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Manual Chapter: Implementing Hardware-optimized FIX Low Latency FIX LL Electronic Trading
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Implementing Hardware-optimized FIX Low Latency (FIX LL) Electronic Trading

Overview: Configuring the BIG-IP system for hardware-optimized FIX low-latency electronic trading

You can configure BIG-IP® 10000 and 12000 Series systems that are running BIG-IP software version 12.1.0 to use a customized firmware to manage traffic for hardware-optimized, low-latency electronic trading. This FIX low latency (FIX LL) solution provides enhanced collision handling.

Important: The FIX LL firmware does not support hardware SYN cookies. Be sure to enable software SYN cookie protection.

Task summary

There are several tasks you can perform to implement hardware-optimized FIX low-latency electronic trading.

Task list

Licensing low-latency electronic trading functionality

Before you can use a BIG-IP® system to manage low-latency, electronic trading functionality, you must first acquire a specific license. The license must enable both of these features:
  • Advanced LTM® protocols
  • FIX low latency (FIX LL)

Please contact your F5® Networks support representative to acquire the necessary license.

Selecting a firmware to use for hardware-optimized FIX LL electronic trading

You can use the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh) to choose whether to use the FIX low latency (FIX LL) firmware.
  1. Connect to the system using the serial console.
  2. Log in to the command-line interface of the system using the root account.
  3. Open the Traffic Management Shell (tmsh).
    tmsh
  4. Enable the FIX LL firmware.
    modify sys db pva.fix.lowlatency value enable
  5. Reboot the system to update the FPGA.
    reboot
    Important: If you are switching to the FIX LL firmware for the first time, the system performs an HSB update to load the new firmware. Do not interrupt the progress of the firmware update. When the firmware update completes, the system reboots, and then you will be able to use the FIX LL firmware.
  6. Optional: To switch back to the default firmware:
    1. Disable the FIX LL firmware.
      modify sys db pva.fix.lowlatency value disable
    2. Reboot the system to update the FPGA.
      reboot

Creating a custom Fast L4 profile for hardware-optimized FIX LL electronic trading

You can create a custom Fast L4 profile to manage Layer 4 traffic for FIX low latency (FIX LL).
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Protocol > Fast L4 .
    The Fast L4 screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Fast L4 profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. Select the Custom check box.
  5. From the PVA Acceleration list, select Dedicated.
  6. Select the PVA Flow Aging and PVA Flow Evict check boxes.
  7. For the PVA Offload Dynamic setting, retain the default value (Enabled).
  8. For the PVA Dynamic Client Packets setting, retain the default value (1).
  9. For the PVA Dynamic Server Packets setting, retain the default value (0).
  10. Select the Loose Close check box only for a one-arm virtual server configuration.
  11. Set the TCP Close Timeout setting, according to the type of traffic that the virtual server will process.
  12. Select the Software SYN Cookie Protection check box.
  13. Click Finished.
The custom Fast L4 profile appears in the list of Fast L4 profiles.

Creating a pool

You can create a pool of servers that you can group together to receive and process traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Pools .
    The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. Using the New Members setting, add each resource that you want to include in the pool:
    1. (Optional) In the Node Name field, type a name for the node portion of the pool member.
    2. In the Address field, type an IP address.
    3. In the Service Port field, type a port number, or select a service name from the list.
    4. (Optional) In the Priority field, type a priority number.
    5. Click Add.
  5. Click Finished.
  6. Repeat these steps for each pool you want to create.
The new pool appears in the Pools list.

Creating a virtual server for low-latency electronic trading

After you create a server pool, you need to create a virtual server that references the profile and pool you created.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. From the Type list, select Performance (Layer 4).
  5. In the Destination Address/Mask field, type the IP address in CIDR format.
    The supported format is address/prefix, where the prefix length is in bits. For example, an IPv4 address/prefix is 10.0.0.1 or 10.0.0.0/24, and an IPv6 address/prefix is ffe1::0020/64 or 2001:ed8:77b5:2:10:10:100:42/64. When you use an IPv4 address without specifying a prefix, the BIG-IP® system automatically uses a /32 prefix.
    Note: The IP address you type must be available and not in the loopback network.
  6. From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
  7. From the Protocol list, select TCP.
  8. From the Protocol Profile (Client) list, select the custom Fast L4 profile you defined for low-latency FIX trading.
  9. Optional: For the Address Translation setting, clear the Enabled check box to implement direct server return (DSR) functionality.
  10. Optional: For the Port Translation setting, clear the Enabled check box.
    Important: Clearing the Enabled check box disables network address translation (NAT) functionality. If you require NAT, you must select the Enabled check box.
  11. In the Resources area of the screen, from the Default Pool list, select the relevant pool name.
  12. Click Finished.
The virtual server is configured to use the specified Fast L4 profile and pool. If a client initiates a FIX connection with this virtual server, the connection uses the Fast L4 (ePVA) hardware.

Implementation result

This implementation configures a BIG-IP® system to manage low-latency electronic trading functionality, optimizing the system for predictable latency and jitter. Clients who send FIX packets to the virtual server's Destination address all receive this low-latency service.

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