OpenStack allows us to meet scale and cut costs, says Nick Gerasimatos director of engineering and cloud services at FICO.


Americans have been counting on FICO to measure their credit worthiness since the 1980s, but the San Jose, California-based company has much a farther reach.

“We’re always known as a credit-scoring company, but we’re a actually large-scale analytics company,” says Nick Gerasimatos, director of engineering and cloud services at FICO. While 90 percent of all lending decisions in the U.S. currently rely on FICO scores, in 2013 the company launched the FICO analytic cloud for creating, customizing and deploying analytic-driven applications and services. “There are a lot of financial and government institutions that we integrate with and we spend a lot of time deploying in different countries.”

In just the last 12-18 months, he says that the company has tripled in size and number of deployments thanks to OpenStack — reaching Australia, Turkey South Africa, China, Japan in addition to spanning the United States.

In the video above, Gerasimatos sat down with Superuser to talk about how FICO’s distributed model gives peace of mind to large entities that tap FICO’s data and also allows it to reach small and medium-sized businesses that would lose typically out with a larger cloud deployment. He runs through the nuts and bolts of FICO’s hyper-converged model, which include components from Red Hat and Cisco.

If anything keeps him up at night about OpenStack, he says, it’s because he loves to keep learning about it. “I’m always looking forward to the new integration and roadmaps, I find myself staying up late reading documentation and white papers instead of going to sleep when I should,” he says.

“We don’t just want to be a consumer, we want to participate in OpenStack,” he says. “The fact it’s open source for us is actually an advantage…The other platforms didn’t allow that flexibility and the ability to partner.”

Gerasimatos and colleagues Chris Ferraro and Oscar Sandoval-Partain also recently shared how OpenStack has helped lengthen FICO’s global reach in a session at the OpenStack Summit Vancouver. In the 33-minute video, the trio walk through decisions and thought process for the architecture and deployment of OpenStack at FICO.