A reconfigurable tick squeezer?

This headline caught my attention today:

Vhayu Introduces Hardware Compression for Its Tick Database
Combining Vhayu Velocity with an FPGA, Squeezer compresses data by a factor of four with no performance penalty, says the vendor.

My first thoughts on seeing that headline were:

  • Is there really such a large database on ticks that hardware compression is required?
  • Would somebody actually call such a tool, “Squeezer”?
  • Is this April 1st?

On further reading, however, I realized that “tick” means “ticker”, as in market trading data.


In fact, feed handling is a domain in which FPGAs are starting to gain significant traction. It’s all about getting the lowest possible latency: data comes directly into the system from a market feed source, and a hardware-based algorithm makes a split-second trading decision based on observed patterns. A sudden downturn in the price on key indicator stocks, for example. Or a spiking in oil prices, or a drop in the Brazilian Real, or whatever.

The trading house, hedge fund or bank that sees the pattern and reacts first is that one that wins. And so it’s a latency war out there. FPGAs represent one solution to the latency problem, and have been deployed in numerous trading-related market data appliances.

I like this quote attributed to Jeff Hudson, Vhayu CEO:

“It’s a hybrid software/hardware world we’re entering now, and those companies that embrace it will prosper and those that don’t will fall way behind.”


See also: High Frequency Traders Get Boost From FPGA Acceleration


1 Comment

Filed under News Shmews, Reconshmiguration

One response to “A reconfigurable tick squeezer?

  1. The article had an interesting quote:

    “Some Wall Street executives interested in using FPGAs to accelerate applications, or portions of them, however, have expressed the concern that it’s hard to find programmers who are skilled at writing applications for FPGAs.”

    I commented on this situation in my blog. My opinion is that FPGA vendors need to stop selling HDL-execution systems and start selling programmable arrays again.

    Programmable arrays have been the primary computational metaphor used by financial services since before they even had electronic computers to iterate their spreadsheets for them.

    Thanks for the link, I linked back.

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