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Lowering the Latency at SIFMA

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The annual SIFMA financial tech expo has just concluded in NYC, and here are a few of the low-latency highlights – from an event that sadly overall looks to be heading for the twilight zone.

* Best in show in my book was Zeptonics, launching its ZeptoLink fan-out and electronic patch panel, with port to port latency of between five and seven nanoseconds. Like its sister ZeptoMux – many to one – device, it does very specific jobs very fast – much faster than a fully-featured network switch from the likes of Cisco Systems or Arista Networks.

* Announcements from the likes of Lightower Networks, Hudson Fiber Networks, Orange Business Services, Telx and Equinix suggest that the world of connectivity, co-lo and managed services continues to have plenty of action. The opening of connectivity into NYSE Euronext’s Mahwah facility is driving new services – “We have to do it,” suggests one network provider.

* CFN Services and xCelor announced a partnership to reduce the complexity of delivering low-latency market data via microwave. CFN’s Alpha Platform leverages FPGA-based technology from xCelor to support simultaneous active data paths and manage the complex failover from microwave to fibre, ensuring consistent data delivery with the lowest latency.

* Transaction Cost Analysis is coming more into focus, as trading firms look to make the most profit from fewer trades in depressed markets, and beyond equities.  Latency is going to be a key input into reducing price slippage. TradingScreen and OneMarketData have stories to tell in this area.

* McObject released eXtremeDB Financial Edition. The in-memory database now supports column-based data layouts – for time series data – and vector-based statistical functions, also aimed at time series processing.

* Other low-latency focuses at the show – with good representation – were FPGA/network card combinations, and latency monitoring/time synchronisation technologies.

Overall, though, with a much reduced exhibitor lineup, and delegate attendance way down, one wonders what next year will bring. A few of the vendors said they still had a positive experience. But many said they wouldn’t be back.

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