TIBCO FTL: trading at the speed of light?

TIBCO FTL: trading at the speed of light?

Summary: TIBCO has announced the release of FTL, its extremely low latency middleware solution for high speed algorithmic trading. From the blurbs:TIBCO FTL is optimized to leverage the latest advancements like multi-core processors, in-memory architectures and networking technologies like Infiniband and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

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TIBCO has announced the release of FTL, its extremely low latency middleware solution for high speed algorithmic trading. From the blurbs:

TIBCO FTL is optimized to leverage the latest advancements like multi-core processors, in-memory architectures and networking technologies like Infiniband and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. TIBCO FTL is the outcome of a strategic engineering collaboration between TIBCO and Intel to engineer high-performance middleware using next generation technology like Westmere micro-architectures and Intel® QuickPath.

According to the company, FTL achieves intra host communication in a blinding 384 nano-seconds and inter host processing in 3.1 microseconds, beating out test results published by competitors by 42%. In conversation with the company, TIBCO emphasises that FTL has been optimised for computerised stock trading where the need for speed can make the difference between profit or loss.

Success with FTL will still require the development of algorithms capable of responding to this level of speed. "Differentiation will come in the way programmers are able to take advantage of the speed and services FTL enables," said Rourke McNamara, TIBCO's head of product marketing. Asked whether we can anticipate seeing this kind of technology in the broader enterprise apps market, he said: "I think like past iterations of middleware, we'll see early take up in these very demanding markets and then over time they will become part of the general landscape. But we are some years away from that. It has been in beta test for some months but this is still a version 1.0."

In recent times, everyone from HP to SAP, Oracle, IBM and others have been talking up the 'need for speed,' offering different ways to look at the problem in a world where data is proliferating and where the need to act quickly to a given situation is becoming a competitive imperative.

TIBCO invented the banking middleware category but acknowledges the last few years have seen it lose its edge as competitors came in with faster solutions in a market that has become commoditised: "Buyers were prepared to sacrifice services that we bundled for raw speed. FTL puts us back in the lead not just with speed but packaged with many of the components that are needed to create high speed trading systems."

Asked whether the fallout from the banking crisis has limited FTL's potential, Rourke said: "There are plenty of hedge funds out there looking for new ways to trade and speed remains a priority. Some companies we speak with believe that a speed advantage can make hundreds of millions of dollars difference. That's certainly enough to justify the investment."

Topics: Software, Enterprise Software

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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3 comments
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  • This will get capped at some point

    If it simply becomes a speed game, then there will only be one or two winners, and geography will be the deciding factor.
    happyharry_z
    • It's been one

      @happyharry_z Algorithmic trading has been a speed game since the 1970's. The Wall Street "rocket scientists" have always gotten the latest, fastest, most expensive toys for precisely the reason this guy states: "a speed advantage can make hundreds of millions of dollars difference."
      Robert Hahn
  • RE: TIBCO FTL: trading at the speed of light?

    It looks like a well known investment bank is going beyond this - it is difficult to believe this is possible
    http://www.broadgateconsultants.com/blog/2011/04/01/trading-latency/
    jo rose