Scaling up to meet Pension Dashboard demand
This blog has been written by Anthony Rafferty, Managing Director at Origo.
As the fintech tasked with improving the financial services industry's operating efficiencies, Origo has been involved in Pensions Dashboard developments since 2014. During this time, as well as developing prototypes, we have also been working on delivering a systems architecture that is scalable to meet the anticipated launch and future usage levels by consumers.
The Pensions Dashboard will be both a brand new and free service pertinent to millions of people in the UK, which means there is a high likelihood that it will receive significant volumes of requests when it goes live.
Indeed, our analysis* shows that Pensions Dashboard must be ready to support at least 15 million consumers accessing their pensions data. This figure of 15 million is also closely aligned with discussions that we have held with providers/banks who operate consumer-facing platforms.
Therefore, the infrastructure underpinning the Pensions Dashboard must be built from the outset to support significant volumes of consumers from day one, cope with peaks and troughs in usage, and scale to the target of 15 million consumers.
Not surprisingly, one of the main concerns of those responsible for delivery of this critical project has been the sheer complexity in scaling up the central IT infrastructure to deal with this anticipated volume of consumers. It is vital that this is achieved securely, efficiently and at acceptable cost to Government and industry stakeholders.
So, a vital part of the work we have been doing in developing the ‘find’ service – the process of the Dashboard which, with consumer consent, orchestrates the calls to all pension providers to check if they have a matching policy for the consumer – has been to successfully scale test for that anticipated usage by 15 million active consumers all wanting to find their pensions.
We have benchmarked our solution against example test scenarios and factors, including:
● A 15 million user population;
● 80% of these users active onPensions Dashboard(s) on a given day;
● Invoking an additional ‘find’ request every 30 days;
● 200 pension provider systems (or ‘end points’) in the ecosystem.
As Kenneth May, Chief Architect at Origo, explains this required analysis of the performance and stability of the 'find' process at high volume. “Averaged out over a day, this testing requires a throughput of just over 1,000 transactions per second to deal with incoming traffic from the Dashboard(s) and to collate responses from pension providers.
“We have tested at more than double this rate to ensure that we can cope with typical usage patterns which have significant peaks during the working day. Our test results give us confidence that we can reliably achieve, exceed and sustain the required throughput and provide a robust low-latency service.”
Needless to say, we are delighted with the progress we’re making on behalf of consumers, with our recent testing proving that the solution scales.
The offering also provides centralised authorisation services to enable Dashboard access to the pensions which are found and includes advanced features such as Delegated Authority (access) for advisers, guidance bodies and other trusted parties
We have not achieved this alone. It has been done working in collaboration with providers and industry bodies over the years, as well as with the support from our strategic technology partners – MuleSoft and ForgeRock. But now, having successfully tested the plumbing of the Pensions Dashboard, for us the technology is ready for 15 million consumers.