TimeSeries AggregatoR – TSAR

November 26th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

InfoQ’s presentation “TSAR: How to Count Tens of Billions of Daily Events in Real Time Using Open Source Technologies” is worth viewing if you have time.  Apart from the beer trending (24:10), I’d be interested in knowing if anyone in capital markets has looked at user TSAR to understand customer trends, order trends, etc.


How Google Works

November 26th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Recently just finished reading How Google Works.  Like so many book, the start of the book is better than the end in my view.  However, I still think its a great book, providing some good insight into practices used by Google that can be leverage elsewhere:

  • Page 28 offers a view on how how the Google culture works in solving problems – in this particular scenario, the result offending ads.  Culture
  • Page 30.  Culture.  Decision by committee vs autocratic or combative approaches.
  • Page 42. Rule of seven.
  • Page 45. Reorg day – get it done fast

Drive – Do you have it?

November 13th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Can’t remember who recommended this book, but it was worth the read. Of note:

  • Page 32, “As organizations flatten, companies need people who are self-motivated”
  • Chapter 2, “Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don’t Work…”
  • Page 51, “People will choose the quickest route” to the destination for an extrinsic reward
  • Page 57, “Companies pay a steep price for not extending their gaze beyond the next quarter”
  • Page 86, Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)
  • Page 138, “The MBA Oath”
  • Page 162, “Try 20% Time With Training Wheels”
  • Page 169, “Turn Your Next Off-Site into a FedEx Day”

The Legacy of Ivory Tower Architects

November 12th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Much has been written, comments and discussed on the interaction of Ivory Tower Architectures and project teams.  Certain organisations I’ve worked for have unfortunately built departments of architectures who are so disconnected from the business, with obvious consequences – the business builds their own IT mini department/team.  Relevance offers an old blog posting with some useful thought on capturing architecture decisions on an agile project – particularly useful on multi-year projects.

Large documents are never kept up to date. Small, modular documents have at least a chance at being updated

ELK Stack – OSS Splunk?

November 12th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

ELK has been gaining a good amount of blog press recently.  Which leads to the obvious questions, of can ELK replace Splunk?  No an uncommon question given again the blog entries by various people on leveraging ELK.  More interesting is recent events, with an Splunk Exec moving to ElasticSearch, which should help to push ELK forwards.

OpenStack, Mesos and Docker – PaaS

November 5th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

eBay’s 2014 posting on “Delivering eBay’s CI Solution with Apache Mesos” offer a hint of where we should possible be pushing with cloud computing:

Our new Mesos cluster is set up on top of our existing OpenStack deployment.

Our cluster is built on virtual servers in our OpenStack environment. Specifically, the cluster consists of virtual servers running Apache Zookeeper, Apache Mesos (masters and slaves), and Marathon services. This combination of services was chosen to provide a fault-tolerant and high-availability (HA) redundant solution. Our cluster consists of at least three servers running each of the above services.

Moving on from Scrum – Disciplined Agile Delivery

November 5th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

I recently picked up a copy of Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD).  DAD is a hybrid approach that extends Scrum with proven strategies from Agile Modeling (AM).  Anyone who has used Scrum on large enterprise projects will know what Scrum/XP doesn’t assist in the modeling, documentation and governance arena.  Page 4 offers a simple diagram showing the differences of Agile Development, Agile Delivery and Agility@Scale.

Over the years I’ve heard various debates about how much intellectual work can be done in a working day.  Page 31 offers a view that 5-6hrs a day is the norm for achieving high-quality intellectual work.  Often overlooked, “Visualize Workflow” often aids teams in understanding blockers, and utilization.

Hadoop Tutorials

October 23rd, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Hortonworks seems to have done a good job on offering Hadoop tutorials, leveraging a Sandbox.  In particular, they offer a real-time event stream with Apache Kafka which is then persisted into HBase and Hive using Storm Bolt.  Food for thought

21st Century Pricing Engines

October 22nd, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

In todays markets, there are a number of drives that influence the buy vs build of a pricing engine irrespective of asset class.  Those drives probably include the following:

  • Consistent pricing
  • Minimising the number of trade away %
  • Ability to on-boarding clients in a timely manner
  • High availability, low latency of both price construction, and price delivery

This leads to a number of requirements which i suspect maybe mandatory in certain organisations:

  • Liquidity steam per user (not client) sourced from a liquidity pool – historical 3-5 tier pricing probably isn’t good enough these days
  • High availability – consistent pricing from multi data centres

Definition of Ready

October 21st, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

You’ll always hear about the Definition of Done (DOD) from agile teams.  However, what is not so often discussed is Definition of Ready (DOR) – sometimes referred to as DevReady in various organisations. Fabrique’s SXSW 2013 slide deck (53) offers a view of DOR.   The Agile Alliance crystallises why DOR is important:

Avoids beginning work on features that do not have clearly defined completion criteria, which usually translates into costly back-and-forth discussion or rework

Churn during iteration due to imprecise requirements is often the by-product of not having a strict DOR.

Hadoop Security – Role Based

October 20th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Cloudera offer a number of interesting blog articles on Hadoop security – Impala using Apache Sentry.  From an enterprise perspective, creation of a data lake will inevitably require a clean security approach from day 1.

Shipping Quality Code

October 15th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Scripting and Learning by Shipping both offer good reads on shipping quality code.  Its also nice to see that SAFe also has view on code quality, and the importance of Test First.

Test-first methods can be further divided into Test-Driven Development (TDD) and Acceptance-Test Driven Development (ATDD). Both are supported by Test Automation, which is required in support of Continuous Integration, team velocity, and development efficiency.

Beauty of Testing (Steven) offers a few home truths which unfortunately are seemingly lost in the rush to make a production release by people not aware of the complexity of software engineering (and it not being an exact science):

Single Dealer Platforms – Another Day Another View

October 15th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

WallStreet & Technology offers a view on Single Dealer Platforms (SDP).  Over the last few years there have been a number of articles stating that SDP’s will either take over the world, or are a dying breed.  The net out of this latest article is unsurprisingly a view that Single Dealer Platforms and Multi Dealer Platforms will be combined by either banks or clients to offer a subset of services based on the clients needs – best of breed (effectively a type of mashup).

Engineering Management

October 15th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Great post from Slava @ReThinkDB.  Some great lessons.  32 – news doesn’t age well! 21 – Leadership is important

Further, Slava offers some view on project management – of particular note, treat big projects with care.  Of particular importance:

build the absolute most minimal version that solves the customer’s problem.

DDD – Part 3

September 30th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Few relevant postings to read:

State Replication

September 30th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

A colleague pointed me at a few interesting articles (Replicant) centred around state replication. For a long time I’ve been interested in state replication – I’ve blogged here and there about it over the years. The ability for each replicate to accept change, and propagate change to all replicas ensuring consistency is an interesting problem to solve. Such solutions off interesting scalability options in distributed applications.

Mencius  offer more of what I’m interested – single/multi leader

Implementing Domain-Driven Design – Part 2

September 30th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Continuing with Vaughn’s book, page 22 table 1.4 offer a nice view of writing code that models the business – physical and conceptual domains.  Page 25 hits the nail on the head with reference to software engineers not being able to pursue technologies and techniques just because they sound cool – well said Mr Vernon!

Page 33 touches on the issues of data-centric models, compared to business domain behaviours.  All to often we see in code bases that the data payloads have become some warped domain model within the code base, leaking though every layer possible.

Estimation – The Guessing Game

September 20th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

InfoQ offers an interesting read on agile planning and estimation. Here are a few key quotes :)

All numbers are based on assumptions. Your figures are only as good as your estimates and guesses – and there may be serious flaws in your assumptions.

If we approve a project based on a year’s worth of work, and we estimate it and we think it is all good, there is a lot of risk inherent in there. But also, and this is worse, we might ditch doing something really, really valuable for the company because we have clumped together all this value into a year-long project and we are making a really big decision – to go or no go – based only on that clump.

What happens when Non-Functional Requirements (NFR) are forgotten

September 18th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

“Behind the Curtain of the HealthCare.gov Rollout” offer a few excellent quotes.  I particularly like the quote around the number of concurrent users:

After the launch, HHS officials sharply criticized CMS’s management leading up to the launch of Healthcare.gov. Referencing an email in which a CMS official admits the system could not handle more than 500 concurrent users, Mr. Baitman wrote “Frankly, it’s worse than I imagined!” and Mr. Sivak replied, “Anyone who has any software experience at all would read that and immediately ask what the fuck you were thinking by launching.”

Data Collision

September 17th, 2014 / Tales from a Trading Desk

Oracle GoldenGate and HotCache offer an interesting (but expensive) solution to solving certain classes of problem.  Assuming an application stack that is Java, leveraging Oracle Coherence, backed by an Oracles database, where the application stack is installed in two locations, with the requirements for bi-directional replication of data, so each application sees the others data, and can perform actions on the data.  GoldenGate leveraging HotCache provides a mechanism to achieve replication, with the added benefit that not only does the data get replicated between databases (GoldenGate), but that Coherence state is updated as well (HotCache).