The STAC Benchmark Council is a group of 40 leading trading firms and technology vendors that was formed one year ago to develop standard ways of measuring the performance of trading technologies (see www.STACresarch.com/council). STAC-M1 is the first benchmark suite to be approved by the Council. It measures the latency, throughput, power efficiency, and other key characteristics of solutions for handling high-speed market data from exchanges. The specifications can be adapted to any exchange feed. The first variant, STAC-M1.OPRAâ¢, is adapted for the US options market, the worldâs most prodigious real-time data producer.
In addition to benchmarks for low-latency market data technology, the Council is currently developing specifications in event processing and high-speed messaging, and in 2009 will expand to trade execution and risk management.
STAC has also released STAC Toolsâ¢ to support the STAC-M1 specifications. These tools enable trading firms and technology vendors to run the standard benchmarks in their own labs. For the first time, all providers and users of trading technology can make exact, apples-to-apples performance comparisons.
âThis could not have come at a better time for the securities industry,â said Peter Lankford, director of STAC. âMany securities firms are under intense cost pressure, but if they are slow to adopt new technology, they will get out-smarted in fast markets. Trading groups simply cannot afford to make mistakes with their technology investments, but their processes for finding the right technology mix are expensive and slow. STAC Benchmarks and STAC Tools change the game. These best-of-breed standards slash the cost of technology R&D for trading firms. By simplifying the testing process and producing results that can be compared precisely with published benchmarks, STAC standards dramatically improve the productivity of a trading firmâs engineers.â