Upgrading with Ab Initio

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Ab Initio UpgradeModern financial markets see trillions of dollars in business pass through them every day, and the exchanges that facilitate these transactions must be able to keep up efficiently. 

At the core of these exchanges lie complex trade-management systems that accept and process from the exchanges’ trading platforms in real-time. These systems must be capable of validating trades, publishing trade history for auditing purposes, daily trade clearing, and providing a messaging service for members of the exchange to allow updating and querying trade information. Updating such a system is a complex endeavor. One of the world’s main exchanges had been updating and maintaining their system for 20 years, and began to realize it needed to be replaced. 

The risk and cost of rewriting such a system in low-level languages, such as Java and C++ took that option out of the question, and high-level languages would not be able to provide the necessary scalability or performance. So, a combination of obsolete hardware and software, coupled with flexibility and scalability issues that need to be resolved, drove the exchange to seek new technology to rework and update their old system.

The exchange set out a number of goals for Ab Initio in a POC. More specifically, Ab Initio was challenged to replicate some of the key aspects of the exchange’s trade-management system. The aim of the POC was to see if the technology could: keep up with current and future peak trade volumes, provide a reliable trade architecture, and provide a significant increase in productivity. Additionally, the exchange’s development team (used to working with traditional languages) needed to be convinced that Ab Initio’s solution was the way to go.

The joint Ab Initio/exchange team set to work on the POC, developing new ideas and strategies. Notably, it was discovered that just 3 cores of a modern Linux blade, a dramatic improvement from the previous hardware requirements, were needed to handle a crucial part of the exchange’s system. The team also developed a new robust and flexible architecture for the trade-management system, capable of adapting to changing circumstances in the industry, such as implementing new trade products.

In the span of only a month, all of the numerical and architectural requirements outlined in the POC were met, including convincing the exchange development team. The team saw that the system would be ten times more productive with Ab Initio, rather than with a standard third generation languages. With the POC finished, an internal project plan was drawn up, which included a conservative estimate that the whole effort would be 40% with Ab Initio.

The new system went live in 2010, and since then it has been implemented in exchanges worldwide. This project is a demonstration of many things we at Acrisel can appreciate: quick and agile execution, a joint effort between two teams that produces something remarkable, and a flexible and robust final solution. This is why we, along with companies all over the world choose Ab Initio for effective IT solutions.