Benchmark Council approves Stac-M2 specifications

Source: Securities Technology Analysis Center

The Securities Technology Analysis Center (Stac) today announced that the Stac Benchmark Council has approved the Stac-M2 Benchmark specifications.

STAC-M2 is the first multi-vendor standard for testing the ability of messaging systems to distribute market data for demanding purposes such as high-frequency trading.

The STAC Benchmark Council is a global industry body made up of leading trading organizations and vendors, facilitated by STAC. The Council develops standard benchmarks for trading technology. Only end-user firms such as brokers, proprietary trading firms, exchanges, and dark pools are able to vote on the STAC Benchmark(TM) standards, keeping the benchmarks focused on real business needs.

The STAC-M2 working group that developed these specifications consisted of seven leading trading organizations and five vendors of high-performance messaging. Version 1.0 of STAC-M2 draws from equities and options use cases such as black-box trading, market making, and smart order routing. It provides key performance metrics such as latency, throughput, power efficiency, and CPU/memory consumption under several scenarios. The test specs are valid for any architecture (brokerless or brokered, appliance or software, Ethernet or InfiniBand, etc.). In addition to generating baseline metrics during undisturbed message flow, the tests also examine common real-world problems such as slow consumers and the loss and recovery of a group of trading applications.

In parallel with STAC-M2, STAC has also introduced a new way of disclosing benchmarks called the STAC Vault. The Vault is a private repository of benchmark results that only Council members can access. By submitting results to the STAC Vault, vendors can efficiently share multi-dimensional performance results with multiple trading organizations outside of the public eye.

Members of the Council can also use the STAC-M2 Test Harnesses in their own labs to benchmark their existing systems. This enables a trading firm to privately "mark its system to market," comparing it to published benchmarks of the latest commercially available techn available technologies. The result is insight into which kinds of hardware, software, or network upgrades have the most potential to boost the firm's performance.

Bob Heuman, Director, Investment Banking Technology at Deutsche Bank said: "I'm pleased with the way that the messaging vendors responded to customer demand for common, meaningful measurement standards. The power of the STAC-M2 benchmark is that it is a suite, not just a single number. It allows each firm to focus on aspects of functionality that are the most critical for their applications when comparing products."

Peter Lankford, Founder and Director of STAC said: "The STAC-M2 working group has done a superb job developing specifications that are both technically insightful and easy for customers and vendors to use. No proprietary equipment is required for the harness, and most of the benchmarking process is automated, from scenario configuration to report generation. The business process is also straightforward. Vendor members can use the Test Harnesses and publish results to the Vault for no charge, while end-user members can access STAC-M2 reports and use the STAC-M2 Test Harnesses for a single, inexpensive subscription. Nearly all of the vendors of low-latency messaging solutions are now active in the Council, so STAC-M2 will be an increasingly valuable resource for trading organizations."

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