If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Corvil, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
Understand what you want to monitor and install those packs. Turn it on and see what you get ahead of time. In terms of venue performance analysis, we, being an exchange, are a "venue" the way most people using Corvil would think about it. We are the venue and we don't measure what are our clients are doing. We only measure how a client is being handled within our system. It helps us understand our venue. Similarly, for making order routing decisions, because we're an exchange, we talk to other exchanges. It's not a primary thing we do, but we do monitor those things to see how they're reacting and what our fill-ratios are. But it's not a big deal to us, it's not a primary metric for us. As far as reducing the time to get to root cause is concerned, if you take out the fact that we used to have to wait for logs, etc., we are still looking at a day or two with Corvil in place. We can isolate the symptom down to a very narrow area with Corvil, and a lot of times we will say, "Hey, we think it is this." But to really figure it out, that's when development takes it and goes deeper into the system, where Corvil can't get to. Corvil used to have some type of a hook where they can go inside the system, but we don't utilize that piece. We've monitored a peak count of about 50 users but that is just a number of people looking at it within a certain time frame. Most of them are technical. We have a few business-role folks on the senior management side of things. Usually, those consumers deal with the data after we've output it into a database, churned through it, and made different types of reports. They're not looking directly at the portal itself. We definitely have plans to increase the usage. We're sending more and more data to it all the time. We're making an effort to get off of application logging. We still have about 20 percent more to go to get fully off of application logs. The timeframe for that is over the next year to two years. Overall, Corvil is definitely above a nine out of ten. Everything they claim they do, everything they pitch you on, they do.
If you're looking at retrofitting Corvil to an existing network, it is a little bit involved in terms of where to TAP, to figure out what business data is flowing through. But if it's building a network from scratch, then keep Corvil in mind and get all the analytics captured at the right points. If you have some analytics device like Corvil in mind while designing a network, that will be helpful. In terms of order routing decisions, that will be connected to the algorithmic tweaking I mentioned. That's coming, but right now it's mostly looking at the client sessions. We'd like to get all the sessions monitored. That's one of the highest priorities, as far as the business is concerned. Right now we are hand-picking certain sessions that need to be monitored and leaving the rest because of the bandwidth issues. So the number one goal is to get everything under the Corvil umbrella. And then we would start thinking about using Corvil at the next level to make some routing decisions. In our company, Corvil is used by the trade desk, which has six people, and in networking there are another six. Overall, around 15 to 20 people are using Corvil in our firm right now. I would rate the solution at nine out of ten. It gives us everything we need. The only negative is that it needs people who are more skilled to administer and manage the system.
Corvil is really useful, if you want to produce statistics for your application across different platforms then I would definitely recommend it. It is easy to maintain. You can do a proper analysis around it. The support services are good. You can reach out to people, and they're pretty helpful. Once you start working on it and getting the experience, then it becomes easier to configure new sessions or configurations around different flows. If more time is spent on the venue round trip's time, there is very little control that we have, because there might be an increase in latency at the venue's site which we don't have visibility of. Therefore, we can discuss with the exchange or market, why there was an increase in latency at this particular time, and whether there was any particular changes at their site or if something was different. If we have those statistic, then we can go to the market or the client, providing them those statistic and talk about them in more detail. For example, why was there an increase or decrease in any particular latency during a certain day? If we have the venue round trip time from the time it leaves the application, we can just go back to the exchange, discuss this, and say, "Why has it taken so much time?" Maybe there has been scenarios where the exchange or market comes back saying they did some type of configuration changes at that site during that particular time, and that's why there was an increase in latency. Or, they needed some type of changes at their site to improve the latency. This helps in our venue performance analysis. For different venues, depending upon the application, we have different requirements. For example, for certain application, we target the time that it takes for the acknowledgement to come back, or for the request to go to the exchange, it should be seamless. So, we use different statistic for different markets. Based on that, we can work with different markets or exchanges to match the timings. Or, we use a different routing logic within our application to be able to process the order at the same time. Based on this analysis and the statistics that we have, we can use it to match or change the routing logic that we have. There have been a few scenarios where we have done this. We are on 9.2 version of Corvil and plan to upgrade to 9.4 over the coming weeks. We are building the roadmap for this year: * What is the plan to use it across different application? * How many more devices will we need? They have plans to expand it across different applications. There are certain applications which we haven't already moved onto Corvil, but there are plans to onboard them in the future. We are in the process of building those up. Going forward, we definitely see our usage increasing. Everyday, we have something which we need to analyze and use Corvil. There is higher dependency for a lot of things. We want to look at tracking a smarter routing flow for different flows in different applications as a future roadmap item for us.
You should try to build an accurate picture of how much effort will be involved in the deployment, then ensure that you have adequate support from the vendor. This solution helps to correlate individual client or trade desk transactions to infrastructure and venue latency. It allows us to break down the latency performance at both the venue level and client level. So, we can cut the data different ways to look at it, either from an individual client perspective, trading across multiple venues, or we can target the analysis on a specific venue. By definition, we are measuring the performance of the venue. Though, it's not something that we specifically focus on. As a firm, our focus is more on the things that we can change. I don't personally have much experience with the analytics features. We have had some discussions with Corvil around an additional product, which is called iHub, which is bolted onto Corvil. It comes with many more analytical tools out-of-the-box. However, with the exception of allowing us to understand and analyze the latency, there is not much else from an analytical perspective that we use the solution for. The business have their own dashboard, which they configure themselves. We have not really been too heavily involved in giving them dashboards.
Corvil is a great tool. It is the only one of the vendors that has 100% visibility into the market data stream. I would give it a thumbs up. We break down the latency to each of our clients. It provides the accurate timestamping on most of the sessions that we use for ordering, showing us the time that we send out an order to the time we get our execution report back. So, we can monitor that latency very closely. We do measure latency of our market data feeds coming down from the exchanges. If it breaches a threshold, we do contact the venues, then they make necessary corrections. This helps us improve our order routing decisions, because if it is too high of a latency, we just go through another venue.
Definitely understand how your traffic is flowing and remember that Corvil won't magically fix your latency issues, rather help you identify where they are and what impact they are having on your business. Corvil is only as good as the data you put into it, so if you're monitoring in the wrong places, for example, you're not going to pick up the whole story. The advice I would give is to educate your users. You don't just spend money and, miraculously, all your issues are fixed. Rather it will help you understand where your issues are. But to do that you have to know the various application flows, how they work. Make sure you're monitoring the right places and that Corvil has all the right data, to a high level of detail. Ideally we would like to use Corvil for other things, apart from just pricing-related stuff. For example VOIP and PTP. I'd like to use it more on the enterprise side. We've got a file-sharing issue at the moment between two locations and if we could get that traffic into Corvil it might be useful to help show us what's going on. There are some powerful analytics on Corvil, especially for network engineers, like the TCP side. We want to use it more for that. Maybe that means we buy another Corvil that is dedicated to those uses. That's where we'd like to go. Regarding Corvil and productivity, in a small company like this we're not as siloed as they would be, say, in a big bank. Someone in my role is expected to know a bit about the trading side and a bit about protocols like FIX, etc. Corvil has changed the way we work in that it means that we need to know more about how the whole business works. In terms of what it does, I'd give Corvil a ten out of ten. I've never seen a tool like it.
My advice is "Go for it." It's an amazing product. Data is power. In the new data era, data is everything. Data is power. Data is knowledge. Corvil does exactly that. It captures data and does a lot of good stuff with the data. I think it's a must-have for any company, not just a company that cares about low-latency. You can capture any kind of traffic and you can do amazing things with the data. It can be used for many things like keeping servers' time in sync, capturing the data at the right time. I went for training with Corvil about three or four months ago and I got my certification. Our company is now starting to use the full potential of Corvil. When I went for the training I realized that we weren't using the full potential of Corvil yet. We have a very limited installation of Corvil, as far as I understand. We primarily use it for latency. Corvil is not just for that. You can do many other things. I personally wanted to get the certification because I was so impressed with the product. I wanted to get certification to learn more about the product. It has this amazing view of the entire platform. I have my process, I get messages, I decode, I know what's happening. But Corvil is such a powerful device that it can see the entire network trafficking. It can see everything that's going through your network. The data can be downloaded as a CSV file. We use that in our own internal application and we visualize it in a different way. One of them that we use extensively is called a CDF graph: accumulated distributed function. If you visualize the same data in terms of percentile distribution - this is a CDF distribution and it's different from a normal distribution - you can see that up to the 95th percentile, the latency seems to be in line with the median. But from 95 to 99 it seems to be pretty bad. And above the 99th it is very bad. Things like that just help visualize data in a different way. Intelligence Hub is going to be able to do all of that, as far as I understand. For us, Corvil is a supplementary tool. It's not used for major business decisions like improving order routing. One of the things we do to make business decisions is look at the amount of flow. Our process itself captures stuff like that. It's not latency data but the amount of flow, and the rate at which the flow comes. Corvil is able to capture all of that, the number of orders, the number of canceled replaces, and the rate such as 100 messages per second or 1000 messages per second. You can see all of these breakdowns in Corvil itself. We make decisions on our capacity and the like from Corvil. Other than that, I don't believe we would use it for any other business decisions. The deficiencies that we felt before, regarding maintenance being a little bit difficult are completely gone now. We have started looking into Corvil a bit more and we have dedicated people maintaining it. That was not the case previously. There is now a lot more attention on this product and the maintenance has become easier with the newer software. In our company there are three users of Corvil who are all developers, and there are three users who provide support for Corvil and for our business. We also have three or four business users who get reports. Those users are pretty technical too, because our business is a low-latency platform. Everyone is technical, in other words. Even the business people are tech savvy. They understand technology. So they use Corvil as well. In terms of increasing our usage of Corvil, as I said, we are looking at this new offering, the Intelligence Hub. Corvil is an amazing device. When I was doing the training, the trainer mentioned that there are Financial companies with 200-plus servers. I was so shocked. They use it for everything, like phone call monitoring and web traffic monitoring - everything. We use it so little that I was a bit shocked and realized, "Okay, this has so much potential we don't seem to be using". It has changed the mindset a little bit. I've explained it to the business, which knew this from the beginning. They were the ones who primarily installed this. I see our use going up in the next few years. I don't know what the pace will be, but there is a lot more focus on it now. As is with any bank, things don't happen overnight. It will take time and it will grow. I give the product a ten out of ten because I just love the product.