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The Sybase Event Stream Processor accelerates application development and plays a major role in the success of our real-time security-trading platforms. In addition, the clustering capability increases the speed of our applications and broadens the scope of applications we can build on the Sybase Complex Event Processing engine.

Prakash Neelakantan
Head of Products, Headstrong

With a nearly 30 years of proven results and 2009 revenues of $170 million, Headstrong is a global IT consulting firm that focuses on providing solutions for the capital markets and securities industries. Headstrong offers proven expertise in verticals such as asset management, mortgages, reference data, securities financing, prime brokerage, derivatives, compliance and risk. The company?s services range from high-end consulting to application outsourcing, product development and operations management. Headstrong operates in eight countries with more than 3000 employees.

Business Advantage

? Headstrong can quickly develop customer-facing financial applications that correlate large amounts of data from multiple sources in real-time and present the data with low latency to facilitate securities buy/sell decision-making processes.

Key Benefits

Sybase Technology


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Complex Event Processing Engine Required to Enhance Solution Development and Performance
As Headstrong began to develop two of its key solutions, Teevra—a real-time trade-matching system, and STRIDE—a contracts-for-difference trading platform, the company researched Complex Event Processing (CEP) platforms that could serve as the engine for both of its applications.

“Because of the cost and resource time commitments, we chose not to build a CEP platform ourselves, therefore we sought a partner solution that would streamline the software development of our front-end applications,” says Prakash Neelakantan, Head of Products for Headstrong. “We also did not want to spend a lot of time integrating our software with the platfrom as we developed the products, and we wanted to be able to apply changes quickly in the future as we upgrade our solutions.”

Neelakantan also sought a CEP platform that would increase the speed of Teevra and STRIDE since Headstrong broker-clients rely on these products to help them execute on buy-sell securities decisions for their customers in real-time. “When it comes to financial trading, every second is critical and can make or break our clients’ ability to capitalize on investment opportunities for their customers,” Neelakantan says.

In addition to Teevra and STRIDE, Headstrong also hoped to find a platform that would enable other applications to take advantage of Complex Event Processing. This would allow the company to increase the value of services it delivers to customers across other applications in the future.

Sybase Event Stream Processor Enables Fast Application Development
After conducting extensive research and based on the 10+ years during which Neelakantan has worked with many of the leading CEP platforms, Headstrong turned to Sybase Event Streaming Processor (ESP), the newest version of the award-winning Sybase Aleri CEP platform.

Sybase ESP empowers software development firms to deliver real-time applications such as continuous risk analytics and trade monitoring as well as cross-geo and cross-asset class trading. The technology also facilitates the creation and dissemination of highly-enriched market data in a fraction of the time that traditional approaches require. In addition, Sybase ESP allows users to obtain intelligence on high-speed streaming data with minimum latency.

In addition, real-time Continuous Intelligence&™ provided by Sybase ESP allows software developers to create solutions for capital market firms that monitor, detect, analyze and respond to events as they occur. This empowers brokers and their customers to then make opportune corrective, profitable, competitive and value-add financial decisions.

“A fast, easy-to-integrate, and extensible platform like Sybase ESP enables us to build applications quickly and deliver them to market faster,” Neelakantan says. “It also allows us to adapt to quickly-changing environments down the road as our client needs change.”

CEP Capability Critical for Financial-Trading Application Performance
“The real-time capability that Sybase ESP offers is critical when it comes to trade-matching, quoting, hedging and price-distribution analysis,” Neelakantan adds. “We can build our applications on top of ESP knowing we have the infrastructure for an effective engine with set CEP rules so our clients can use our applications to make financial decisions in real-time.”

Sybase ESP also helps Headstrong accelerate time-to-market for application updates since it is an easy-to-build front-end solution on top of the platform. “Sybase serves as a strong underlying engine to our software,” Neelakantan says. “The technology speeds up application development because the environment is intuitive and easy for developers to pick up, including those that are new to CEP. The scripting language is easy to work with and facilitates integration because we have options to use different languages such as .NET or Java, and it supports Windows 64-bit platforms.”

Neelakantan adds that Sybase has provided solid support when needed to work through issues and helps fine-tune the applications. “We also found the newest version of ESP increases the speed of our applications even further and broadens the scope of applications we can apply to CEP, Neelakantan says. “We envision eventually using ESP for post-trading applications as well as real-time risk management.”

The new version of Sybase ESP directly addresses the needs of software firms like Headstrong that develop financial applications. For ease and efficiency in defining continuous queries, the technology delivers a simple visual editor combined with a powerful SQL-based, event processing Continuous Computation Language. The new advanced cluster architecture also enhances scalability and deployment options by enabling continuous queries to be deployed in private cloud environments.

Effectively Correlates Data from Multiple Sources in Real-time
When asked about the top benefits that Sybase ESP provides to Headstrong, Neelakantan emphasizes how well ESP correlates data in real-time from multiple sources as well as how the query language is based on SQL. This makes it significantly easier to pull information and to build Headstrong user interfaces on top of the CEP infrastructure.

“In the financial markets, where brokers and customers demand high-performing Complex Event Processing, Sybase ESP is up to the challenge,” Neelakantan adds. “The solution meets the requirements of market-data analytics by allowing both buy-side and sell-side application developers to create cleansing and enrichment rules to in-bound market data via streaming and batch feeds. Developers can also program their solutions to collect market data and apply queries to derive valuable new insights and breakthrough competitive trading strategies.”

In assesing the ultimate value that Sybase ESP provides to Headstrong, Neelakantan says, “The Sybase Event Stream Processor accelerates application development and plays a major role in the success of our real-time, security-trading platforms. In addition, the clustering capability increases the speed of our applications and broadens the scope of applications we can build on Sybase’s CEP technology.”

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