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Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch

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The Situation

An expensive new banking platform was failing

Customers of investment managers Merrill (previously Merrill Lynch, a division of Bank of America) were struggling to use a recently-released technology platform. Traders found that the software got slower and slower over time, forcing them to restart it several times a day.

The Problem

In-house developers were unable to identify the cause

After making a substantial investment to develop the new platform, Merrill was desperate to identify and eliminate the cause of the problem. When neither the original coding team nor Merrill’s other software engineers were able to identify the problem, they asked Rocketmakers to help.

Our Approach

Using code analysis to identify the problem

Rocketmakers used a technique called “code analysis” to generate the data they needed to discover what was causing the software to become so sluggish over time. 

The platform Rocketmakers created to identify the issues was built utilising a tool called PostSharp which injected metering and logging code to each entry and exit point in the system

The new program quickly discovered a serious flaw in the original code where resources were being created but never released. This, in turn, was leading to a severe memory leak that would cause the application to crash.

Within a few days Rocketmakers were able to identify and fully analyse the problem, and reported their findings back to Merrill.

The Result

Putting the client’s need first

The original project brief was to both identify and fix the flaw in the platform’s code. Rocketmakers was able to quickly find the flaw, but realised that correcting such a fundamental problem was going to be a much bigger job than Merrill had anticipated. The estimated cost was so high, it certainly would have been less expensive to scrap the new platform and start again.

While this was not the news Merrill wanted to hear, they appreciated that Rocketmakers was helping them avoid further investing in a flawed platform.  Fixing the platform would have been a very profitable contract for Rocketmakers, but much more important is giving customers the best advice possible. 

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