Infrastructure Monitoring: Mapping Technical Performance to Business Performance
June 24, 2021  TradingTech Insight

High-performance infrastructure and connectivity technologies have become essential components of trading architectures in today’s electronically traded markets. And as trading systems become ever faster, increasingly interconnected, and process more and more data, there has never been a greater need for accurate and comprehensive monitoring of the infrastructure that underpins them. But infrastructure monitoring is no longer just about troubleshooting potential system and connectivity problems. Innovative firms are now gathering performance-related data to drive analytics that can also significantly boost business performance.

This topic and others will be discussed during a panel session at A-Team Group’s TradingTech Summit Virtual. The panel – Optimising trading infrastructure for high performance in fast markets – features speakers from Credit Suisse and sponsors CJC, BSO and Options IT, and will explore how firms can derive analytical value from the data they collect on the performance of the trading systems and connectivity networks.

So how can firms gain new and unique insights into their own activities and those of their clients by tapping into the rich seams of data points from their trading networks, and develop proprietary analysis that can differentiate their offerings in the marketplace?

Why infrastructure monitoring is important

Business guru Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’. This is particularly true in the world of electronic trading, where firms across the industry rely on a complex, interconnected network of high-performance systems to conduct their business.

Being able to monitor exactly how these systems are operating, and how they are interacting with each other, is essential in today’s markets, says Naftali Cohen, Chief Revenue Officer at MayStreet, a market data technology company.

“The primary benefit of infrastructure monitoring is preventing unintended consequences and performance bottlenecks,” he says. “It is also important to consider the behaviour and performance characteristics of the applications that are being connected (whether serving or consuming applications), the interactions between applications and connectivity, and different connectivity technologies within the same architecture.”

This is not a trivial task. Comprehensive infrastructure monitoring involves not only keeping track of the performance of hardware, networking, operating systems and application components, but also looking at metrics around market data and order flow.

“Monitoring high-performance connectivity in electronic trading is critically important to properly maintain both the physical networking infrastructure and to have a full understanding of their application-level behaviour,” says Tim Field, VP Engineering at HPR (formerly Hyannis Port Research), a company that builds capital markets infrastructure. “This requires hardware timestamping to nanosecond resolution accompanied with analytics that highlight a range of potential problems, from a client overloading the message rate on a single exchange session to a custom TCP trading stack misbehaving on a trading server. Without this level of monitoring, these issues would likely go unnoticed, resulting in latency degradation and system instability.”