In the fast-paced world of finance, a split second can mean the difference between capitalizing on an investment opportunity and falling behind the competition. Options Technology sees huge potential for financial services companies that can take advantage of data at speed and scale—especially by using big data and artificial intelligence for market insights.

Options wants to make sure its clients can access their core applications and data with ultra-low latency—supporting the trades and transactions that drive the stock market. That means having the vision to scale capacity in its data centers in real-time while avoiding disruptive upgrade cycles.

With Pure as-a-Service™, Options has an agile new approach to storage that makes it ready for whatever the future brings. We believe the company’s forward-looking approach is truly visionary, and it’s why Options is so deserving of this year’s Pure Storage Visionary award.

Speed and Scalability in an Uncertain World

The mandate for Options is to constantly be pushing forward, as Vice President of Product Management Mike Russo points out. “It all comes down to client success. We serve some of the largest financial services companies in the world, so if we’re not at the top of our game, we’re not doing right by them.”

That means being ready if a client suddenly needs to scale up its storage capacity for a big data initiative or an acquisition and scale down after a divestment. Like many vendors, Options had some challenges when delivering large upfront capital expenditures associated with new storage hardware and the time required to deploy it. 

“When you buy a SAN, you end up paying for capacity that isn’t always being used—until it runs out of space, and then you either have to secure new storage to scale up or start telling clients ‘no.’ It’s a balancing act,” says James Laming, Global Head of Infrastructure at Options. “We wanted to make the infrastructure more consumable and easier to deploy, with faster time to delivery and lower capital expenditures.”

Overcoming those challenges required… well, vision.

Options Changes the Game with Storage on Demand

Options found a way to prepare for the unexpected. By using Pure Storage® FlashArray™ and FlashBlade® systems through Pure as-a-Service™, the company pays only for what it uses and can scale up or down in real-time. That allows Options to transcend the cycle of capacity planning, capital expenditures, and time-consuming deployments while providing only the highest level of performance to its clients.

“By partnering with Pure, we can rapidly deploy whatever capacity we need and consume it as a service—that’s a massive game-changer for us,” says Laming. 

Instead of making upfront investments in new hardware, Options turned storage into an operational expenditure and reinvested the capital in innovation. That includes everything from data center automation to the launch of a new subscription service for tick data, giving traders insights into stock market trends. And every storage tier is now “performance tier,” which means every client benefits from the fastest speeds and lowest latencies for their workloads, whether back office applications or AI-powered quantitative analysis.

Looking to the Future and Seeing Only Upside 

The visionary approach to storage allowed Options to take a proactive approach in serving clients at the start of the 2020 crisis. Knowing storage wouldn’t hold them back from dramatically ramping up client environments, Russo and his colleagues started reaching out to clients, even before offices began shutting down around the world. 

“We started urging our clients down the path of business continuity planning, offering virtual desktop infrastructure solutions to help people connect to critical systems from home,” Russo says. “With Pure as-a-Service, we’ve been able to rise to the challenges and provide an outstanding, positive experience for our clients.”

And Options has only continued to expand its Pure as-a-Service capacity, upgrading six times over the past year. That flexibility allows the managed service provider to meet unexpected client demands, delivering extremely high-tier performance at competitive rates. It reduces costs for Options, and the provider isn’t shy about passing those savings along to clients.

Now, it has the capacity and confidence to win bigger deals—taking on its clients’ big data and analytics initiatives while launching innovative new services of its own. Its vision has paid off, and the company is ready for the future, where the only constant is change. Congratulations to Russo, Laming, and the rest of the Options Technology team for winning this year’s Pure Storage Visionary award.

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