Stefan Ott, CEO and Founder, Confinity Solutions

In today’s modern era, IT organizations within the financial domain are increasingly moving toward automation, integration, and optimization throughout the transaction period to maintain market relevancy. Most computation occurs within distributed systems on multiple networks. These systems are fashioned to communicate and coordinate specified actions by circulating messages, leading to certain demanding latency requirements. The messaging systems should be capable of seamlessly supporting -ultra low latency and high message throughput with flexible message delivery, reliability, quick message filtering, high availability, and successful congestion control. But most financial organizations function within a competitive environment. This leads to the dire need for an application where latency is one of the critical design elements. However, most existing applications in the market encounter a myriad of difficulties with the influx of data and amalgamation of events they are designed to consume from the current and highly volatile market. Finding the right solution to work with can be a daunting task.

A game-changer, Confinity Solutions, headquartered in Germany with an offshore development center in India, comes to the fore with its novel Confinity Low Latency Messaging (CLLM) product, previously known as IBM Websphere MQ LLM. Perfectly aware that every organization’s key stakeholders’ job demands that decisions are taken instantaneously amidst high-pressure situations that depend on uninterrupted access to fast and advanced technologies, Confinity Solutions leverages its CLLM product to stay ahead of the game. The new hardware-accelerated version CLLM 4.0, running on XILINX AlveoFPGA boards, boasts its highly reliable and robust yet lowest latency and high throughput messaging infrastructure. “We focus on our core competencies, which are product skills and messaging know-how, and utilize our partner ecosystem to “act global but be local” to our customers,” says Stefan Ott, Founder & CEO, Confinity Solutions.

Offering a Comprehensive Suite of Services

Completely revamped to better suit customer requirements, some of the product’s core offerings are high-performance, efficient, fine-grained message filtering, message acknowledgment to increase desired reliability, message persistence for recovery and auditing, automated failover for high availability and monitoring and congestion control. The congestion control facility helps ensure that the infrastructure continues to perform even when connected applications are overburdened.

CLLM has been architected to build reliability for both unicast and multicast messaging, delving deeper into the product offering. The CLLM packet transport layer ensures reliability through a completely self-developed acknowledgment mechanism. Negative acknowledgments (NAKs) are supported for all transports, although due to TCP’s inherent reliability, negative acknowledgments are used only for stream failover in unicast messaging over TCP/IP. Multiple techniques like sliding repair window and duplicate NAK suppression are included to maximize reliability with minimal protocol overhead when utilizing NAKs. “This reliability level enables each client to either receive all the packets or to detect unrecoverable packet loss. Positive acknowledgment can also be used with non-TCP/IP communications to provide higher levels of reliability,” reveals Stefan.

Interestingly, a greater degree of reliability can be attained through positive acknowledgments (ACKs). For one-to-many communications, additional levels of reliability can be specified using the unique “Wait-NACK” feature. The feature-rich product promises flexibility in message delivery assurance which is essential for high-performance architectures that integrate different applications.

Ensuring Smooth Business Operations

One of the market-leading products that ensure reliable multi-packet message delivery, CLLM can also handle out-of-order packets and lost packets in the network. To control the packet order and allow receivers to detect missing packets and request their re-transmission, the transmitter sequentially numbers the packets it sends and treats the data flow as a packet stream. The streams are a fundamental concept of the packet transport layer. “The stream packets are sent out by a transmitter. Receivers join the multicast group that corresponds to the stream and receive the packets or listens to a specified port in the case of unicast transmission. If several streams use the same group, the stream ID included in each packet header is used to filter out irrelevant packets,” informs Stefan.

He goes on to tell us how the product is embedded with an ‘unreliable streaming’ transmission mode for real-time data, and other information feeds that do not require delivery assurances. This mode uses a ‘fire-and-forget’ approach where there is no re-transmission of packets. “Other applications will require reliable, in-order delivery of all stream packets,” reveals Stefan.

Driven by innovation, the message transport layer of the product is built on top of the packet transport layer. This approach assures reliable message delivery. It implements a publish/subscribe messaging model by mapping the message topics onto the packet transport streams. The service permits peer-to-peer data exchange. Here, any host can transmit and receive messages in a daemon-less fashion.

As we understand it, the basic limit to the reliability within CLLM is the size of the history buffer used to resend packets missed by a receiver. Keeping this in mind and working toward amplifying its size, the in-memory history buffer is furnished with the CLLM Message Store. The highly configurable feature is positioned to persist all delivered messages. Additionally, applications can utilize the CLLM Message Store to work around otherwise unrecoverable packet loss, retrieving messages from the disk store that are no longer available from the transmitter’s history buffer. “The Message Store can also be used to initialize a late-joining or restarted application into a given (current) state using a replay of messages from the store, minimizing the impact on the actual transmitter originating the messages,” adds Stefan.

Gaining a Strong Foothold in the Market

Having permeated the market a little over half a decade ago, Confinity Solutions commands quite the market presence today. Continually inspired by achieving superior levels of customer satisfaction, the company was established to acquire the source code of two products from IBM; WebSphere MQ LLM, a low-latency messaging software, and WebSphere Front Office (WFO), a market data distribution infrastructure. “Since then, Confinity Solutions served the market with its rebranded Confinity LLM (CLLM) product. We successfully migrated all ex-IBM customers onto CLLM and since then support our new and old customer base worldwide,” says Stefan. Some of the company’s well-renowned clientele predominantly belong to stock exchanges and broker firms with many tier 1 and tier 2 trading venues across the globe, including India, Taiwan, China, Australia, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, UK, Germany, and Russia.

Mapping Out the Future

Having carved a niche for themselves in the FinTech space, the team at Confinity Solutions envisions expanding its market share while simultaneously penetrating other industries. Constantly staying ahead of the emerging technologies curve, the company has identified the telecommunication and automotive industry to hold massive potential that they aim to tap into.

CLLM has been servicing the FinTech market only. However, the same and similar usage patterns for a reliable “one-to-many” (broadcast or multicast) messaging system exist in other industries as well. Embedding CLLM on an FPGA chip also allows Confinity Solutions to enter into the world of IoT. Stefan signs off, “For example, with the Automotive industry and autonomous driving, when cars need to communicate amongst each other and monitor traffic signs and traffic lights, CLLM can take over. Or in the telco industry with mobile communication and ‘real-time’ streaming or broadcast services on mobile devices, CLLM is ideally suited for this as well.”

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