Futuresource Builds Scalable Commodities Database with Kx Systems

1 May 2002 | , , , , ,
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Miami (13 May 2002) – Kx Systems, leader in enabling financial services firms to meet the challenges of acquiring, managing and analyzing massive amounts of business data at extremely high speeds, today announced that Chicago-based FutureSource is building a scalable tick commodities database using Kx Systems’ kdb.

FutureSource will replace an earlier, in-house solution with an expanded, faster, and more scalable database. The 20-year-old firm, which provides a single-source for commodities data and services to traders, brokers, hedge funds and commodities software developers worldwide, was looking for a more flexible way to create and maintain its expanding tick database. According to Eric Newhuis, FutureSource CTO, “We needed a scalable solution that could handle gigabytes of data from the outset. Because we have no ‘end of day,’ we were looking for technology that was strong on both the in-memory and the historical sides of tick databases.” In commodities trading it is common for trades to be corrected after the fact, an idiosyncrasy that makes large in-memory capacity a requirement. In addition, traders are demanding longer histories on which to base more sophisticated analytics.

FutureSource captures and stores data from 40 commodities, futures, cash and foreign exchange data sources and feeds it to over 68,000 users worldwide, via server farms and trader terminals. The kdb database is replacing a 1-Gbyte in-memory database, created by the firm in-house, which was no longer scalable to meet growing needs. After considering MS SQLServer and Sybase, FutureSource selected kdb. “Our testing showed that kdb was the only solution with the performance to store every tick and give us the scalability to support our expansion as a data provider,” commented Newhuis. “Kdb gave us a tick database ‘construction kit’ from which we can build a flexible, customizable solution.”

Currently in development, the new database makes extensive use of kdb’s K to C language interface, enabling FutureSource to continue using its custom C++ analytics. “The integration between K and C supports our requirement for high-performance optimization,” said Newhuis. “We tried to achieve the same level of optimization with other databases and found it impossible.” The initial roll-out of kdb is expected to begin this summer with full implementation occurring before the end of the year. At launch the kdb database is expected to be about 30 Gbytes—30 times larger than the legacy database—with the ability to grow to a Tbyte and beyond, as more commodities exchanges and more tick information about current trades are added.

“FutureSource is positioning itself for continued leadership as a data provider to the expanding commodities markets,” said Janet Lustgarten, CEO of KX Systems. “By supporting more data sources and more details about each tick, FutureSource will continue to serve commodities traders as a single source for information and services. We are pleased that kdb is part of FutureSource’s strategic direction.” Consulting and implementation services for FutureSource were provided by Kx strategic partner Appian Corporation.


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