Nymad Zopa Microsoft SQL Server Case Study

UK’s largest peer-to-peer lending service appoints Highlander and Nymad to provide Microsoft SQL Server performance tuning and ongoing support

Zopa is the world’s oldest and the UK’s largest peer-to-peer lending service having now lent over £1.4 billion since 2005. Voted “Most Trusted Loan Provider” for 6 years in a row, Zopa peer-to-peer lending works by bringing together individuals who have money to lend and individuals who wish to borrow money.


Since 2005 Zopa has experienced phenomenal growth and has grown its business to over £1.4 billion in loans, over 63,000 lenders and over 150,000 borrowers. Zopa has an amazingly talented team of developers and technicians that has managed this growth through innovative development and a focussed deployment of technology. Incremental performance improvements were becoming more expensive to achieve through traditional infrastructure improvements and providing less impact each time.

An internal review was set up to evaluate options to enhance performance short term and to support further growth.

The Microsoft SQL Server Database was seen as an area to be looked at in detail including an upgrade to Enterprise Edition licensing. Zopa approached its trusted IT services partner Highlander Computing Solutions (HCS) for a proposal for licences.

“We wanted to implement a long-term solution to strengthen our platform’s performance to enable Zopa to deliver against an aggressive growth strategy.” said Jonathan from Zopa.

“25% performance improvements from the first phase was just phenomenal”

– Jonathan Binns – Head of Infrastructure


Zopa appointed HCS partner Nymad as its database performance and support partner in April 2015, based on Nymad’s deep technical expertise, flexible commercial approach and strong relationship with HCS.

Nymad performed an initial performance study on a fixed price, flexible delivery approach. This approach made use of a flexible resource model, which ensured that Zopa was not paying for resources to watch screens through periods of benchmarking. This enabled an exceptionally cost effective model. The environmental knowledge gained through the performance review enabled a fast take on of the support service.

Nymad were appointed to provide services for three key tasks:

  • Performance Review – Analyse the existing system and process and come up with an improvement plan.
  • Execute Performance Plan – Deliver the services to implement the plan.
  • On-going support – Maintain availability and performance of the systems in line with long term growth strategy.

 “We live and breathe this everyday but it was really impressive how quickly Nymad got on board with our systems and processes in order to start delivering results from the outset”,  Jonathan at Zopa.

“It was really impressive how quickly Nymad got on board with our systems and processes.”

Jonathan Binns – Head of Infrastructure


The performance review was completed on time and on budget and identified 6 key areas to be optimised. The subsequent consultancy has already delivered a 25% performance boost to the daily load freeing up more than 3 hours a day.

Nymad are now supporting the database on a continuous improvement plan leaving Zopa to continue to concentrate on development and innovation.

We are a fast paced, innovative organisation and we expect partners to share our culture and values. We value the relationship we have with Highlander and are delighted to extend this to Nymad” Jonathan at Zopa.

Zopa are looking to HCS and Nymad to support other data management initiatives around the organisation including a strategic Data Modelling / Business Intelligence programme.



About Highlander Computing Solutions

Highlander Computing Solutions began life in 1995, supplying the thriving academic community in Sheffield. After rapidly gaining a reputation for excellent customer service skills and technical expertise, the company began supplying and supporting I.T. & Telecoms systems and Infrastructures to business within Sheffield.

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