I have an assignment that I am working on. Now I admit, I am far from knowledgeable and I have nowhere to turn to for help at the moment. I am not asking for someone to complete the assignment for me, just for some feedback from the networking gurus here as to whether this network design would fulfil the following requirements.

  1. Trading Floor Network
  2. Design for <1ms Latency for Traders (support and mgmt <5ms)
  3. Design for 99.99% availability for Traders (support and mgmt 99%)
  4. Design for High Security
  5. Catered for Wireless Devices
  6. Catered for Remote Workers

Of course there are a few other segments of the assignments where I would need to detail the use of IPV6, VLANs, OSPF STP Protocols, details of security measures, but thats for after I know this design would even make sense.

Thank you for any and all feedback provided!!!

Trade Floor Network Design

  • I used PowerPoint and icons from Cisco's website. Networking is not my forte at all so I really dont know whats the best software to use to design this fast, without too much setup required. – Hex Omega Aug 22 '18 at 6:03
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    1 ms latency (to where?) is laughable today - this looks a lot like homework which is off-topic here. – Zac67 Aug 22 '18 at 6:14
  • It is homework, but I am not asking for someone to give me answers. I've designed a network based on my best knowledge, and would like to get constructive feedback on what I may be doing wrong as any advice given would help me get better! – Hex Omega Aug 22 '18 at 10:17
  • Homework is off topic for this forum. – Ron Trunk Aug 22 '18 at 10:27
  • Alright, so homework is off topic, where should I be posting? I need some feedback. And my best knowledge is that the people posting here are network experts, thus my posting here for feedback and advice. I will gladly shift my post to another forum if it is a bane here. – Hex Omega Aug 22 '18 at 10:50

Trading Network? In combination with "I am far from knowledgeable"?

Run. Don't turn around, don't look back! RUN! Until you find someone who can help you with this. I don't think NESE, although there's networking gods walking around here, is a place do discuss such a project.

That may sound overly dramatic, but without precisely defined requirements, and to the point definitions how and how far to fulfill each of them, all your engineering effort will remain foggy.

Fingerpointing between business and IT will ensue, once things go wrong, and trading departments are VERY quick with their fingers, and they usually have very good ties to top management. I strongly suggest you pursue a thorough top-down approach here to avoid disaster.

That being said, here's a few things to consider:

  • 99.99% is a big number. That probably will require involving facility management people to provide A/B wiring closets (half of the trader workstations on A, half on B), A/B power supply for the trading floor, wiring closets, data centers; path redundancy for inter switch FO cabling etc.
  • be absolutely sure that someone in the project understands in depth how trader workstations, trading gateways, 3rd party connectivity to (stock/financial) exchanges actually interact in terms of data flows. Multicast is bound to appear somewhere in this, and it alone can come in different flavours.
  • consider segregating (in extenso: seperated network hardware, servers, workstations) really critical data flows from general purpose things like office IT, casual internet access and mail transport. For that, the project first needs to understand the data flows involved, of course. One solution for a trader could be: run trading applications on the workstation, use Office IT via some form of virtual desktop (or vice-versa, if trading workload is suitable for virtual desktop).
  • make sure that you have a monitoring/reporting platform that can measure latency, network load, availability, not only on networking gear, but also including servers and workstations; even transaction times as observed by the clients, trading gateways and servers. Make sure that it does measure and report the criteria the project was given. Else, IT will have no way to baseline nor to defend against "the network is slow!" from business departments.

Disclosure: from 2002 to 2009, I've been working as a network engineer for the Swiss Stock Exchange (then known as SWX, later as SIX Swiss Exchange). We did not have a trading floor as such, but we ran the "other end" of a trading platform (the server side) and our own market surveillance departments had similar requirements of uptime, reliability and low-latency.

  • Thank you Marc! I completely understand where you are coming from. I work and have taken up study part-time so I am well aware how unrealistic it is for me to be "designing" a network with my limited knowledge, but I guess thats what universities want you to attempt. Really appreciate the pointers! – Hex Omega Aug 22 '18 at 10:53
  • One essential point in Marc's excellent and experienced answer being "top-down" - Hex Omega's draft looks a lot like "bottom-up". – Zac67 Aug 22 '18 at 19:02
  • To dig out a very old witticism of networking: "applications drive networks". A given general-purpose network might satisfy the needs of dozens or hundreds of diverse applications. However, with requirements beyond "general purpose", everyone will be happier if proper Requirement Specifications (german: Lastenheft, describing what the customer wants/needs) and Functional Specifications (german: Pflichtenheft, describing how the provider intends to meet these req's) are established, negotiated and agreed upon; even up to the point where both specs become integral part of a contract. – Marc 'netztier' Luethi Aug 22 '18 at 22:03

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