May 7, 2024
3 min read time

Case Study: Powering Performance in the Financial Sector

Case Study: Powering Performance in the Financial Sector


In this blog, we delve into how a leading online bank significantly enhanced its web performance and security using Varnish, all in response to the evolving needs of its vast customer base. The bank faced the joint challenges of handling increasing online interactions and maintaining real-time data accuracy. Essentially, it required an effective solution to manage dynamic content and safeguard sensitive data efficiently.

The bank's journey with Varnish began in 2015, initially using Varnish Cache to boost content delivery speeds. As the need for greater security and capacity grew alongside customer expectations for instant service, the bank transitioned to Varnish Enterprise. This upgrade, made to satisfy the stringent demands of the financial sector, provided enhanced TLS backend support and a scalable architecture, ensuring robust data handling and improved security.

Overcoming Real-Time Data Challenges

For our online bank, the main hurdle wasn't just caching content but updating it in real-time. Customers expect immediate updates to their accounts following transactions, and financial businesses demand the latest market information. This necessitates pulling new content from the backend frequently, underscoring the need for a robust invalidation strategy.

Mastering real-time data delivery was a crucial part of the bank’s strategy to maintain customer trust and satisfaction. To address this, the bank implemented advanced caching and invalidation mechanisms. By leveraging Varnish’s capability to cache content for extremely brief intervals—sometimes as little as one second for sensitive trading data—the bank ensures that traders and customers access the most up-to-date information. This feature is vital during periods of high volatility in the stock market, where seconds can significantly influence trading outcomes. The bank also introduced a high-frequency purge strategy, enabling it to refresh data instantly across all platforms. This approach was key to preventing server overload, which had previously struggled under the weight of frequent invalidation demands needed to maintain data accuracy.

Overcoming Real-Time Data Challenges

The bank also took advantage of the Varnish’s broad application of uses, deploying it across various bank operations to realize significant strategic benefits in three key areas:

API Caching: Varnish bolsters the bank's extensive API network, which includes everything from mobile app interfaces to real-time financial news. By caching crucial data, it reduces server requests, streamlining operations and enhancing system responsiveness.

Portal Enhancement: Initially, the bank’s primary portal—a critical center for transactions, information sharing, and customer interaction—lacked a caching solution. This resulted in a system burdened with as many requests as there were clients. The integration of Varnish transformed this, efficiently managing dynamic content changes and drastically improving the user experience by offloading excessive traffic.

Expansion to Additional Sites: Beyond its primary operations, the bank has utilized Varnish to enhance annex and subscription sites, aiming to boost SEO and performance on Google. This expansion not only improves site responsiveness but also extends the bank's digital presence, reaching a broader audience online.

The Impact of Varnish Enterprise in Online Banking

Through strategic use of Varnish technologies, the bank has set a benchmark for technical excellence in the financial services industry, unlocking key benefits:

Enhanced Operational Efficiency. Significantly reduced backend load, with Varnish handling up to one request per second per stock quote.

Regulatory Compliance. Varnish’s caching solutions helped the bank adhere to strict financial regulations by securing and managing data effectively.

Improved Customer Satisfaction. The ability to provide accurate, real-time updates enhanced the customer experience, reinforcing the bank’s reputation.

This case study illustrates the importance of adaptive web infrastructure solutions in meeting the complex needs of modern digital banking, ensuring operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and customer satisfaction in a highly competitive sector.