Virtualized Velocity in Financial Services

Intel® Optane™ Technology Extends the Value of VMware* Solutions.


  • Virtualized infrastructure—such as VMware* hyperconverged infrastructure—provide the performance and flexibility the financial services industry needs to increase business agility, efficiency, and competitiveness.

  • Intel® Optane™ Persistent Memory provides affordable, larger memory capacity for virtualized infrastructure.

  • Intel® Optane™ SSDs eliminate storage bottlenecks and enable better performance for operation tools and virtual machine users.



In Financial Services, Innovation Equals Competitive Advantage

The financial services industry is rapidly changing, and investment firms, banks, and digital payment processors are all looking to differentiate. That differentiation is often powered by technology that can help the business surpass their competition by offering unique value or services.

With the massive amount of data being generated every day, and the influx of data projected in the future, technology is critical. Firms are forced to determine how to get more out of their current infrastructure. They also need to future-proof their technology portfolio with the right combination of hardware and software.

Financial firms also experience increasing pressure to reduce the cost and time required to run analytics, extract intelligence, and deliver insights. They are looking for new ways to optimize their technology investments to give them the ability to do more while balancing capital expenditure (CapEx) and operating expenses (OpEx). As business grows, regulatory requirements increase. And as new services are spun up, more performant and efficient compute, memory, and storage are needed for business-critical systems.

One of the key methods to getting more out of existing infrastructure is moving to a hyperconverged, virtualized infrastructure. VMware’s virtualization capability for compute (VMware vSphere*) and storage (VMware* vSAN) does precisely this, providing increased performance and flexibility.

As the industry-leading hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution, VMware is the core building block for the software-defined data center. A single, easy-to-deploy architecture, VMware delivers consistent, secure infrastructure and operations across private and public clouds.

VMware offers critical technologies that play a major role in infrastructure efficiency, as part of the foundational components to VMware* Cloud Foundation—VMware’s VMware’s hybrid cloud platform built on full stack hyperconverged infrastructure technology.

VMware enables financial services firms to leverage a modern approach to increase business agility, efficiency and competitiveness. This leads to further amplifying the benefits of VMware software with game-changing hardware that delivers unique value to VMware HCI solutions. This is where Intel® Optane™ technology comes into play.

Intel® Optane™ Technology

Intel® Optane™ technology is the first major memory and storage breakthrough in 25 years. This technology is available in two products for the data center—Intel® Optane™ Persistent Memory (Intel® Optane™ PMem), which delivers affordable expanded memory capacity and data persistence, and Intel® Optane™ Solid State Drives (Intel® Optane™ SSDs), which deliver high performance, low latency storage.

For VMware, Intel Optane PMem delivers affordable memory expansion for more efficient compute and memory virtualization. The resulting larger virtual machine (VM) memory capacity delivers outstanding quality of service for demanding workloads. As for Intel Optane SSDs, they deliver not only high performance, but consistently high performance which data center administrators can rely upon to meet demanding SLAs. Greater performance per VM allows users to reduce their data center footprint. When you can run more VMs reliably on fewer servers, your solution becomes better and easier to manage. Finally, Intel Optane SSDs can help storage system administrators streamline day-to-day management operations.

VMware vSphere* Powered by Intel® Optane™ Technology

To maintain a market advantage, financial firms strive for flexibility and agility from a cost perspective. This ensures they are efficiently utilizing their infrastructure and maximizing potential value.

Compared to traditional system memory, Intel® Optane™ PMem operates at near-DRAM performance levels, offering capacities that are significantly more affordable per terabyte of memory. Intel Optane PMem is used by VMware vSphere* to behave interchangeably with DRAM and simply increase the amount of usable memory capacity. Any current application can run on Intel Optane PMem as memory without modification. The application can take advantage of larger memory capacities to run more VMs or applications with larger memory needs. Intel Optane PMem enables you to increase your overall memory capacity per socket affordably, quickly extract value from larger data sets, and increase the utility of each server. Also, the resulting larger VM memory capacity delivers outstanding quality of service for demanding HCI workloads.

For example in vSphere, installing Intel Optane PMem in the 4-node cluster delivers the benefits of more memory while reducing memory costs across the entire cluster. Higher capacity Intel Optane PMem allows you to deploy 33% more memory at the cluster level, while reducing overall memory costs by 25% vs. DRAM only.1 This delivers incredible total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits and lowers initial CapEx due to the reduction in expensive DRAM required. Overall, Intel Optane PMem use in vSphere delivers affordable memory expansion for more efficient compute/memory virtualization.

VMware* vSAN Powered by Intel® Optane™ Technology

From a storage perspective, VMware* vSAN benefits greatly from Intel® Optane™ technology. Intel Optane SSDs as the caching tier in front of the capacity tier makes the overall storage system significantly faster and more consistently responsive. For financial services, business continuity is critical. Moving mission-critical transactional databases to VMware HCI solutions requires best-in-class performance and consistency levels.

With Intel Optane SSDs, you get powerful, consistent performance since NAND storage performance drops as you fill the drive with data. NAND goes through an overhead process called garbage collection—it must copy and erase a block before new data can be written there. Back-end NAND processes like this can bottleneck your storage. With its bit-addressable, write-in-place design, the Intel Optane media does not utilize garbage collection, which allows it to maintain consistently high performance across workload demands, whereas SAS NAND SSD throughput drops by 39% once cache begins to destage aggressively2.

Another critical component of performance consistency is latency. Today, trading and transactions are all about latency. The faster you can access analytics, the more of a market advantage you have. Intel Optane SSDs’ more powerful database query response enables high caching performance and reliable quality of service to maximize productivity in mission critical vSAN workloads, resulting in 61% greater efficiency for varied workloads.3

This increased performance capability, using industry standard IOmark VM benchmark, allows data center architects to achieve more VMs per cluster with 33% fewer nodes.4 They can upgrade the cache tier with Intel Optane SSDs and specifying larger-capacity storage devices in a 4-node configuration to maintain usable storage capacity across the cluster while still reducing overall costs.5

Greater performance per VM allows for footprint reduction, as you can now reliably run on fewer servers, drop nodes, and still achieve better VM performance. The result is significant savings through reducing server costs, VMware licensing costs, server footprint, and maintenance—including ongoing required maintenance.

In addition, Intel Optane SSDs enable 15% better operations performance.6 System administrators can now use VMware* vCenter operations tools to maintain efficient maintenance of their IT infrastructure, reducing OpEx and Day Two costs. Operations management is IO intensive and typically done on off-hours, particularly backups. The quicker you get these actions done, the sooner you can return to a focus on mission-critical application performance.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Powered by Intel® Optane™ Technology

For virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Intel® Optane™ technology simplifies your deployment. For example, VMware* Horizon software running on VMware* vSAN supports significantly more VMs per user—and Intel Optane technology gives those users increased performance. The solution allows you to support 20% more VDI users per dollar.7 Compared to a baseline of 384GB double data rate (DDR) DRAM that supported only 160 users, adding Intel Optane PMem increased Horizon desktop users to 300 users, an 87% improvement,8while lowering the TCO per VDI user by 16%. This solution transforms remote working environments and keeps financial institutions running smooth.

Improved Value for VMware Users

The financial sector is a data-rich industry with data-intensive workloads, where memory and storage capability is of the utmost importance. Intel is redesigning the fabric of how financial services infrastructures are architected, building innovative memory and storage directly into the DNA of new system designs.

Intel® Optane™ technology drives node consolidation and significantly reduces licensing costs with more affordable and performant VMs. The combination of Intel Optane PMem and Intel Optane SSDs delivers differentiated value to VMware customers and alleviates major technology challenges for financial services firms.