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FxPro Invests in Next-Generation Infrastructure with Solace Messaging and Web Streaming Technology

Higher Capacity and Performance Key to Meeting Customer Satisfaction Objectives as the Award-Winning FX Broker Expands into New Markets

Ottawa, Ont., February 16, 2016 – Online foreign exchange broker FxPro is using Solace technology to increase the capacity, performance and robustness of the messaging infrastructure that powers its advanced trading platforms and customer-facing interfaces.

FxPro is deploying a combination of Solace Message Router Appliances and Solace Virtual Message Routers to power a wide range of internal and customer-facing applications, including distribution within data centers, over wide area networks and via web and mobile devices.

“Our business is growing rapidly and it is necessary that we continue to offer a world-class trading experience and customer service as we expand our offering to cover more asset classes and geographies, ” said Panayiotis Annivas, CIO, FxPro. “Solace gives us a rock-solid foundation on which we know we can build and grow our business to meet customer demand.”

The new Solace infrastructure replaces multiple previously used technologies, including ActiveMQ, Kaazing and ZeroMQ.… Read the rest

The Pros and Cons of Algorithmic Trading (…of Ads, not Stocks)

By now we all know that if we Google for information about Hawaii or visit HomeDepot.com to research weed wackers, we’ll see ads for vacation packages or gardening tools everywhere we go on the web for a week. It can feel a little Orwellian, and I appreciate the privacy concerns it makes very visceral, but I don’t complain when a perfectly timed ad saves me 20% on the road racing shoes I was going to buy anyway.

It reminds me of the debate over high-frequency trading that Michael Lewis fired up last year when he painted high-frequency trading as a boogeyman with his book Flash Boys. In it he said the market is rigged because super-fast computers are snapping up fractions of a penny per share faster than even the other computers can see it happening. Investing legend John Bogle and others counter the “rigged” claim by questioning whether HFT really affects buy and hold investors since they trade so little, and commissions, fund expenses and market makers’ spreads take much bigger bites out of their returns.… Read the rest

Investment Banking and the Middle Office Shock Absorber

Equities trading is the poster child for applications that demand the distribution of lots of data with extremely high performance – latency in the low microseconds, reaching for nanoseconds, and with as little “jitter” as possible even through unpredictable bursts of trading activity. But when it’s time to send order and trade data to the middle office systems responsible for non-real-time functions such as risk management, OATS reporting, etc., the prime directive shifts from speed to certainty. Every single message must be delivered to lots of recipients, many of them slow consumers, without putting “back pressure” on high-speed front office trading applications. This is why equities trading and OMS systems need a shock absorber.

Ever since algorithmic/electronic trading revolutionized capital markets, the “need for speed” has driven the development of networking technologies like cut-through Ethernet switches and 10 GE NICs that support kernel bypass, and encouraged techniques like running multiple apps on multicore servers with overclocked cores.… Read the rest

Why peer to peer is a flawed architecture for most messaging needs

If you’ve spent any time architecting or implementing solutions that rely on messaging, you’re surely familiar with the concepts behind broker-based messaging. In a nutshell, message brokers centralize common networked application requirements like:

  • figuring out what information is needed where
  • making the application fault tolerant
  • scaling as requirements grow
  • securing data access
  • finding and fixing faults

By performing these functions in a shared broker, you offload a lot of work from each application, and get centralized management, security, scaling and so on.

In the area of high-frequency trading, some algorithmic trading strategies live and die by their ability to get market data a few microseconds before the competition. For these scenarios every single microsecond architects can cut out of their system drives bottom line value, to the point that they’re willing to sacrifice the functions and advantages described above to do so. In response to this need, along came “peer-to-peer” messaging, which features no broker and pushes responsibility for messaging logic to publishing and subscribing applications.… Read the rest

Messaging 101

What is messaging? Instant messaging like MSN/IRC/Yahoo? SMS stuff?  Email? Morse code? Even techies have different understandings of messaging depending on context, so I wasn’t too surprised when my banker father fired me those questions at me when I told him that Solace makes messaging appliances.

I believe most readers of this blog already know something about the type of messaging that Solace delivers, but for the sake of our guests who are new to it, here is another perspective to understand what we mean by messaging.Computer Systems from a layman’s perspective have 3 logical components:  Processing, Data Storage and Transport.

  • Processing: The performance of mathematical and logical computations, e.g. calculating the area of a circle or executing an algo to compare patterns and decide whether to buy or sell a stock. Without getting into the deep systems architecture detail, this is typically handled by the CPU in a computer or server.
Read the rest

Recapping TEDx New Wall Street – re-imagining Financial Services

Yesterday, I participated in TEDx New Wall Street in Mountain View, California. In the spirit of all TED events, this was a day of sharing ideas — specifically about re-imagining financial services. TEDx events operate under license of TED in support of locally organized events that hold to their TED-like vision. This event was curated by Bruce Cahan, an impressive guy with a background in academia who is (surprise) starting a new kind of online bank called GoodBank.

There was an odd undercurrent of Silicon Valley chest thumping with respect to idea generation and lordship over all things technology that seemed out of place, especially since so many of the speakers were from other places. Regardless, here is a summary of the topics presented grouped by major themes.

The underserved:

  • The banking world finds a huge percentage of the world (and a surprising number of Americans) so unattractive as customers that they offer virtually no relevant products and leave them to the world of predatory “payday loan” companies.
Read the rest

Exchanges getting proactive about improving the impact of HFT on markets

Last week, I posted on how regulation has unintentionally led to increased high frequency trading across various asset classes. Today, we saw a different angle on the HFT debate, with the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) highlighting the results of changes they implemented to encourage HFT as a source of liquidity, but discourage counterproductive high-volume quote generation.

Many other exchanges, like LSE and Deutsche Borse, have chosen to penalize market participants with increased fees if they have a high order-to-trade ratio, that is, if their algos generate lots of traffic but result in few actual trades. The claim is the high level of short-lived orders affects exchange performance for all participants.

About a year ago, ICE instituted a more nuanced approach for their high frequency messaging policy. They welcome any order volume, provided it is within a narrow boundary close to the best bid or ask. They claim this encourages HFT order volume that is useful as liquidity and penalizes algorithmic traders that are flooding the market with out of the money orders that rarely trade.… Read the rest

Baseball, the cloud, and big data

As the release of the upcoming movie Moneyball approaches, it’s inevitable that we’ll be hearing much more about baseball’s sabermetrics. ReadWriteWeb is out front of the topic with a nice article today on How Big Data and the iPad have Fundamentally Changed Baseball.

This article ties together three of my favorite topics – big data analytics, cloud computing infrastructure and baseball. Take a look at the iPad dashboard at right and think about a starting pitcher and catcher sitting together on a flight using this kind of highly-visual tool to decide how to pitch each hitter. Now think about the rudimentary paper-based systems from five or ten years ago. Which pitcher has the edge? I’m sure that comparable data exists for batters on pitcher’s tendencies and release points, but it does appear that the overwhelming advantage of this technology favors the pitcher/catcher game plan.

But do the results back up the theory?… Read the rest

Network savvy trading with Solace and Arista LANZ

We’ve had a great partnership with low latency switch vendor Arista Networks for a while now – our products complement each other very well and our companies align nicely in terms of personality and strategy. This morning we expanded our partnership as part of their announcement of a new feature called “Latency Analyzer” (abbreviated LANZ) that provides detailed real-time metrics about the performance of their ultra low latency cut-through switches.

Network or application delays are a fact of life under certain circumstances, and in highly latency sensitive applications, developers want to give applications the ability to detect and work around any issues that could affect or delay their processing. For example,   if an algorithmic trading system relies on a network that is experiencing congestion or buffering due to volume bursts, the application may want to make a different trading decision based on the added latency.

The announcement today highlights work we’ve been doing with Arista to develop a LANZ agent that runs on their 7100 series network switches and uses our API and messaging infrastructure to make network loading data available to applications and third-party monitoring products.… Read the rest

Solace and Arista Partner to Enable Latency Analysis Across Physical Network and Messaging Platform

Latest Step in Comprehensive Strategy to Improve Speed and Manageability of Ultra Low Latency Systems

OTTAWA, MARCH 15, 2011 – Solace Systems, the leading provider of middleware appliances, today announced a joint effort with Arista Networks to deliver a real-time monitoring agent that aggregates data from the Arista Latency Analyzer (LANZ) and Solace’s middleware monitoring framework. The resulting consolidated operational data will help IT departments maximize the availability and performance of ultra-low latency messaging systems.

This solution will benefit all high-performance computing applications that rely on ultra-low latency data distribution, including financial services use cases such as algorithmic trading, smart order routing, and exchange trade crossing where operations teams must ensure low, consistent latency through network disruptions and traffic spikes. This new Solace software agent runs on the Arista switch where it receives detailed statistics and congestion alerts, and publishes that information to the Solace management environment or third-party latency monitoring products.… Read the rest