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Open Source Cloud Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

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OnX Announces Leadership Role in Technology Consortium Focused on Accelerating FIX Protocol Messaging for High Performance Trading

OnX Enterprise Solutions announced today its leading role in the delivery of a new level of high performance solutions to the global electronic trading community. OnX announced that it is a charter member of a consortium formed to accelerate the Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol, a widely adopted de facto global standard supporting trading across asset classes and geographies for a range of trading styles. In addition to OnX, the new group’s infrastructure level team includes other leading vendors such as Intel, Arista Networks, Solarflare, Equinix, Grey Spark Partners and Edge Technology Group.

The consortium was officially launched in late December. In January, the group published a briefing paper detailing performance benchmark figures for FIX engines tested against a simulation of a real-life trading environment. The major result from the testing exercise was the collaboration between parties to create a robust and representative testing environment which was able to produce results simulating real life conditions and their effect on the key function of FIX message transmission. The commercial FIX engines were at least 16 times faster than the Open Source Quick FIX equivalent engines, with an average latency test result of 11 microseconds as opposed to 180 microseconds. This was even more evident when the performance of the simulated Execution Venue was increased to reflect faster matching (sub 50 microseconds). The stress exerted on the FIX engine drew out different performance characteristics, very important when predictable performance is a primary contributor to competitive advantage.

The FIX Protocol

The FIX protocol is an electronic communications protocol initiated in 1992 for international real-time exchange of information related to the securities transactions and markets. With trillions of dollars traded annually on the NASDAQ alone, financial service entities are investing heavily in optimizing electronic trading and employing direct market access (DMA) to increase their speed to financial markets. Managing the delivery of trading applications and keeping latency low increasingly requires an understanding of the FIX protocol.

The consortium’s initial focus is on a representative reference architecture that supports and accelerates FIX Protocol messaging and covers recognized inter party components in the trade cycle that are compatible with the goals of the FIX Protocol Ltd. inter party latency working group. 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 be tasked with on-going research amongst themselves and with new participants on request.

According to David Blandford, OnX’s Vice President of Financial Services and Insurance Solutions, given today’s growing, sophisticated trading environments, the business and technology complexities are compounded. “With all the moving pieces involved in system design, development and deployment, trading firms need smart oversight, deep knowledge of best of breed solutions, and sound vendor relationships to connect all the pieces seamlessly and successfully,” said Blandford. “Optimizing technology is critical to trading, and this new consortium is designed to further standards helping these firms and their customers excel.”

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

High Performance Technology is Critical for Mission Critical, Real-time Trading

In electronic trading, performance – expressed in terms of latency and throughput, is critical to making a transaction in real-time. 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. Mutual support among vendors is essential to the 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.

About OnX

OnX Enterprise Solutions is a global enterprise data center solutions provider with a suite of end-to-end solutions including the industry’s leading Federated cloud solution offerings. The company designs, builds and manages complete data center environments comprised of multi-vendor offerings in four core areas – Hardware & Software Solutions, Cloud & Managed Services, Digital & Application Services, and Professional Services. Over the past 28 years, OnX has helped clients achieve exceptional business results that accelerate their growth and value. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, OnX has a team of more than 700 IT professionals, revenues of more than $750 million, and clients and offices throughout North America and Europe. OnX is a privately held company and majority owned by Marlin Equity Partners. For more information, visit: www.OnX.com.

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