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Collaborating To Make FIX Go Fastest

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It used to be that when FIX protocol communication was needed, a trading firm would simply buy an off-the-shelf gateway/engine, install it and treat it as a black box, much like a network router. But with the advent of multi-asset class automated trading – including algo and HFT – firms are looking to optimise the performance of what has become their strategic FIX infrastructure – and it’s become a pretty complex endeavor. Now, a consortium of vendors are working together to ease that pain, by creating a high performance and tuned offering – with benchmarks to prove it works.

Leading the consortium is Canada’s OnX Enterprise Solutions, which has brought together Intel, Dell, Arista Networks and Solarflare Communications to provide the actual platform, Equinix as a co-location partner, and Grey Spark Partners and Edge Technology Group to provide consulting and integration services.

To inject some real life into the offering, the consortia is running a series of benchmark tests on the stack at Intel’s labs, using Java and C++ FIX engines from Rapid Addition and B2BITS, respectively, as well as the open source QuickFIX engine. The benchmarks have been designed to simulate message flows associated with algo trading, between a trading firm and a liquidity venue. Results of the testing are expected in January.

The consortia is open to benchmarking further FIX engines, and expects to extend its research to other applications, including order management systems, market data processing and risk management.

Earlier this year, OnX acquired the systems integration business of Agilysys, which focused on providing multi-vendor solutions to data centres. Says David Blandford, OnX’s vice president for financial services: “Grounded in synergistic business and technology relationships, we see a crucial role here for OnX in connecting the moving parts to fast track clients to the ever evolving leading edge in trading technology capability.”

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