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Top 10 Ways Beacon Supercharges the Development Process

Beacon Platform delivers benefits to different parts of the companies that deploy it, from development through trading and risk management. Here is our top 10 list of benefits that Beacon brings to the development process.

10) Provides a secure environment

You may think of this as a requirement, not a benefit, but Beacon’s cloud security architecture goes beyond the bare minimum. Unlike other cloud services, each Beacon customer has their own secure and fully segregated environment with their own management dashboard and controls. Customers have full control over who, what, and when people have access, with role-based user accounts, multiple privilege levels, and detailed access logs. The layered, containerized architecture follows a least privilege model and isolates each workload from each other and from the underlying infrastructure. DevSecOps coding practices and automated governance, build, and test processes enable customers to secure their extensions and additions built on top of Beacon’s transparent, licensed source code.

9) Reduces infrastructure management overhead

Spend less time and fewer resources on infrastructure management tasks that do not contribute to your competitive advantage. Beacon’s cloud-agnostic approach abstracts the configuration and management details for the cloud provider, reducing overhead and avoiding vendor lock-in. Dashboards and schedulers provide a clear view and orchestration of compute resources, spinning virtual machines up and down according to customer configurations and user demand. The containerized architecture delivers cost-effective reliability and performance, standing ready to immediately and safely reload or replace workloads in case of equipment or network failure or suspected compromise.

8) Integrates easily with existing tech stack

Beacon supports a wide range of data and code integrations, facilitating connections to existing applications and databases. Customers can embed their proprietary libraries within Beacon, or call Beacon functions from their applications. Beacon’s open architecture makes it easy to integrate models and pricing libraries written in Python and a variety of other  languages such as C, C++, and JavaScript. Remote procedure calls enable communications between Beacon and external applications to support existing processes and graceful integrations or migrations leveraging our trade ingestion framework. 

7) Includes comprehensive set of data warehouse tools

With Beacon’s containerized architecture, workloads and data are separate so data can come from wherever is most convenient. Data can be integrated through different architectures (APIs, FTPs, REDIS, Kafka, etc.), and different internal database options are available, such as MongoDB, Postgres, influxDB, MySQL. Customers can leverage direct access to data providers including Bloomberg, CME, ICE, Intex, Refinitiv, and connect to data warehouses like Snowflake, through plug-and-play data capabilities and a broad range of data adapters and connectors. Whichever mechanisms you choose, Beacon enables a single source of truth for your data and brings your data to life by connecting it with the models and analytics that give it meaning.

6) Efficiently processes large calculations

Getting results faster, reducing compute costs, or enabling analysis of large scenarios are all benefits of cloud computing. Beacon’s dashboards give you full control over how many resources to use and when to schedule them, enabling you to tailor compute services to your needs. Beacon also uses an enterprise-scale dependency graph framework that tracks dependencies between data and models. When running calculations, the system identifies which inputs have changed, and only calculates values that are dependent on those inputs. This not only makes recalculations much more efficient, it also makes for easier debugging.

5) Boosts developer productivity

Beacon’s integrated development environment (IDE) and workflow automations give developers and quants tools to rapidly build, test, and deploy applications while remaining within corporate governance and controls. The platform’s transparent source code license provides a foundational set of tools that developers can customize and add to as desired. This Python-based system enables rapid prototyping while supporting a stable and consistent path from idea to production. Developers can easily share and reuse code, integrate external libraries in multiple languages, and add proprietary extensions. Beacon’s containerized architecture and sophisticated package management provides everyone in the organization with the environment they need without risking the stability of the production system.

4) Integrates UI framework for rapid application deployment

Getting applications to users faster is an integral part of Beacon’s approach. In addition to the development environment, Beacon provides a rapid web application framework, called Glint, that accelerates the journey from idea to screen. Glint abstracts away the intricacies of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and related client-side elements and libraries into a simple, easy to use, Python-based library where the business logic lives, all accessible from within Beacon’s unified IDE. To make it easier to share and reuse code, Beacon added a Fragments Framework, user-interface building blocks with well-defined inputs and outputs that simplify development and improve consistency across applications. 

3) Fosters collaboration

Beacon’s development environment integrates version control and software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes, to make it easier for developers to collaborate across all aspects of the development process. Beacon includes Git as its version control system, or can connect to customer code repositories. SDLC processes and workflow automations facilitate code sharing, reviews, and testing, keeping team members engaged and informed. But the benefits of collaboration extend well beyond the development team. Making it easier for developers to work with the quants, traders, and portfolio managers who use their work brings their technical knowledge closer to the front line, boosting innovation and digital transformation. Beacon also includes a tightly integrated version of Jupyter Notebooks, enabling quick and easy sharing of ideas and rapid prototyping.

2) Reduces reliance on spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are easy and useful, but the growing frequency of errors in complex calculations is causing billions of dollars in fines and losses. Beacon provides tools that can read and convert spreadsheets into cloud objects while maintaining their structure and functionality. The models and calculations are then subject to the same version control and governance processes as other code. The uploaded spreadsheets have access to live, production data, improving consistency and reproducibility. Finally, they can also leverage Beacon’s elastic compute engines to run simulations and produce results at scale. Customers such as PIMCO are using these tools to enable more exhaustive analyses and greater insights into potential risks and returns.

1) Accelerates the pace of innovation

The net impact of these benefits is an acceleration of the pace of innovation within the business. Beacon Platform was designed from the beginning to combine the speed and ease of use of a prototyping system with the scale and controls necessary for deployment in the largest organizations. Secure but connected development and production environments facilitate testing of new deas with real world data and ensure consistency and reproducibility of results. Beacon’s transparent source code license gives customers full visibility of all functionality and ownership of their intellectual property. Customers such as TD Asset Management are leveraging these capabilities to accelerate the development of more flexible pricing and risk management systems that can model and manage a broad range of instruments and analytics through the full portfolio lifecycle, including pre-trade, intraday, and post-trade risk management and operations.