IBM Releases First Stac Benchmarks of a Messaging System

20 November 2009

The Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC®) today announced that IBM is the first company to release audited STAC-M2 Benchmarks™ of its products.

STAC-M2â„¢ is the first multi-vendor standard to test the ability of a messaging system to distribute market data for demanding purposes such as high-frequency trading. STAC-M2 was developed by the STAC Benchmark Council, a global industry body consisting of leading trading organizations and vendors that develops standard benchmarks for trading technology. Only end-user firms such as brokers, proprietary trading firms, and exchanges are able to vote on the STAC Benchmarkâ„¢ standards, keeping the tests focused on real business needs.

Version 1.0 of STAC-M2, approved in September of this year, 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. In addition to generating baseline metrics during undisturbed message flow, the tests also examine common real-world problems such as slow consumers.

Vendor and customer members of the Council can use the STAC-M2 Test Harnessâ„¢ software to run tests in the privacy of their own labs. Vendors wishing to share results with customers can make STAC-audited reports public, or they can disclose unaudited results through the STAC Vault, a confidential repository available only to Council members.

IBM asked STAC to audit and release STAC-M2 Benchmarks of a messaging stack consisting of IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging (LLM), Red Hat Enterprise Linux, quad-data rate (QDR) InfiniBand from Voltaire and Mellanox, and IBM blade servers using Intel X5570 (“Nehalem”) processors. In use cases where latency is a key end-user priority, this LLM stack demonstrated 99th percentile latency of 18 microseconds or less at message rates up to 1 million messages per second. Standard deviation of latency in these cases did not exceed 3 microseconds.

Highlights of the STAC Reportâ„¢ are available to the public at www.STACresearch.com/ibm, while the full STAC Report is reserved for members of the Council with an appropriate subscription.

"IBM is proud to have participated in the independent, vendor-neutral, and customer-defined STAC-M2 Benchmark test suite for high speed, low-latency messaging," said Guy Tagliavia, Director, IBM SWG WebSphere Front Office and Low Latency Messaging. “These results reaffirm that, with its significant latency and throughput capabilities, IBM's technology offers significant competitive advantage, scaling, and value-proposition when powering the most demanding messaging environments."

Peter Lankford, Founder and Director of STAC said: “The era of comparable messaging benchmarks has now begun. While STAC has benchmarked messaging systems before, this is the first to use the customer-approved test specifications developed by the STAC Benchmark Council. We are pleased that IBM has shown leadership by publicly subjecting its software and hardware to these rigorous standards. We look forward to further benchmark results from IBM and other vendors of software, hardware, and networks that are used for messaging. Whether or not performance is the compelling factor in a purchasing decision, customers usually need to verify that a solution meets their minimum performance requirements. STAC-M2 now serves as a common language in which to conduct that dialog.”

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