BUSINESS OUTCOME: Seamless migration with the ability to maintain operations needed to trade trillions of dollars traded a day
The Foreign Exchange Market (Forex) is one of the largest and oldest markets existing. According to the Bank for International Settlements, average daily trading in the global foreign exchange markets is estimated at $3.21 trillion. Brokers are constantly buying and selling 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. They need to be continuously connected to view, monitor and trade in real time.
In this volatile market, every second of downtime can cost thousands of dollars. Gallant FX needed the infrastructure that could withstand this strenuous demand and provide dependable network uptime. They found that and much more at Rackspace.
Gallant FX Inc. is a Foreign Exchange liquidity provider that offers a wide range of trading technologies and services in a unique Forex Trading environment. Gallant VPS can be accessed on different operating systems—anytime, anywhere by hundreds of traders. MetaTrader is a trusted online trading platform designed for financial institutions dealing with Forex, Contracts for Difference (CFD) and futures market, and is used by hundreds of brokerage companies and banks worldwide.
One of the key benefits of using MetaTrader is script writing capabilities for automated trading called Expert Advisors. Expert Advisors (EA) are algorithms written by developers that enable trades to be placed on the MetaTrader without the user’s assistance. It is essentially a robot trading a client’s account according to the parameters that are set. A VPS creates a unique environment allowing the robot to trade up to 24 hours a day without MetaTrader running on a client’s PC.
One setback EA developers experience is pirating of software. If security measures are not met, especially in a Microsoft® Windows® Operating System, hackers can easily access code. Gallant runs on a UNIX environment. They chose a UNIX hosting server over a Microsoft operating system, because anyone with an internet connection can directly access their own MetaTrader platform, whether they’re running on Mac OSX, Windows or even their iPhone. Not only is it accessible, it is also safe.
“Customers are safe from IP theft and other software security issues found in the Windows Operating System (commonly found with all other VPS providers),” said Simon Grunfeld, President and CTO of Gallant FX Inc. “Whereas stealing someone’s IP is easy to do on a Window’s platform, it’s impossible to do on Gallant. There are a lot of pirated copies of these trading robots floating around on the Internet, but Gallant is the safest.”
Security isn’t the only issue for brokers in the Forex market. With trillions of dollars traded per day, 100% uptime is crucial and can make or break a business. End-users need constant live access to monitor and execute trades. Gallant FX needed a provider that is proven to be trusted, reliable and user-friendly. They also needed the hardware that would withstand heavy demand. “We needed a lot of handholding in the beginning. We had some software knowledge in-house but lacked the networking and equipment,” Grunfeld explained.
Failed attempts to co-locate and host with lower-end hosting providers eventually led them to Rackspace. But it took several issues and incidents to finally motivate them to make the switch. Servers crashed because they couldn’t handle the load. Upgrades were lacking and required slow turnarounds. Hours were wasted trying to deal with customer support. Gallant’s clients needed a name they could trust when it came to hosting. With Rackspace, they found a home for their application that they and their customers could count on.
Gallant FX came online with Rackspace in November of 2008 and immediately found itself in need of rapid scaling abilities. They started with a simple configuration and within the same afternoon found themselves needing more servers. Gallant placed a call to their Rackspace Support Team, who quickly coordinated a move in the data center to accommodate their needs. A day ahead of schedule, the data center move was completed with no interruption.The following day, Gallant requested three more servers for additional scale. Rackspace realized the rate of growth Gallant was experiencing was exceptional, and within 36 hours, the 3-server deployment was completed—from conception to online.
Gallant FX has large plans for the future that include Rackspace. On the horizon are aspirations to build mainstream platforms beyond MetaTrader and aggregation quote engines. In the immediate future, they have an important project lined up. This January, Gallant FX will be the technology sponsor for “Man vs. Machine,” a Forex trading contest that pits humans against automated trading bots. This ten-week competition will simultaneously run thousands of automated trading systems (Machine) and manual trades by hand (Man) to see who earns the most. With over a thousand developers and trading systems running on its infrastructure, Gallant is working closely with their Rackspace Support Team to determine what steps are necessary to ensure uptime and avoid any interruptions.
For Gallant FX, Rackspace has been a great infrastructure partner. Their website boasts, “We choose Rackspace, due to the quality and level of service: on-site, 24x7x365 administrative support that monitors and takes preventative measures, to remove any possibility of downtime. No other hosting company provides this type of infrastructure.” Rackspace support and monitoring are crucial to Gallant FX, which only has one lead tech on staff.
Gallant FX has called on Rackspace to advise them on the type of configurations needed to build out their application. In the midst of a recent account review, Rackspace proactively caught an additional OS upgrade that slipped under the radar. They quickly implemented necessary changes to prevent any interruptions in their connectivity.
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