TimeKeeper Breaks Microsecond Barrier in Time Synchronization

September 27, 2010
TimeKeeper Breaks Microsecond Barrier in Time Synchronization
For Trading Applications with Spectracom GPS Card
Time Accurate to Nanoseconds Enables More Precision
In Trading Strategies and Competitive Advantage in Execution
Austin, TX and Rochester, NY, September 27th 2010 – FSMLabs’ Timekeeper software
combined with Spectracom’s TSync-PCIe Timecode Processor card has broken the
microsecond synchronization barrier, delivering time accurate to the low nanoseconds to trading
programs. The announcement was made today by FSMLabs, provider of high-precision time
distribution software, and Spectracom, a company of the Orolia Group (NYSE Alternext Paris –
FR0010501015 – ALORO) and a provider of hardware-based time and frequency systems for
vital communications networks.
The implementation was chosen by a top-five financial institution as the best-of-breed
combination for accuracy within a Linux-based application server running multiple trading
programs. Connected to a satellite antenna, the embedded Spectracom’s PCI express card
locks to ultra-precise GPS time, and FSMLabs’ Timekeeper synchronizes the operating system
clock. The test results, which have been confirmed in FSMLabs’ test environment, prove
synchronized time accuracy within 30-40 nanoseconds of GPS time from within the server’s
trading applications – thus bridging the "last mile" between a precision time device and the
software that makes use of the information.
“Time precision is the new competitive frontier in high-speed trading. The agility of timesensitive functions – such as event-triggered algorithmic trading and time-related arbitrage of
execution venues – jumps to a new dimension with this timekeeping combination,” said Victor
Yodaiken, CEO of FSMLabs. “For applications, time data is a vulnerable point, because of the
common inaccuracy of time distribution architectures at the micro- and nanoseceond levels.
This combination puts high-precision time where it is needed, inside the application, to deliver
competitive advantage to the traders.”
Extending time distribution beyond the application server to downstream clients, time accuracy
was maintained within one-to-two microsecond of GPS time. Other configurations, embedding
PCI express cards in correspondent servers, can be used to refine trans-server accuracy into
the nanosecond range. The test was executed with Precision Time Protocol (PTP) messaging,
which provides significantly better results than the older messaging standard of Network Time
Protocol (NTP).
“This implementation is an excellent example of how a high-end GPS-based timing device in the
application server can supercharge a software-based time distribution system,” said John
Fischer, chief technology officer of Spectracom. “While both Spectracom and FSMLabs have
applications in many industries where time must be managed with precision, there is no
FSMLab’s TimeKeeper and Spectracom TSync-PCIe Break the Microsecond Barrier
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question that financial traders can show the most dramatic ROI. The potential to pull the trigger
in nanoseconds changes the world in terms of competitive advantage and risk management.”
FSMLabs’ TimeKeeper is available now, optimized for servers including blade servers running
Red Hat Linux (RHEL 5.x) with GPS time sources. TimeKeeper uses intelligent algorithms to
maintain accuracy of time data in transit from source to destination, to enable instantaneous
synchronization of networked servers, clients and data sources, and to deliver accurate time
data “the last mile” into applications. TimeKeeper supports both NTP and PTP time protocols.
Spectracom’s TSync-PCIeTimecode Processor Card, known for the highest resolution of
reference time in the market, is currently available, including a PTP version. This low-profile
PCIe card incorporates Linux and Windows drivers for easy integration into servers and PCs.
About Spectracom
Spectracom, a company of the Orolia Group(NYSE Alternext Paris – FR0010501015 – ALORO), supports a variety of
applications in vital communications networks and high throughput test & measurement throughout the world. Our
products, systems and services enable our customer’s success by Synchronizing Critical Operations®. We offer
outstanding customer service backed by continuous certification to ISO9001 and other quality programs in locations
covering the globe. For more information, visit www.spectracomcorp.com.
About FSMLabs
With more than 12 years as a provider of real-time operating systems and software solutions, FSMLabs serves the
industries, such as avionics, robotics and finance, where time is a mission-critical resource. Current innovations
include real-time enhancements to off-the-shelf operating systems and TimeKeeper, the groundbreaking software for
accurate distribution and synchronization of time data from reference clocks to the application layer in networked
environments. FSMLabs is a privately held firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit
TimeKeeper is a trademark of FSMLabs Inc. FSMLabs is a registered trademark of Finite State Machine Labs Inc.
Spectracom and Synchronizing Critical Operations are registered trademarks of Spectracom Corporation.
More information about TimeKeeper and Spectracom can be found at the following links:
FSMLabsTimeKeeper Bolsters High-Frequency Low-latency Trading and Market Data Streams With
FSMLabs and Spectracom Partner to Provide Precision Timekeeping for High Frequency Low Latency
Kathleen Hawk
Clearview Associates
+1 847 687-2222
Tim Klimasewski
+1 585.321.5853