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Taming the Beast: Exegy announces FIX processing with FPGA

Introducing a purpose-built solution to handle the complexity of FIX while dramatically improving performance

St. Louis, New York, Paris – October 26, 2023 – Exegy, a leading developer of high-performance trading solutions for the financial industry, is today announcing that FIX protocol support is now available on nxFramework, an FPGA-based development framework designed to reduce server resource consumption by as much as 10-20 times. This industry-first solution is purpose-built to reduce costs and accelerate time-to-production when developing ultra-low latency trading systems.

This latest, market-driven innovation is made possible with the addition of a cutting-edge FIX engine, which is seamlessly integrated into nxFramework. Exegy harnessed its deep expertise in FPGA technology to offload FIX protocol processing to the FPGA, ensuring lower latency and a dramatic reduction in server load, freeing up more CPU cores for business-critical processes.

Olivier Cousin, Director, FPGA Solutions at Exegy, says: “What distinguishes our FIX engine from the myriad of in-house solutions and third-party alternatives is our utilization of FPGAs, making it possible to offload the management of hundreds of sessions to the FPGA while using only two CPU cores. This would typically require 20 to 40 cores – in other words, entire servers would need to be dedicated just to processing the protocol. Our engine allows valuable computational resources to go toward powering the user’s applications.”

He adds: “Clients without in-house FPGA resources can still benefit from the power of FPGAs using Exegy’s expertise. We’re able to deliver the best of all worlds: faster, better, more cost-effective processing for FIX traffic, something no one else has achieved.”

The FIX protocol is a market standard for electronic messaging, facilitating the exchange of market data and trade information between financial entities, such as investment banks and broker-dealers. However, although designed to be flexible and extensible, it comes at the cost of efficiency. Processing large volumes of FIX traffic using standard, software-based architectures is very resource-hungry, using multiple CPU cores.

Brokers and exchanges can utilize the nxFramework FIX engine for mission-critical tasks, such as a matching engine, market data publishers, and pre-trade risk check gateways. Using pre-configured templates to validate FIX messages, the solution filters out unnecessary data by offloading significant processing from software to the FPGA. This ensures that valuable software resources are allocated much more efficiently.

The solution bridges the gap between hardware and software by offering a flexible, software-configurable, FPGA-based FIX stack and offers several advantages, including:

  • The manipulation of data streams in a deterministic and low latency manner.
  • The ability to modify data content on the fly and retransmit altered FIX messages without exiting the FPGA, across numerous sessions.
  • Reduced power consumption and lower operational costs.
  • A comprehensive set of software libraries designed to configure, monitor, and support the IP cores, allowing for seamless integration with existing infrastructure and lowering time-to-production.
  • Simple, dedicated APIs to control the TCP stack, configure the FIX offload engine, and handle the FIX sessions, all fully managed in software.
  • Intuitive development environment and support for various third-party FPGA platforms with diverse capabilities covering industry leading smart NICs and smart switches.

Exegy’s commitment to advancing the landscape of financial technology is underscored by this innovative FIX engine, integrated seamlessly within the nxFramework. This powerful, cutting-edge technology helps clients achieve unparalleled performance and efficiency.

To learn more, check out our blog post for a detailed look into the nxFramework FIX engine.