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NSE tech glitch probe: Hitachi’s storage solution under scanner

Data storage solutions provided by Japanese tech giant Hitachi are being looked into as part of the ongoing investigations into the tech glitch at the National Stock Exchange on February 24, which halted India’s stock market trading for four hours.

Following the glitch, the NSE had revealed that unknown changes were made to its storage area network (SAN), without naming the vendor. BusinessLine has now learnt that Hitachi, one of NSE’s largest SAN vendors, is under scrutiny.

When contacted, a Hitachi spokesperson told BusinessLine, “As per NSE’s press statement, Hitachi is one of the vendors that provide a secure technology infrastructure to the exchange. We will continue to provide the best technical support and customer service. Hitachi has no further comment on this incident.”

On February 24, the problem at NSE started with data calculation of Nifty and Bank Nifty index at 10.07 a.m. In about about 93 minutes, marketwide trading was halted (at 11.40 a.m). So far, the NSE has said that its network links failed first and then the primary SAN became inaccessible. SAN is nothing but interconnection of storage devices (servers) using fibre (cable) channels to move high-speed data traffic. Hitachi is the key player in the segment. The NSE has stated that a feature of SAN deployed in October 2020 was designed to provide not just zero data loss but also zero down time. Before deployment, the system was tested against various scenarios but SAN function stopped at BKC on February 24, which was completely unexpected.
The NSE runs its primary operations from BKC in Mumbai and has another key data centre a few kilometres away at Kohinoor City, Kurla West. The NSE said digging of roads had caused connectivity issues between the two data centres. It also said changes made by the SAN vendor were “not appropriate for its set-up and were not communicated to it.”

‘Failover logic’
“The Problem was caused by failover logic implemented by the vendor which did not conform to NSE’s stated design requirements, coupled with issues in the configuration done by the SAN vendor that triggered the failover logic. We note that the specific failure logic used by the vendor is not documented, was not communicated to the NSE, and was not appropriate for NSE’s setup. The resultant SAN failure led to the incident on February 24,” the NSE said.

The failover is basically for the backup mode, which kicks in when primary systems become unavailable. The failover can apply to any network component or system, including connection path, storage device, or web server. Experts say the probe will have to make clear how the backup failure (at Kohinoor City) can affect the BKC site.

As per NSE, its vendors include Cisco, HP, Dell, Hitachi, Checkpoint, Palo Alto Networks, Oracle. But Cisco provides network equipment, Dell and HP supply servers, Oracle software databases, Check Point and Palo Alto are software providers. Sources say Hitachi provides specialty zero data loss SAN equipment to NSE.

NSE has recently admitted that its infrastructure had faulty designs. Market regulator SEBI has directed the stock exchange to fix the “individual responsibility” for the failure. The Hindu BusinessLine

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