Twitter Coming of Age for Investors

This week seems to be Twitter on Wall Street week. On Monday I read an article speculating that Twitter may package its social data as a financial services product to sell to professional traders. Then today I got an email from TD Ameritrade announcing a new service called Social Signals that offers retail investors Twitter-derived statistics about companies, their brands and consumer sentiment for any ticker symbol. We’ve also been hearing for some time about hedge funds monitoring Twitter with algorithms to determine when chatter suggests a stock or larger macro trend may be impacted.

Financial institutions already distribute literally thousands of real-time data feeds to their traders (using technologies like Solace). These include everything from the most popular exchange feeds for every imaginable asset class to the most obscure technical analysis metrics. This seems like a good business opportunity for Twitter that leverages assets they already own. I am sure there would be sufficient demand to justify what should be a smallish effort on their part.… 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

US market data volumes peak above 5M/sec for the first time

The debt ceiling debate and now the S&P downgrade are driving huge headlines and unprecedented market activity. Last week market data rates across the US markets broke new ground by peaking at over 5 million messages a second for the first time. That blew away the previous record (4.2 million messages a second in May) by 20%. Somebody get the oxygen tanks!

Since Thursday, US market data volume peaks have been:

  • 5.3 million mesgs/second on Thursday August 4th
  • 5.2 million msgs/sec on Friday August 5th
  • 4.7 million msgs/sec today

That’s some pretty thin air for systems that consume market data. We have heard from many on the buy side that feeds from their market data vendors (consolidators) are struggling mightily to keep up, and investment banks are experiencing hiccups in their multicast messaging networks. This kind of infrastructure stress and hand wringing is exactly why so many companies are turning to hardware to both handle feeds and distribute the market data.… Read the rest

Trading infrastructure that's joined at the hip

Today we unveiled some interesting work we’ve been doing with Redline Trading to show the consolidation of their InRush ticker plant with the Solace message distribution layer for a wide range of market data delivery use cases.

Redline’s solution is a hybrid of software and hardware that is typically installed within a server to accelerate the various functions performed within a ticker plant. These includes everything you’d expect from a ticker plant: feed handling, order and price book functionality, even last value cache. Redline is fast, too — all of this takes place in an average of 8 microseconds for up to 10 million market data updates per second, with the kind of consistency you expect from a hardware-accelerated solution.

Our appliance picks up where a feed handler leaves off, reliably moving market data from feed to application whether that application is on the same machine, over a network or across the world.… Read the rest

MetaBit chooses Solace for FIX-based services

Today, we are pleased to add MetaBit to the ever growing list of financial service providers that have chosen Solace to be their routing and delivery platform of choice. They’re using our hardware as the foundation of their FIX-based DMA and liquidity hubs to efficiently distribute information to customers. Financial service providers have a common set of requirements that map very well to many of the capabilities of hardware:

  • 24/7 reliability to assure service availability
  • Low-latency behavior to provide customers with competitive trade execution times
  • Lots of headroom for growth in service volumes and customers
  • Small data center footprint and minimal incremental operations cost as customer counts increase

Increasingly, customers do not have just a low latency problem, or a queuing problem, or an efficient WAN delivery problem, they have an information delivery problem that is a combination of all three. The prospect of procuring three kinds of software that needs to be made redundant and scaled across separate racks of servers feels so 20 years ago when a single hardware content router can consolidate all of these into one footprint and one API.… Read the rest