03.04.2015
By Terry Flanagan

Aequitas Adds Low-Latency Networking Gear

Toronto-based Aequitas NEO Exchange has selected Solarflare’s 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking software and hardware for its new Canadian stock exchange.

“They are buying our 10 gigabyte server adapters,” Mike Smith, vice president and general manager at Solarflare, told Markets Media. “Our server adapters are a hardware and software platform that helps the customer manage the data flows between the applications they run on the server, and the network. What we do that’s unique is we provide a direct connection, a direct path if you will, between the customer applications and the network hardware.”

Solarflare specializes in low-latency networking applications, which are crucial to exchanges and other financial market participants. “Latency we define as, ‘How fast can you take a packet off the network, and present it to the application?’ Smith said. “That’s really critical in this space, because if you think about what an exchange does, it provides market pricing information to its clients. The clients make decisions about buying, and selling, and trading. They send orders for the exchange, and the exchange turns around and sends confirmation back to the clients.”

He added, “That has to be done as fast as possible, in order to keep an orderly market, keep the information flowing. This exchange prides itself on the speed of its data flow, the speed of its market feed.”

Karl Ottywill, chief operating officer, Aequitas NEO Exchange, said in a release: “Because we are building a new exchange from the ground up, we have the distinct advantage of being able to utilize some of the most advanced technologies out there. Solarflare has a reputation within the financial community of providing the absolute peak of performance in networking technology. We have full confidence in their software and hardware technologies as we ramp up to the launch of our trading platform in March.”

In addition to Solarflare’s high-performance, low-latency server I/O adapters, NEO Exchange will employ Solarflare’s advanced Precision Time Stamping and SolarCapture Pro software to increase visibility into exchange activity and network performance.

“We designed a technology that we call Precision Time,” Smith said. “It provides the precision synchronization of all the server clocks across the network. We can get the server clocks a thousand times more accurate than a normal data center without this technology. Most data centers use the Network Time Protocol. It gets you with a millisecond range of accuracy, which sounds pretty accurate. But for a financial firm that deals in microseconds or tenths of microseconds, a millisecond’s a really long time. We’ve synchronized our clocks down to about a hundred nanoseconds of precision.”

Featured image by possohh/Dollar Photo Club

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