Avoiding the potential carnage of high-speed trading

When it comes to car crashes, running into a wall twice as fast causes a lot more than double the damage. The same principle applies to trading systems: as the market accelerates and financial firms execute trades at breakneck pace, the potential impact of problems with their IT infrastructure increases exponentially.

So when it comes to keeping track of the behavior of their trading systems, looking in the rear view mirror doesn’t cut it. Firms need to be on top of any problems that affect their trading operations, whether they’re in the acquisition and flow of market data, the automated execution of trades, or the pre and post-trade risk management that keeps things in balance.

For Solace customers engaged in high-speed trading, one of our major advantages is the highly-granular real-time operational visibility we give system administrators. Our solution uses takes advantage of the parallel nature of hardware to provide real-time per-client statistics that software-based systems can’t without impacting performance, and many of which can’t be collected at all in multicast environments.

For example, at the TCP layer our solution reports round trip time, bytes sent and received, queue depths, number of retransmits, and number of packets received out of order. And at the messaging layer, we provide instantaneous and high water mark data about queue depths, messages transmitted and received per second, and messages discarded due to queue depth problems. This information can help administrators quickly and efficiently identify and address the root cause of a wide variety of situations regardless of whether they are due to IP network problems or client application problems. This is all good stuff for middleware operations teams, but we fully realize that the visibility we provide stops at the edges of the messaging bus. The nature of middleware is that it always plugs into some other set of applications that comprise the end-to-end operational picture.

One of the more popular end-to-end monitoring solutions available is Geneos from ITRS Group. In their own words, their Geneos platform lets financial institutions “Gain control of every aspect of your environment: servers, applications, network hardware and critical network interfaces, as well as application behaviours and workflow characteristics — in a single solution.”

We’ve partnered with ITRS to let mutual customers monitor the behavior and performance of their Solace-based messaging environment as a seamless part of their environment. Together, we developed a NetProbe polling agent that directs operational statistics and monitoring data to the ITRS Geneos Active Console. The addition and integration of ITRS software to the Solace platform gives middleware operations teams as-it-happens alerting, and some seriously robust statistics for capacity planning.

A big thanks to the banking customers that originally suggested we integrate with ITRS. Geneos as a monitoring platform has a lot going for it: it’s innovative, widely adopted and well regarded within its installed base. With ITRS in our corner, high-speed trading firms have a powerful weapon to avoid becoming trading roadkill.