LEADING BANKS JOIN STAC BENCHMARK COUNCIL
JPMC, HSBC, Citi, and five more firms kick off effort to standardize metrics NEW YORK - HIGH PERFORMANCE ON WALL STREET CONFERENCE - 17 SEPTEMBER 2007. The Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC) today announced the formation of the STAC Benchmark Council, an organization devoted to the creation and management of customer-driven benchmark standards for trading technology. The Council launches with eight of the world's leading securities firms as charter members, including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and HSBC. Background: Trading firms today face increasingly difficult technical requirements, as competition and regulation force them to reduce information latency and cope with increasing transaction and data volumes. Vendors are offering major performance innovations at every layer of the technology "stack," from more efficient software to more advanced processors and faster networks. But evaluating this new technology accurately and quickly has become a key challenge for the industry. One of the barriers has been a lack of standardized benchmarks that enable a customer to make apples-to-apples comparisons between new technologies and the customer's existing systems. STAC Benchmarks respond to this need by measuring the performance of key capital markets workloads when applied to a given "stack under test”" In particular, STAC has announced three sets of benchmarks, corresponding to the three basic steps in making a trade: - STAC-M (market data): benchmarks based on workloads such as direct exchange-feed integration, market data distribution, tick storage and retrieval, etc. - STAC-A (analysis): benchmarks based on workloads such as trading algorithms, price generation, risk calculation, etc. - STAC-E (execution): benchmarks based on workloads such as smart order routing, execution-related messaging, etc. STAC Benchmarks will measure the performance of software such as market data systems, messaging middleware, and complex event processing systems (CEP), as well as new underlying technologies, such as hardware-based feed and messaging solutions, hardware-based analytics accelerators, compute and data grid solutions, InfiniBand and 10-gigabit Ethernet networks, multicore processors, and the latest operating system and server technologies. STAC Benchmarks are different from existing benchmark standards because they focus on realistic capital markets workloads rather than generic transactions or micro-level processor and network operations. They are also unique in that they are governed by customers. Vendors are allowed to provide input to the benchmark specifications, but only customers have voting rights. Even STAC does not have voting rights on the specifications. The Council's initial focus is on STAC-M benchmarks, particularly direct feed solutions and market data distribution. The Council is currently reviewing the 0.5 draft of the STAC-M specifications and is due to finalize the specs by the end of 2007. Membership in the STAC Benchmark Council is open to all trading firms, with membership fees waived for 2007. Firms that join by November 30 will have the opportunity to vote on the 1.0 STAC-M specification. All vendors of products for use in the trading process can join the Council as Contributing Members. Interested firms should visit the STAC Council page. "Both customers and vendors tell us that benchmarks that directly relate to customer workloads are very useful," said Peter Lankford, STAC Director. "And both camps believe that putting customers in control of benchmark standards makes perfect sense. STAC is uniquely positioned to facilitate this process, which we believe will reduce the cost of technology evaluation and fuel further innovation for the capital markets."
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