EXANTE is a new-generation prime broker initially created for hedge funds, asset managers and algorithmic traders. It took EXANTE only four years to occupy the leading positions as an international broker, which, to a great extent, can be credited to the high-quality IT infrastructure supported within the company. Considerable funds were invested into in-house software development and creation of a well thought-out hardware environment. Currently, EXANTE gives access to several dozens of markets and over 35,000 financial instruments, all of which can be traded from a single account in the in-house developed automated trading platform or via FIX API.
Today we meet Sergey Troshin, EXANTE’s Infrastructure Director, the person who stood at the origin of the successful international broker’s technical environment, and who continues developing its infrastructure.
― Sergey, what is so special about EXANTE’s technical infrastructure?
EXANTE strives to give its clients direct access to the market in the first place. We supply our clients with up-to-date market data and let them trade directly at on the exchanges. Our engineers allocate the company’s servers in the direct physical proximity of exchange servers. It helps us to drastically speed up the processes of receiving and normalizing quotes, presenting them to the clients and transferring their orders to the exchange. All of our servers located in stock exchange data centers are duplicated. Moreover, apart from the servers in stock exchange data centers, we have a significant number of back-up servers located in other secure data centers around the world, which guarantees stability. The implemented architecture ensures that problems that may arise on a market or in one data center will not affect the operation of the whole system. All these factors account for the security and stability of the environment, which serves the needs of both manual and algorithmic trading.
― Could you please tell us more about manual trading: what is important to know about it?
Most EXANTE servers are located in Europe. They collect real-time market data from all stock exchanges and convert them into internal format. The clients obtain these converted market data and place orders through our UI (User Interface) servers. The trading platform installed on the client’s desktop automatically connects to one of the nearest UI-servers to ensure minimal delays.
For our clients to get a better understanding of what the trading platform is, and whether it fulfills all of their needs, we support the demo version. The demo environment is a full-function copy of the live application that allows evaluating the convenience of its use. The access to the demo is granted to all our new clients even before they go through the formal procedure of account opening.
― What if the client wants to take up algorithmic trading?
In most cases algorithmic trading is very sensitive to the data delays. EXANTE understands it, so, while our UI servers are located mostly in Europe, the company’s FIX servers are distributed all over the globe. The clients who use FIX API have a wide choice of options that allow them to find an optimal balance between delays and connection stability. EXANTE generally offers two efficient connection options: either to the server located near the stock exchange, or the machine that is closer to the client.
― But a simple connection to the markets is not sufficient: traders would also want to get up-to-date account status.
Exactly, and this is the reason why EXANTE is so proud of our automated back office system that is designed to collect the market data, the information about clients, their bids and actions, and to update the client accounts in the real time. So, when trading, our clients instantly get reports on the revenues and expenditures, and can view the information through the trading platform user interface, on the website, or get it via FIX API. The accounts are concurrently processed on several back office servers, which helps speed up the calculation and ensures stability.
― Is there any special quality assurance procedure when it comes to updating EXANTE products?
All products developed by EXANTE undergo three stages of quality assurance. The greater part of tests is done automatically, but the company also disposes of a full-function environment for load testing. All products are thoroughly tested in this environment.
― Judging by what you have just told us, the technical base of your company should be rather extensive, right?
Of course, the operations support and constant development of the company with obligatory rigorous quality assurance processes dictate the necessity of well-developed and powerful infrastructure. Multiple data backups, simultaneous calculation of multiple account balances in the real time, testing of new products and services in virtual environments, orders processing and traders’ algorithms execution – and processing of an enormous amount of data received from dozens of markets on top of that – requires an extensive equipment fleet. As of the end of 2014, the total number of EXANTE’s servers exceeds 300, and there is much more to come: the company is not planning to ease up.