrust’s compliance burden. David Little explains, “The fact that Sungard’s IaaS proposition is a private cloud was important to us as it gives us all the cloud benefits without the security risks of a public cloud.”
For more than 13 years, Liontrust has relied on Sungard AS to ensure it can recover quickly should disaster strike. Although the London-based firm had first-hand knowledge of Sungard AS’s breadth of knowledge and cloud computing expertise, when looking for a cloud computing partner it explored all its options. However, Liontrust soon found there were compelling reasons to choose Sungard AS’s cloud IaaS.
The first was the need for a secure, SAS 70 Type II accredited data centre in the south. David Little recognised that employees might be frustrated by small delays if they all decided to access the same system at the same time. As Liontrust would be hosting live production systems in the cloud, it wanted to use direct point-to-point communications circuits to ensure a virtually instantaneous speed of response. No other provider could offer the affordable, high quality data centre space provided by Sungard AS. The fact that Sungard AS would be responsible for the entire end-to-end process was another important factor in the decision to choose Sungard AS as there would be no need to manage multiple supplier relationships.
“Our relationship with Sungard meant we had a certain degree of loyalty and trust,” says David Little. “The concept of enterprise-class cloud computing may be relatively new but the underlying infrastructure is Sungard’s bread and butter. We trust their expertise and resources.”
Liontrust’s transition from a physical to virtual environment took place over a six-month period. Liontrust knew Sungard AS’s heritage in business continuity and recovery meant it was in the safest of hands. Indeed, Paul Mathanarajah reports, “User perceptions have been pretty good with no complaints and our customers are unaware that our IT infrastructure has changed at all, which is just the way it should be.”