The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry
The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

A-Team Insight Blogs

Analysis: Inside Supermicro’s Hyper-Speed HFT Server

Super Micro Computer last month introduced a new line of “Hyper-Speed” servers, pitching them at high frequency trading applications. The company says they work by “maximising processing power and precisely tuning hardware and firmware to attain up to 30% lower latency.” And just as importantly, the servers feature “high reliability as a primary design focus.” So what are these servers, and how does Supermicro boost their performance?

* They are based on dual Intel multi-core Xeon E5-2600 (Sandy Bridge) chips. The 2U model is pitched at space-limited co-location deployment. Crucially, they are “designed for maximum airflow and custom heat sinks provide optimal thermal distribution for mission critical reliability.” Which means they provide superior cooling for the chips and other components.

* This cooling is required because the microprocessors in the Supermicro servers are over clocked – they operate at clock frequencies higher than normal, which means they execute code faster. Which translates to lower latency.

* As an example, Supermicro tested network performance processing messages with the UDP and TCP protocols, and determined that over clocking reduced latency by 31%. Moreover, jitter was reduced by 73%.

* Over clocking of its microprocessors is generally frowned upon by Intel because the implementation of over clocking can shorten their life. But because of the cooling abilities of the Supermicro servers, the chips have the same warranty as standard products. Also, Supermicro tests all of the components in its servers – including RAM and network interface cards – to ensure they will operate with an over clocked microprocessor.

* Just to be clear, the performance of the Supermicro servers is not just down to microprocessor over clocking but also to other hardware and firmware optimisations incorporated into them.

My Take:

For applications that need the fastest execution of serial code – data feed handlers are an example – over clocking should be beneficial. And Supermicro’s implementation seemingly overcomes the reliabity issues often cited for over over clocking.

For some, this approach will have merit compared to turning to specialist processors, such as FPGAs, to handle certain processing. It will mean that traditional programming techniques can continue to be used instead of requiring specialist skills. And existing mainstream code can be readily deployed, and runs faster.

It’s worth noting that Dell recently introduced its Dell Processor Acceleration Technology, an alternate approach to boosting the processing power of microprocessors, also for HFT applications.

Related content

WEBINAR

Recorded Webinar: Best practices for creating a data quality framework for your organisation

Bad data affects time, cost, customer service, cripples decision making and reduces firms’ ability to comply with regulations. With so much at stake, how can financial services organisations improve the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of their data? What approaches and technologies are available to ensure data quality meets regulatory requirements as well as their own...

BLOG

A-Team Group Introduces 2021 Innovation Awards

Here at A-Team Group we have been working hard on plans to celebrate innovative projects and teams with the launch of our A-Team Innovation Awards. The awards are designed to reward teams that have found innovative ways to make use of new and emerging technologies to solve challenges at financial institutions in capital markets. The...

EVENT

TradingTech Summit Virtual

Trading Tech Summit (TTS) Virtual will look at how trading technology operations can capitalise on recent disruption and leverage technology to find efficiencies in the new normal environment. The crisis has highlighted that the future is digital and cloud based, and the ability to innovate faster and at scale has become critical. As we move into recovery and ‘business as usual’, what changes and technology innovations should the industry adopt to simplify operations and to support speed, agility and flexibility in trading operations.

GUIDE

Connecting to Today’s Fast Markets

At the same time, the growth of high frequency and event-driven trading techniques is spurring demand for direct feed services sourced from exchanges and other trading venues, including alternative trading systems and multilateral trading facilities. Handling these high-speed data feeds its presenting market data managers and their infrastructure teams with a challenge: how to manage...