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Modirum Authenticates Transactions with MySQL

Modirum is a software and consulting company specializing in secure authentication software products, card payment solutions, consulting and SaaS hosted processing services. The company was founded in 1998 in Finland and has offices in Finland, Norway, Estonia, the UK and elsewhere.

Modirum has worked closely with organisations including Visa and Nokia for the development of authentication protocols such as the 3D-Secure protocol and mobile commerce projects over the years. 3-D Secure is an XML-based protocol designed to be an additional security layer for online credit and debit card transactions. It adds an authentication step for online payments.

Modirum provides a complete 3D-Secure product suite for both card issuers and merchant acquirers. The company has customers in over 30 countries. Millions of cardholders, thousands of merchants and hundreds of card issuer banks utilise Modirum’s software globally.



Challenges

  • Rely on a database that would deliver the performance and reliability required by the Modirum solutions.
  • The database had to be open source. Modirum exclusively uses open source software throughout its entire infrastructure. Not only is relying on and contributing to open source software in line with the team’s values, but it increases its effectiveness as members can typically identify and fix issues faster, hence delivering more secure and robust solutions.

Solution

  • Selected MySQL to power the Modirum secure authentication offerings.  The database met all their requirements, and the team especially valued its very powerful and easy to use replication features. MySQL's huge popularity, large community and ecosystem also made it a safe bet, ensuring the long term viability of the world's most popular open source database.
  • The company's primary data center is located in Oslo, Norway. Multi-master replication is implemented between two MySQL master servers replicating the data to each other. The application's implementation alleviates the need for any conflict resolution. The master servers in turn replicate to slave databases both for reporting and backup purposes. Additionally, all the data is replicated asynchronously to a second data center in Tallinn, Estonia to ensure the company against natural disaster and other risks.
  • 14 to 17 TB (terabytes) of data are usually stored on each MySQL database in the platform. Transaction history is kept during a year and very actively queried by customers investigating dubious credit card transactions. Transaction processing in combination with those inquiries generate about 3,000 to 5,000 queries per second on average, with regular peaks at 10,000 queries per second.
  • MySQL 5.6 is currently used in the infrastructure and the team relies on the MySQL Proxy to log database sessions and fulfill the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) database related requirements.
  • Modirum has standardized on FreeBSD as its operating system and is extensively relying on ZFS for file compression and effective SSD-based storage. The ZFS snapshot capabilities are also used for point in time recovery.
  • According to Eirik Øverby, head of hosted services, "MySQL is a very solid and mature product. It helped us ensure the success of our company". MySQL’s ease of use and open source nature indeed enabled the organization’s highly skilled engineers to immediately act when facing an unexpected issue. They could determine when the problem came from and how to fix it, avoiding critical downtime.


"We’re extremely pleased to see that as Oracle very actively develops MySQL and adds numerous new and useful features, the underpinning philosophy of simplicity and ease of use remains." Eirik Øverby, Head of Hosted Services, Modirum



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