How Low Can Latency Go?

By Derrick Harris

October 29, 2007

I’ve decided to keep my comments brief this week, as I have on more than one occasion over the past several months used this forum to espouse the relationship between grid computing and the financial services space. That being said, however, this week’s lead story about GigaSpaces’ role in the financial world, CMO Geva Perry cites as business-critical a few capabilities of the GigaSpaces platform that, based solely on other announcements from this week’s issue, seem to be dead-on.

To begin with, Perry, along with Commerzbank’s Sebastian Titakis, makes no bones about the importance of low latency in the financial datacenter, especially as it relates to trading environments. This notion is backed up by “FSMLabs Lowers Latency for Wall Street,” as well as “Corvil Delivers Low-Latency Networking Breakthrough.” In the former, FSMLabs touts a new product, Real-TimeNet, that promises data transmission “at the lowest possible latency,” guaranteeing a maximum one-way transmission length of 25 microseconds. In the latter announcement, Corvil purports its new CorvilNet 4.0, which was designed with electronic trading and grid computing in mind, provides “detailed bandwidth and quality of service provisioning recommendations, which the user can apply directly to achieve desired network performance.”

Although not addressed directly, latency also is inherently referenced in “Oracle 11g Available on Windows” and “SL Corp. Extends Data Grid Monitoring for Oracle Coherence.” Obviously, Oracle is concerned about latency with its flagship 11g database solution, and Coherence is its Tangosol-acquired technology that addresses latency in the data grid/distributed database-style that GigaSpaces utilizes in its software.

Aside from simply distributing data in-memory to lower latency, Perry also notes GigaSpaces’ use of “data affinity,” which he describes as making sure the right data is located with the appropriate business logic, to tackle latency issues. Coincidentally, Appistry last week announced version 3.7 of its Enterprise Application Fabric (EAF), which is highlighted by a new feature called – you guessed it – Affinity. According to the announcement, “Affinity allows work assigned to a fabric to be located on machines containing the data necessary for its processing. This eliminates the latency, bottlenecks and performance degradation associated with pulling large amounts of data from external databases or file systems.”

By continuing to increase the feature set and the capabilities of its EAF, Appistry is nipping at GigaSpaces’ heels in the application platform market. As I’m sure I’ve said before, it will be interesting to see how this rivalry (if you want to call it that) plays out. As of now, GigaSpaces is strong in the financial sector while Appistry seems to be focusing on the geospatial market, but both clearly are applicable across market lines.

In other news, and there was a lot of it last week, be sure to read about DataSynapse moving into Korea; IBM developing a new research model; Brocade unveiling its Data Center Fabric; ISV Callidus doubling its on-demand subscribers; and Citrix announcing its new virtualization strategy, based on the technology it acquired in its recent XenSource acquisition.

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Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at [email protected].

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