“In fast-growing economies like China’s, any core financial solution that is put into place can expect continual tests of its performance, scalability and reliability. By choosing proven database system, OS and server technology, the Dalian Commodity Exchange has laid a solid foundation from which to meet, and benefit from, future challenges and opportunities,” Steve Graves, McObject CEO, said.
The eXtremeDB-based trading system’s release caps more than two years of research and development by DCE to create a new technology platform with the highest degree of reliability, performance, and expandability. At the end of 2004, exchange officials decided to migrate from self-developed real-time data management code to a commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) database system in the upcoming Dalian Commodity Exchange Information System version 6.0 (DCEISV6), the software platform that executes all trades. (Long term data storage was already provided in an Oracle enterprise database).
Real-time performance is a “must” for financial trading applications, so exchange officials sought a commercial in-memory database system (IMDS). By eliminating physical disk access as well as caching logic and other sources of processing overhead, IMDSs such as eXtremeDB-64 deliver real-time responsiveness demanded in many application categories that cannot tolerate the response latency of on-disk database systems.
By integrating a proven commercial database system with DCEISV6, the Dalian Commodity Exchange planned to achieve lower downtime and obtain a more efficient development environment, support for the widely-used SQL database interface, and greater flexibility in extending and updating the electronic trading platform.
The new DCEISV6, launched in early 2007, incorporates eXtremeDB-64 running on HP-UX 11i on an HP Integrity rx4640 server. “Within the application, eXtremeDB-64 manages approximately 8 GB of trading data in memory, and its support for transactions has contributed significantly to robustness,” a Dalian Commodity Exchange IT expert said.
“The nature of our exchange application requires multiple updates to complete in a single operation, to maintain data consistency. Developing this capability is time-consuming, especially when multiple processes must access the database. eXtremeDB-64 gives us an off-the-shelf transaction mechanism that is both proven in many deployments, and optimized for high throughput,” he said.
The Dalian Commodity Exchange also benefited from the development ease offered by eXtremeDB-64’s native application programming interface (API), and from its optional industry-standard SQL API, the Dalian IT official said.
Using the native API, the developer focuses on the data definition first, and then generates the API from this definition via eXtremeDB-64’s schema compiler. Because interface functions stem directly from an application’s data model, they are intuitive for developers to use and present a minimal learning curve compared to the “one size fits all” interfaces provided in most database systems. In addition, eXtremeDB-64 offers sophisticated debugging features, and supports virtually all data types and querying methods.
Virtually all of the DCEISV6 runtime code uses the native API, to minimize processing overhead and deliver real-time performance. However, users may also take advantage of McObject’s eXtremeSQL, a high-performance implementation of the SQL database API. eXtremeSQL is more efficient when a higher level of access would be beneficial, such as in ad hoc queries, reporting data from multiple tables or performing aggregation, the Dalian Commodity Exchange IT expert said. eXtremeSQL also offers the benefit of familiarity, since SQL is commonly used in the financial and banking industries.
Because the eXtremeDB-64 in-memory database can be easily extended by adding new indexes and tables, and because using a commercial database system naturally separates application logic from database logic, the new DCEISV6 is expected to accommodate upgrades and new features more easily than before, the Dalian source said.
“Financial exchange organizations are under an immense amount of pressure to keep trading operations running all of the time, so they need technology solutions that offer the always-on reliability that they demand,” said Lorraine Bartlett, director of Integrity server marketing, Business Critical Systems, HP. “By using McObject’s real-time 64-bit in-memory database on HP Integrity servers running the HP-UX 11i operating system, the Dalian Commodity exchange will be able to experience the highest degree of performance, continuity of service and adaptability to future system needs.”
About Dalian Commodity Exchange
The Dalian Commodity Exchange, founded on February 28, 1993, is one of four futures exchanges in China. As a self-regulated, non-profit organization, the DCE, by strictly enforcing government regulations and exchange rules, has steadily grown to become China’s biggest agricultural commodities futures trading center. Currently listed futures products are non-genetically modified soybean, genetically modified soybean, soybean meal, soybean oil, corn, LLDPE (Linear Low Density Polyethylene), and malting barley. The exchange is now the world's second largest corn futures market.
In recent years, the DCE has actively sought international cooperation and expansion. It is a member institution of both the U.S. Futures Industry Association and the U.K. Futures and Options Association. It has signed cooperation agreements with more than 10 overseas futures exchanges, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, to share information and jointly develop new markets.
For over 14 years, the DCE has provided a reliable marketplace for participants for price discovery and risk management. Its soybean and corn futures prices are the benchmarks of the domestic markets. It helps protect farmers' interests and facilitate the movement of agricultural products on the spot market, thereby contributing to China's agricultural market reform and the development of its market economy.