STAC Releases New Market Data Benchmark with Results from Kx and Oracle

21 Jun 2010 | , , , , ,
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New York (21 Jun 2010) – The Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC®) today released STAC-M3TM Benchmark results for a solution from Kx Systems and Oracle Corporation. STAC-M3 provides a common measuring methodology for solutions that manage large timeseries datasets (tick databases). The measurement standard is currently a community proposal developed by the STAC Benchmark Council, comprised of trading organizations and vendors. The Council defines a series of standard benchmarks for capital market workloads, though interestingly only trading organizations – and not vendors – can approve specific tests, which ensures the benchmarks have relevance to real-world trading demands. To complete the inaugural benchmark testing on timeseries data, Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) worked with Kx Systems, using Kx’s kdb+. The results have now set the standard for a series of benchmark tests to be carried out over the next few months.

The ability to quickly analyze timeseries of price and trade data is crucial for firms which trade financial instruments such as stocks, currencies, options and other derivatives. The growth of high-frequency trading makes it important for firms to rapidly store, retrieve and analyze massive quantities of data in order to back-test new trading algorithms, monitor their risk, and satisfy regulatory demands. At the same time, surging data volumes brought about by computerized trading make these tasks increasingly challenging in markets which can ‘tick’ (publish changes to prices) millions of times per second.

Peter Lankford, founder & director of STAC, said: “We’re pleased that Kx and Oracle have taken the lead in publishing STAC-M3 Benchmarks. This testing responds to a direct need for performance data expressed by some of the world’s leading financial institutions. We look forward to further benchmark results from Kx and Oracle, as well as other vendors of software and hardware that can be used for managing large timeseries of data.”

Simon Garland, Kx chief strategist, said: “We have worked closely with STAC and Oracle to create benchmarks. Going forward, the benchmarks will give financial institutions clearly defined criteria for measuring the performance of their systems. When setting up large, critical databases, people need to be sure that the configuration they use is delivering the best possible performance within their hardware and software constraints. The problem is nobody has the time and resources to do an in-depth evaluation of all the alternatives and ideally to regularly revisit the chosen solution. These new benchmarks from STAC are valuable components of these decisions.”

This series of tests is designed to set a standard for future benchmarks to be carried out by STAC in conjunction with various vendors. The results are vital for financial institutions needing to address their CEP requirements, facing the pressures of constantly increasing data volumes and regulatory demands. The STAC-M3 Benchmark suite is the first benchmark standard for market data timeseries (tick) databases, allowing vendors to measure their performance and financial institutions to test their own systems.

The STAC-M3 Benchmark standards will accelerate market selection of new technologies by enabling user firms and vendors to measure the performance of their database solutions in a common way. Trading firms will be able to quickly assess the benefit of innovations at all layers of the tick-database ‘stack’ including application software, operating systems, processors, servers, and storage architectures.

Amir Halfon, Oracle’s senior director of financial services technology, added: “Oracle’s unique storage server, the Sun Fire X4540, allowed us to achieve extreme performance with Kx by placing the data as close to the CPUs as possible. The Sun Fire X4540 provides fast, high throughput access between the threads of execution and the storage subsystem, offering up to 96TB of storage in a compact, cost-effective package. The tight integration between compute and storage within the Sun Fire X4540 eliminates the need for an external SAN and provides an ideal platform for high-performance analytics solutions such as Kx kdb+.”

The STAC-verified benchmarks were carried out using Kx kdb+ v2.6 on the Oracle Sun Fire X4540 storage server using version 0.92 of the STAC-M3 Benchmark specifications. STAC-M3 v0.92 has been submitted to the full Council for ratification, and a vote is pending.

The benchmark report is available at www.STACresearch.com/kx.

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