For firms that want to reduce data latency in algorithmic trading but lack the time or in-house expertise to determine the right combination of hardware and software to achieve it, Intel, HP, Reuters and Voltaire introduced yesterday the general availability of a prepackaged, low-latency, market-data platform in a box, so to speak.
The solution includes Intel's fastest chip to date — the Core-2 duo-based Quad-Core 5300 Xeon processor — in an HP (booth #2211) ProLiant BladeSystem c-Class or DL380 rack-mounted server combined with Voltaire's (booth #1762) Grid Director InfiniBand-based switches, all supporting Reuters' (booth #1101) Market Data System 6.0 and Tick Capture Engine. At press time, the product was to be called RMDS Bundled Solution for C-Class Blades.
The companies say that in benchmark tests run a few months ago, their joint solution achieved a 46 percent improvement in latency over an Ethernet-based system and almost doubled updates per second to 550,000.
Four vendors working together to reduce market data latency is not a brand-new concept. Numerous other vendors, including Red Hat (booth #2214) and Cisco (booth #2101), have brought their products to the Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC) — launched in November by tdbCorp, (which is run by a former Reuters executive) — to be run in different configurations and benchmarked for throughput and latency. The unique aspect of yesterday's announcement is that these four vendors have prepackaged a set of hardware and software, and HP and Reuters have vowed to support the entire system.
"In the past, customers had to do everything themselves, which was only doable for the large firms," notes Enrique Mittman, ISV global alliance manager at HP. "We'll eliminate all that pain — we'll do the benchmarks, we'll do the tests and the infrastructure will be preconfigured."
The new technology component of the joint solution was created by Billerica, Mass.-based Voltaire, which wrote specific software to accelerate multiclass traffic through its switches, according to Amir Prescher, vice president of business development at Voltaire. "This translates to more messages per second with much lower latency, which translates to a lot of dollars for customers," he says.
For the past year, the four partners have been working on the project in Intel's low-latency laboratory in London and testing their results at the STAC facility. "The low-latency lab is Intel's contribution to pulling everybody together and getting people to work on the latest technologies," says Anne Gregory, financial services solutions marketing executive at Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.), adding that the chip maker will soon open another low-latency lab in New York. "We provide lab space, engineering support and the underlying infrastructure to help partners like HP, Reuters and Voltaire develop their solutions."
Intel's latest Xeon processor provides an 8MB cache and dedicated high-speed interconnects, which are said to enable submillisecond transaction times. Voltaire's switches provide 10 Gbps or 20 Gbps bandwidth using InfiniBand and RDMA for increased speed and lower latency.
All indications are that the industry should expect to see more partnerships like this one in the future. HP (Palo Alto, Calif.), for example, will continue to work with these and other partners to form combinations that help its blade servers meet the needs of various markets, including the European market, the company's Mittman says.