FIX Protocol to Support High Performance Trading

Terry Flanagan

Consortium of infrastructure vendors to lead effort.
A group of leading IT infrastructure vendors is working to deliver a new level of high performance solutions to the global electronic trading community.

The consortium’s initial focus is on a representative reference architecture that supports and accelerates FIX Protocol messaging and covers recognized interparty legs in the trade cycle (compatible with the goals of the FIX Protocol Ltd interparty latency working group).

Led by OnX Enterprise Solutions, the group’s charter members at the infrastructure level are: Intel, Dell, Arista Networks, Solarflare, Equinix, Grey Spark Partners and Edge Technology Group – testing FIX engines from Rapid Addition and B2BITS EPAM Systems Company.

The Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol is the widely adopted de facto global standard, which supports trading across asset classes and geographies for a range of trading styles.  As firms continue to seek high performance trading solutions, they are looking to upgrade their FIX infrastructure to maintain competitiveness.

The consortium member companies will undertake on-going research among themselves and with new participants on request. A briefing paper will be published in January 2012 detailing performance benchmark figures for Java FIX engines from Rapid Addition and QuickFIX/J and for C++ from B2BITS EPAM Systems Company and QuickFIX, implemented within the reference architecture, and tested against a simulation of a real-life trading environment.

“Grounded in synergistic business and technology relationships, we see a crucial role in connecting the moving parts to fast track clients to the ever evolving leading edge in trading technology capability,” said David Blandford, vice president for FSI solutions at OnX.

Trading systems are complex and contain many critical components: hardware, software, network, data centers and connectivity.  Single vendor solutions invariably do not give the highest performance, are inflexible, and costly.

To achieve performance and agility, with low total cost of ownership (TCO), trading firms often source the best available components from different specialist vendors, and integrate them.

Selecting these components, integrating them, commissioning them and deploying them for maximum performance is an extreme challenge, and requires a combination of knowledge, skills and experience that is beyond what any single vendor can provide.

An approach of mutual support among vendors is essential to delivery of complete trading system solutions, where each vendor can contribute technology and expertise, and work with their adjacent peers in the architecture in order to deliver a consistent, high-performance solution.

Future projects for the consortium phased through 2012 will include further FIX engines by request and extend to order management systems, market data processing, risk management and other functions such as colocation in trading community intensive hosting facilities, all of which operate as the core elements of trading operations of today.

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