The Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC) announced on Monday that it has formed a Benchmark Council devoted to the creation and management of benchmark standards for trading technology. Eight Wall Street firms, including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC, are among the charter members."We get asked a lot for standardization of benchmarks," Peter Lankford, director of STAC, said Monday. "We also see customers asking vendors to work together more closely to develop high-performance and low-latency solutions." STAC in its work already brings multiple vendors together to test end-to-end speeds for market data, analytics and trade execution applications - Cisco, Voltaire, Intel, Sun, Red Hat, Reuters and Wombat are among those whose products have been tested in joint solutions. Up till now, there haven't been any generally accepted baseline numbers to work from.
The new Council will come up with three sets of benchmarks that correspond to the three basic steps in making a trade: Market data benchmarks based on workloads such as direct exchange-feed integration, market data distribution, and tick storage and retrieval; analysis benchmarks based on workloads such as trading algorithms, price generation, and risk calculation; and execution benchmarks based on workloads such as smart order routing and execution-related messaging.
The new benchmarks will measure the performance of software such as market data systems, messaging middleware, and complex event processing systems, as well as new underlying technologies, such as hardware-based feed and messaging solutions, hardware-based analytics accelerators, compute and data grid solutions, InfiniBand and 10-gigabit Ethernet networks, multi-core processors, and the latest operating system and server technologies.
The Council's initial focus is on the market data benchmarks, particularly direct feed solutions and market data distribution. The Council is currently reviewing the 0.5 draft of the STAC-M specifications and is due to finalize the specs by the end of 2007.
Membership in the STAC Benchmark Council is open to all trading firms, with membership fees waived for 2007. Firms that join by November 30 will have the opportunity to vote on the market data specification.