Executive Summary

Milliseconds matter in volatile trading floor environments. With traders simultaneously viewing real-time market data, real-time graphics and streaming audio/video content, the stress on trader workstations is immense. The technology challenges facing trading floors range from management of devices to delivery of real-time content to maintaining a unified user experience. Trading floor solutions are no longer limited to the deployment of physical workstations for each trader. In fact, the evolution of virtual desktop infrastructure is much more practical from management, agility, environmental and economic perspectives.


  • Workspace on Demand

Optimizing the Trading Environment

Our customer wanted to revamp their trading floor infrastructure. Rather than limiting the solution to upgrading workstations, they sought a solution that would simplify IT management while improving trader productivity. And, the solution had to be reliable, resilient and cost-effective.

The practical challenge of providing traders with the tools they need to do their jobs is related to the provisioning of monitors and applications. The traders do not care where the infrastructure is located, as long as they have access to the applications providing the necessary research, market data and trades when they need it. A trading desk’s connected monitors provide access to these applications – the heart of the operation, delivering video streams, market news, graphics and other resource intensive financial applications.

Business Drivers:

  • Rapid Deployment
  • Performance that scales
  • Lack of standards
  • Reduced TCO
  • Centralized monitoring & management
  • Improved Security
  • Greater Flexibility

Our customer needed a solution to streamline operations while guaranteeing compliance, optimize office real estate without impacting productivity, and provide flexibility to serve the needs of a range of users – all without disrupting operations or putting data or intellectual property at risk.

IIS proposed a virtual desktop infrastructure as it overcomes every challenge while providing increased flexibility to IT teams and traders. The workstation functionality is virtualized and applications are layered to provide customized interfaces for every trader’s environment that are built on standard modules. A common user interface is defined and managed in the back office. User profiles, data access and security protocols are defined in the datacenter. Applications and all hardware or software updates are centrally managed, providing consistent performance for all users.

Rather than a trader sitting at a desk amidst wires connecting physical workstations to multiple monitors, dealing with heat emissions, a virtual trading desk only includes the monitors, which are attached to the network. The trader no longer has to deal with heat emissions when his focus is optimizing trades. Each user has a unique login that can be used at any station in any of the company’s trading facilities. If, there is any failure at a given workstation, the trader can easily and quickly move to another station and pickup the application sessions from where they were interrupted.

Performance Matters

When it comes to trader productivity, access to real-time business data is critical. Virtual desktops simplify management of the IT infrastructure that connects the trader to all relevant data sources, including Bloomberg stations. A virtual environment provides greater consistency, backup and failover for all users.

The data center is now the operational center for application provisioning, establishing user profiles and data accessibility, managing a common user interface and applications, and defining security protocols. Even though data is viewed on the trading floor, all client and market data is retained in the data center. Robust security protocols ensure that client data and intellectual property are only accessible to users with relevant credentials. Since the desktop is virtualized the possibility of individuals saving data to an external device is eliminated.

VDI streamlines operations from the ground up, while ensuring that workstation performance meets the time critical demands of a trading desk. A virtualized environment provides a centralized, cohesive view of deployed infrastructure. This centralized approach simplifies management of images, security, applications, storage and troubleshooting. Applications are device independent, simplifying image updates or software patches and reducing potential trading desk disruption.

A Smaller Footprint

Many of the challenges for firms deploying trading floor infrastructure is related to the volume of servers required to support delivery of the applications demanded by the traders. From high quality graphics to 4K streaming video to real-time market data feeds, a variety of applications are required to process and deliver mission critical data. And that requires a lot of servers.

If, there is any failure at a given workstation, the trader can easily and quickly move to another station and pickup the application sessions from where they were interrupted.

The VDI solution proposed by IIS, addressed facilities concerns for floor space and power consumption. By deploying the HPE Moonshot M710 plus the desktop virtualization software, our customer was able to replace physical servers with cartridges and desk side workstations with virtual clients. The Moonshot Chassis includes all the common resources of a traditional servers – power, cooling, management, fabric, switches and network uplinks – shared across 45 hot-pluggable server cartridges in a dense 4.3U form factor. Additionally, M710p server cartridge has been optimized for performance with desktop virtualization applications to address latency, processing and graphics requirements.

When it comes to the important topic of security, Moonshot delivers logical security through multi-layered dynamic encryption sessions, payload and advanced mutual authentication, plus physical partition security.

Not only does the Moonshot based architecture address floor space challenges, it enables rapid scalability by simply adding cartridges as needed. Moonshot servers are workload automated, with automatic load balancing and the ability to layer in multiple levels of redundancy. In the event of a cartridge failure, a trader’s persona is automatically and seamlessly transferred to a new cartridge. Day to day performance needs are fulfilled as Moonshot provides pragmatic disaster recovery – all with a smaller footprint.

Financial Savings Abound

With budgets shrinking, despite the increased trading activity, our customer needed to select a costeffective solution. The proposed VDI solution, not only reduced their datacenter floor space requirements, they also dramatically decreased their monthly power consumption. They were also able to convert capital costs to operating expenses through IIS financial services options to provide financing and/or technology refresh programs.

Bottom Line

The total solution from IIS includes deployment and ongoing management of the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. The IIS Workstation on Demand solution is designed to reduce time to market and time to revenue while simultaneously lowering operational costs. By leveraging its state-of-the-art Integration Center, IIS fulfills “last mile” solution delivery through staging and testing of the end-to-end architecture to simplify on-premise deployment.

With a focus on the needs of the both the trader and IT staff, IIS has improved trader productivity by delivering a solution that understands the needs of power users (downtime is not an option!) and provides centralized platform management to quickly address and resolve issues. Bottom Line, IIS was able to understand its customer priorities and deliver the cost-effective, high performance infrastructure required in a demanding trading floor environment.

Benefits to Customer:

  • Create a more efficient workspace
  • Easily deploy multiple desktops to a single trader, with fast reliable performance
  • Support tens to hundreds of users with secure layered application portfolios
  • Reduce data center floor space requirements and operational cost while simplifying support
  • Reduce heat and noise at the trading desks
  • Provide predictable and scalable performance to ensure trader productivity within a centrally managed, secure and compliant environment
  • Mitigate risk through centralized control, security and backup of sensitive data
  • Convert capital costs to operational costs through creative financing options