The Backbone of Wall Street Technology: Fast Data

Since the dawn of digitized trading, Fast Data has formed the backbone of Wall Street technology. Digital market data feeds, FIX messages, and high-speed, low-latency messaging—it’s all about data in motion, not just data at rest.

TIBCO recently released a “whiteboard” showing our view of the modern Fast Data architecture for the capital markets. Since StreamBase was acquired 18 months ago, I’ve marveled at the depth and breadth of the commitment TIBCO has to not only supporting TIBCO’s legacy of real-time data processing, but also in advancing the state of the art.


TIBCO’s focus for this architecture has been on one thing: to make it stunningly simple to build sophisticated applications that process data in motion, and to manage and provide intelligent operational control over a complex environment that can easily change state over 100 million times every day.

TIBCO’s history with Fast Data started with messaging that began with TIBCO’s Rendezvous to our newest FTL (Faster than Light) and eFTL (web-based) messaging technology. TIBCO has always been on the forefront of building the best backbone to transport Fast Data within the capital markets today.

In recent years, event processing has taken center stage, including event-based rules (BusinessEvents), streaming analytics (StreamBase), and transactional event-based systems (BEX) that have become the go-to tools for streaming data application development of not just trading applications, but also customer service, transaction processing, compliance, and risk management.

Our most recent product innovation, the TIBCO Live Datamart, has taken off like a rocket ship on Wall Street. The live data mart was invented in partnership with capital markets firms in 2011. The goal they set was simple: give me an end-user tool that allows anyone to analyze any of 100s of millions of trading events a day, with just a few milliseconds of latency between the time something happens and an operational staff (trader, compliance staff, risk management staff) can slice and dice it.

Based on those requirements, we built the industry’s only live data mart—an in-memory, streaming data cache (read technical paper here) with a continuous query mechanism which enables any user in the bank to query streaming data that is up to date in milliseconds, any time any event happens throughout the infrastructure, all   using an end-user graphical UI.  Since its invention, the live data mart has been deployed in dozens of trading applications and use cases, as well as in retail for managing real-time customer interaction, deploying real-time analytics to detect fraud, and continuous event-driven security applications.

Finally, the fusion of streaming analytics with interactive, predictive analytics is an area that TIBCO uniquely attacks in conjunction with Spotfire and our real-time, enterprise version of R, which was lauded by Forbes in a recent piece by Dan Woods.

It’s hard to get all of that into one four-minute whiteboard, but we took a shot at explaining the modern Fast Data architecture as TIBCO continues its mission to provide the best and most innovative infrastructure for one of the most demanding industries in the world­—the capital markets.