Processing Millions of Payments Through a Cloud-native Infrastructure with HAProxy
Form3 is the leading global cloud-native payment technology provider and is headquartered in London. Form3 design, build and run the technology that powers the future of payments.
Founded In 2016, Form3’s mission is to revolutionise the world of payment processing and disrupt the traditional payment infrastructure model, with an always on, cloud-native, Payments-as-a-Service platform.
Today, Form3 is trusted by some of the UK’s and Europe’s biggest Tier1 banks and fastest-growing fintechs to handle their critical payments architecture.
Results at a Glance
The history of bank payment processing is a convoluted matrix of old and new technology. Legacy systems like the SWIFT network, introduced in the seventies, intermingle with newer institutions like the Single European Payments Area to create a complex path-of-travel for bank transfers. Taking days to arrive, and sometimes with unpredictable costs, the global financial community has long needed a new solution.
The London headquartered company Form3 entered the fray in 2016 as a way for institutions to outsource this function. Utilizing a cloud-based processing platform, Form3 has a rapidly growing list of supported payment schemes across the world that allow companies to remit funds with less hassle. When it came to the United Kingdom’s financial landscape, Form3 was tasked with the challenge of complying with the government’s strictly regulated Faster Payments System.
In order to satisfy the stringent requirements of this particular network, Form3 needed a load balancing solution with incredibly high uptime and dynamic configuration. In stepped HAProxy Enterprise, armed with its Data Plane API.
For participants to wire money through the Faster Payments System, the transactions must be completed within seconds, otherwise, they are considered non-compliant and will be returned. This demands all participants be constantly up, with maintenance in turn planned and communicated well in advance. In addition, the new British system also has a stringent set of security requirements, such as mutual TLS authentication and source IP validation, which Form3 would use HAProxy Enterprise to comply with.
In order to process their more than 5 million payments per day through this network, Form3 began by placing their HAProxy Enterprise load balancer in front of their network of Kubernetes nodes, with KeepAliveD and a floating IP for ingress traffic to maintain connection in the event of a failover.
The team, as explained by engineers Brendan Devenney and Piotr Olchawa, then decided to implement an extension to their Kubernetes environment they called the Custom Gateway Operator to orchestrate configuration of HAProxy Enterprise through the HAProxy Enterprise Data Plane API. Introduced in 2019 as a response to the rising containerization of services, the Data Plane API gives the user the ability to dynamically add and configure frontends, backends, and traffic routing logic. This allows almost the entire load balancer to be configured using HTTP commands, and in Form3’s case brought several benefits over directly managing the configuration line by line on disk.
If you think you can’t do something with HAProxy, go have a look, because you probably can.
Form3’s Kubernetes Operator, after monitoring the cluster for changes, translates API payloads to an update on the HAProxy Enterprise configuration accordingly via the HAProxy Enterprise Data Plane API. The company also defined Custom Resource Definitions in Kubernetes to model their participating organizations, whereby each organization definition generates a set of rules in the load balancer configuration. This helped them to automate routine tasks and reduce configuration errors.
Form3 also took advantage of the Data Plane API’s abstractions and used its transactional nature to safeguard their server changes. By being able to build multiple changes into a single transaction, for instance deleting and replacing a backend server, which in turn would roll back in case of failure at any step, Form3 was able to comply with the strict uptime requirements of the Faster Payments System.
This in addition to the unrivaled request forwarding performance of HAProxy Enterprise, as well as the security features it has come to be known for, meant that Form3 easily met the strict requirements of entry into the Faster Payments System, meaning their entry into the UK market immediately put them ahead of the pack.
What HAProxy Enterprise Offers You
Whether you are on the hunt for high-availability, dynamic security against web-based threats, or simply a load balancer unrivaled for the volume of its connections, HAProxy Enterprise is the best in its field. While Form3 utilized the Data Plane API to help secure their network, you can also take advantage of it as a powerful tool for configuration management to control a fleet of HAProxy Enterprise instances. Contact us to learn further.
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