Home Availability Always-On Trading & Hardware Fault Tolerance Shines at International Stock Exchange

Always-On Trading & Hardware Fault Tolerance Shines at International Stock Exchange

by David Whitney

In the world of securities trading, few things are more important than speed and availability. With electronic, algorithm-driven trading, delays of even a few microseconds can translate to financial losses of tens of thousands of dollars. Longer periods of system downtime could be ruinous, with financial losses soaring into the millions.

Tune in to a short video and learn how Stratus enables this leading international stock exchange to be always on without compromising performance.

That’s why stock exchanges around the world rely on Stratus. One of our international stock exchange customers handles more than a billion trade messages daily, making them one of the largest stock exchanges in the world by volume. It would be national, if not international, news if their systems went down. With Stratus, the exchange’s critical trading applications are always on and performing at top efficiency.

Unlike many other financial institutions, the exchange did not want to run horizontally distributed applications on traditional hardware clusters for higher availability due to the higher operational expenditures. The stock exchange also veered from building high availability into the application software because it would increase software overhead and engineering complexity.

Instead, the stock exchange avoids all that with Stratus hardware fault tolerance. An IT executive at the exchange, explains, “Hardware fault tolerance gives us bullet-proof reliability without the cost of losing compute cycles.”

Those compute cycles are critical. Not only can software complexity steal cycles, but it also leads to numerous internal system events that can cause “jitter” and slow down a stock transaction. Seemingly inconsequential system events like turning on a fan to moderate operating temperature consume valuable computing resources and put a drag on performance. Complex clustering approaches only add to performance problems by introducing network latency. The combination of jitter and latency could pause a trading algorithm for hundreds of microseconds. That’s enough time for a stock price to change.

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At Stratus, we’ve built controls into our hardware to control jitter and minimize latency, helping to avoid a potential negative business impact. In fact, by choosing Stratus hardware fault tolerance, this stock exchange customer’s trading application runs faster than it would had it pursued custom-coded high-availability software.

Plus, there is no need for in-house software engineers to write and maintain special code. Such “home grown” solutions just add cost and complexity, and the systems may still fail to meet the performance and availability demands of electronic trading. With Stratus, fault tolerance and performance optimization are built into the hardware, eliminating the need to modify software.

As a result, this stock exchange has saved millions of dollars by avoiding the cost of writing high-availability code into its software. Not to mention the savings in floor space and in administration time by choosing Stratus fault tolerance instead of a traditional hardware cluster. And the exchange maintains superior uptime levels of 99.999% with Stratus which was not achievable with custom-coded high-availability software.

The IT executive at the exchange explains, “Stratus allows us to deploy our applications without worrying about hardware failure. That’s been a big advantage for us. It’s made our architecture and manageability a lot simpler. And we’ve been able to run without issue. It’s been a good ride for us.”

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