March 2014 - sponsored by: Azul Systems; Quincy Data; Thomson Reuters
Welcome to the Latency Games
Whether you consider it a modern classic or not, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins teaches a valuable lesson about competition. The moral of the story is akin to Aesop's Tortoise and the Hare fable, in which an over-confident bunny takes a nap mid-race and loses to a slow-moving tortoise. You don't have to be the fastest to win the race.
When I joined Inside Market Data three years ago, the buzz around latency was at fever pitch and the race to zero was dominated by firms with fat wallets who could afford to spend millions to save a few microseconds.
Since then, the fervor has cooled, but as Bill Ruvo, global business head of real-time feeds at Thomson Reuters, notes in a sponsored statement Latency: Dead or Just Misunderstood? on page 12 of this report, the industry now operates all along the latency spectrum. Many firms have realized that they can be fast if not the fastest, and still be successful, while the commoditization of low-latency technology means that most can operate at the edge, if not the bleeding edge.
Indeed, some might argue that the latency race has evolved into something much more strategic; the Latency Games. And just like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, firms are doing everything to make sure the odds are in their favor.
Take for example, latency monitoring, which has moved beyond the simple measurement of latency to actively predicting where latency issues might occur in the future. The most successful players are those whose networks are most reliable, whose packets are most consistent, and whose feeds are jitter-free. Meanwhile, in the network space, firms are starting to experiment with microwave technology, recognizing that a hybrid of fiber and microwave might be better suited to their needs.
In this new world, the winners might not be the fastest, but they play the game the best. So welcome, welcome, welcome to the Latency Games! May the odds be ever in your favor.
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