“Our mission is to be the best way to pay for everyone anywhere,” Visa’s Executive Vice President of Technology Rajat Taneja, told Karen Webster in an interview about Visa’s opening of two state-of-the-art data centers in Singapore and the United Kingdom.
And while that is a big goal, Taneja said that it’s all in a day’s work for the global card network that has operations in 200 countries, billions of cards issued across more than 16,000 banks, trillions of dollars in payments processed annually and a processing network — VisaNet — capable of securely processing 65,000 messages per second.
But, Taneja, told Webster, between the emergence of the Internet of Things, the digitization of payments and the electronification of cash, Visa sees a future — and a not too distant one — where there are ten times the number of card credentials in the market than there are today that are interacting with ten times the number of ways to accept those digital payments.
“Our security, resilience, speed of transacting and our ability to scale is at the core of our infrastructure architecture and have become part of the architecture we have been expanding,” Taneja explained, “so that we have even more resiliency, more features, more geodiversity and more speed so to accommodate this massive growth.”
Which, Taneja noted, is part and parcel of Visa’s latest expansion of their IT footprint into Singapore and the United Kingdom with the opening of two state-of-the-art data centers.
“We have this massive infrastructure already in place with scale that is unparalleled that we constantly are investing in via our network, computing power and storage. What we are announcing today is we are geologically diversifying with expanded and more specialized footprints in Europe and Asia.”
Next Generation Processing
The new data centers, Taneja noted, are part of a bigger evolutionary story at Visa that also includes the expansion of things like Visa Direct, Visa Tokenization services and Visa’s Digital Consumer application.
The Singapore and U.K. centers will work in tandem with existing processing resources in North America. Those four synchronized data centers will boost the redundancy and resiliency with Visa’s core infrastructure, minimizing the likelihood of service disruptions to Visa’s 16,600 financial institutions, millions of merchant acceptance locations and three billion cards.
The centers will also come equipped with best-in-class technology upgrades to hardware, including energy-efficient power and cooling infrastructure. Both centers will be 10,000 square feet and represent ongoing investment on Visa’s part in their respective region.
The new regional hub data center slated for Singapore is Visa’s third major investment in Singapore in the last two years. In September 2016, Visa launched the first international campus of Visa University at its headquarters in Singapore. In April 2016, Visa launched the Singapore Innovation Center.
The U.K. facility comes as part of Visa’s larger efforts following its acquisition of Visa Europe and the integration of 3,200 European clients onto VisaNet.
Transactions are slated to start processing in the two facilities in 2018.
“We want the best of all architectures that can accommodate scaling up where needed, scaling out where needed — and having all of those systems providing resilience to each other.”
VisaNet, with its unparalleled scale, Taneja told Webster, also has an unparalleled challenge to go along with it: providing an infrastructure that is resilient, continually scalable and secure. Those are big challenges in a world where technology — and the security around technology — is evolving almost daily. Today, passwords still rule the security roost, but tomorrow, Webster noted, we may be living in a more fully bio-authenticated world that is somewhat different than what we are dealing with today.
Taneja said that Visa’s current infrastructure is built to run many, many risk models and within milliseconds can “see a good or bad transaction.” But the architecture is built to improve and adapt and support new methods in authentication and risk management, including work in deep learning that Taneja said will take machine learning to the next level, particularly in the areas of bio-authentication standards.
“Scale, resilience and security — that is what we work on every day, and this is a manifestation of our vision and technology roadmap that we have been working on as part of our strategic objectives for the last many years,” he said.