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Success Stories
Breakwater Trading - Chicago & New York
Connecting multiple Excel users in Chicago and New York
The Problem Definition
Breakwater Trading has trading operations in New York and Chicago, with more than 100 traders and managers working at all locations. The use of real-time market data and analytics is crucial to maximize profitability from these traders, so when it became time to upgrade their current infrastructure, Breakwater looked for a solution that would increase performance, while at the same time be quick and easy to implement.

"All of our traders need to see real-time analytical data derived from proprietary models running at our Chicago office," said Darek Potchebout, Director of Technology and Operations at Breakwater. "Each user needs to be free to use the data in their own Excel applications, so we needed a solution based on the distribution of real-time data, rather than on the sharing of the spreadsheets themselves."

The Solution
After searching the web for available solutions, they contacted Cogent Real-Time Systems.

Cogent offered the Cascade DataHub as a peer-to-peer networking solution and the Breakwater team embarked on a small pilot project to evaluate the software and see how it would be received by the traders themselves. The new system was built around a primary Cascade DataHub running on an office server in Chicago, which collected real-time data from a number of sources. The data was mirrored to a number of other DataHubs, including a relay DataHub in New York that acted as the central server for data distribution on that local area network. Each Trader ran a copy of the DataHub on their workstations, which allowed them to simply drag and drop the live data into their spreadsheets.

Breakwater saw the potential of the Cascade DataHub software almost immediately. "We set up a small system with one of our traders in New York and in 15 minutes we got an email back saying he thought it was amazing," said Alex Forkosh, manager of the pilot project team. "The update cycle between New York, Chicago and back to New York was reduced from around a minute with our old Linux system, to less than a second using the DataHub."

The team ran the DataHub with a few more traders for a full month, and found the performance and stability of the software surpassed their expectations. Darek then decided to go ahead and expand the system to include more traders in both New York and Chicago. "So far, we've seen no reduction in performance as we bring on more users, and the conversion to the DataHub is going very smoothly," he said. "We'll probably add the rest of our traders over the next month or two."

"We are pleased that Breakwater was able to see such a dramatic boost in performance," said Paul Benford, Business Manager at Cogent. "This is just one example of how the Cascade DataHub makes it easy to share real-time data between remote Excel users on a network or Internet connection."

Cogent develops middleware products for the financial and process control markets. The Cascade DataHub has been used to share real-time data for trading and banking institutions around the world.

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