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How N5 Technologies, backed by Intel Startup Program, is mainstreaming real-time computing across industries

While the advancement of cloud platforms has helped companies and enterprises build secure and stable applications and products for their customers, the compute model employed by these cloud platforms, the virtualized nature of the infrastructure that these cloud platforms operate on, and/or the distance of the cloud data centres from edge data sources makes these platforms unsuitable for applications that need to process large volumes and velocities of data in real time.

According to Gartner, more than 50% of enterprise-managed data will be created and processed outside data centres or the cloud by 2025. Additionally, enterprises are increasingly looking for real-time insights on combined fresh and historical data but are forced to compromise due to massive increases in volume, velocity and variety of data which is stretching the limits of their data technology.

Disrupting this space is N5 technologies, whose Rumi™ platform provides complete infrastructure for creating massively scalable real-time applications that can run anywhere while providing complete fault-tolerance and predictable performance. Rumi achieves this by providing a compute engine that brings together data, compute, and business logic, all into a single, hyperconverged, software node. Girish Mutreja, Founder and CEO, N5 Technologies says, “What we’re bringing to the market is a next generation compute cloud platform purpose built for applications that need to process massive volumes and velocities of data in real time and can be deployed and run in a manner that unifies the core clouds, edge environments, virtualised, and bare metal systems.”

Solving real-time problems

Girish explains that real-time systems are data intensive and need to process massive amounts of data very quickly. This is something current cloud computing platforms cannot do, he says, for any of the following three reasons: “One is that the compute infrastructure and model that is offered by the cloud is just not suitable for these kinds of applications. Second, the virtualised nature of the cloud does not meet the performance and infrastructure requirements of a certain class of these applications. And third, the data is just too far away from the core. So, the systems just take too long to get the data into the core before they can act upon it.”

N5 is currently focussed on building applications for the financial markets and trading industry, an area of expertise for Girish, who has had decades of experience working with financial markets, particularly with Wall Street, having lived in the US for nearly 30 years. Though he majored in mathematics while studying at IIT Kanpur, Girish says his love for working with computers made him switch to the field of computer science. After working with retail banking platforms with another startup in India for a few years, he moved to the US, building end-user products and solutions for capital and financial markets.

Through his career, Girish has noted the complexity of building data intensive high performance computing applications. Most of these systems are built from scratch due to the absence of a foundational platform on which such applications can easily be built. Girish’s goal has always been to provide a platform that performs the infrastructural heavy lifting for such applications enabling developers to focus on business logic rather than infrastructural code. Until recently, the technology landscape was not adequate enough to provide such an infrastructural substrate. However, Girish believes that the ultra-low latency consensus algorithm he invented (that forms the core of the hyperconverged node technology pioneered by N5) layered on next generation networking and storage technologies that have matured in the past few years, enables precisely such a platform.

Profitable insights

“Financial markets have exhibited the need for these kinds of applications for a very long time: applications that need to process very large amounts of data in real time, whether that be trade execution systems, or systems that serve as an ecosystem to trade execution systems, data management systems, and data processing systems that process market data and derive intelligence market data for injection into the trade execution systems,” Girish says, adding that similar requirements are seen in nearly every industry vertical, from hyper-personalisation in e-commerce that recommend based on current behaviour, not past behaviour, to automobile telematics systems, self-driving cars, pick-up-and-go stores, and cashierless stores.

Established in 2020, N5 Technologies is unique in that it has been completely bootstrapped and has already established key partnerships. It has acquired three major customers, which include a large Fortune Global 500 investment bank, a major top-15 hedge fund and a Fortune 500 casino/resort. Girish says that Rumi™ has already helped these customers reap major benefits.

For example, an investment bank that runs their entire equity trading on Rumi™ saw savings of $50 million a year based on removal of penalties, a far more robust system, a 10x improvement in latency, 20x improvement in throughput, and a reduction in footprint from about 200 servers to six servers.

Technical support

By building partnerships, N5 is able to stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of various cutting-edge technologies and optimising its solution for different hardware and infrastructures. Getting on boarded to the Intel Startup Program in August 2022, Girish explains, has helped them gain access to Intel’s deep tech resources and hardware, as well as prepare for future sales and joint solution partnerships.

“Our relationship with Intel allows us to work closely to make sure that we can leverage technologies such as persistent memory in the most efficient way possible, as well as potentially even leverage their CPUs and ensure that the code being generated by our platform, or the monitoring and management frameworks that are being exposed can allow people to see how efficiently the underlying CPU and resources from Intel are being used, and tune the application to perform maximally,” Girish says, adding that he has had productive conversations with Intel mentor Shridhar Bendi, Senior Principal Engineer, Intel India.

With N5 leveraging Intel’s RAS (remote access service) efficient servers (7 Series) and performance efficient servers (5 Series) for Rumi™, Shridhar says that Girish’s deep technical understanding and business acumen has helped N5 leverage their partnership with Intel Startup Program extremely well, and looks forward to collaborating with them further. “The number of financial institutions and asset classes are on a steep rise, while market size and global spend on financial systems are multi-fold higher. Because N5’s Rumi™ is trying to address challenges faced by the financial trading world, N5-developed bespoke platforms will serve well assuming they get to have Si/Platform demonstrated differentiating KPIs,” Shridhar explains.

“They [Intel] recognise the potential of what we’re doing and what value they can bring in, in allowing us to hone our platform on Intel resources. It’s been a short run so far, because we just got accepted to the Intel startup program a few months ago. Things are beginning to spin up, and I’m really looking forward to further conversations with Shridhar and the other mentors,” Girish says.

Beyond the financial world

Having honed their product for the financial markets industry, Girish says that N5 will soon target other verticals that require real-time data processing. “We believe the world is moving towards real time, and reactivity versus proactivity with continuous contextual interaction with one’s environment is the norm of the future. For example, if I’m going into a retail store and I want that store to be a fully pick-up-and-go cashierless store, there’s around six terabytes of data per second sloshing around just to make sure that the customers are recognised, their wallets are processed, the risk is managed, the offers are produced, the signage is updated in real time — it’s a lot of data and we need to process in an intelligent and high-fidelity manner. And that’s essentially what we’re enabling. The intent is to provide a new compute platform that enables such systems to be built with a significantly reduced time to market and cost, without compromising on the demands for high performance and operational fidelity,” Girish concludes.

The Intel Startup Program: Enabling startups to scale their game-changing innovations

The Intel Startup Program is Intel India’s flagship program to engage with technology startups who have an IP or innovative solutions that have the potential to create impact on customers and align with Intel’s focus areas. The program is at the forefront of engaging with India’s startup ecosystem through high impact collaborations with the industry, academia and government, and runs multiple initiatives that are either vertically aligned or focused on emerging technologies.

It engages with startups that have a unique global or local value proposition to solve genuine customer problems, enabling them with domain and business expertise from the industry and mentorship from Intel.

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