Blog Entries from 05/2013
To quote PC World, “A high-end SSD is the pinnacle of computer storage today. Ditching your hard drive for one of the latest SSD models is like dumping your go-kart and hopping into a Formula One car.”
But what is SSD?
SSD is a storage device that stores persistent data on solid-state flash memory, using integrated circuit assemblies as memory. SSD has no moving parts, which is one of many distinctions between SSD and traditional hard drives that have spinning disks.
SSD offers huge performance gains over other commonly used storage drives including SAS (serial attached SCSI) drives. For perspective, the typical enterprise spinning disk is a 15K SAS drive, which offers approximately 200 IOPS. Mainstream enterprise SSD on the other hand can offer 10,000-100,000 IOPS.
Why should I care?
Investment management firms are presented with an increasing amount of data, much of which holds the potential to uncover new investment opportunities. For some strategies (think high frequency trading and algo), the speed at which the data is processed is linked to the size of competitive gain.
Storage area network (SAN) management. It might not be the hottest topic on the tech blogs these days, but effective management of your firm’s storage infrastructure is essential to running an efficient and profitable investment company. And lately, managing storage infrastructures has become increasingly complex and time consuming.
So, why is effective SAN management important for your firm?
If your storage infrastructure doesn’t function at peak speed and performance, your team’s productivity levels will be limited. Effective SAN management involves ensuring that your environment is monitored on a 24x7x365 basis so that optimum performance is constantly maintained. This helps you detect potential issues before they arise, preventing costly downtime. Additionally, as your firm’s needs evolve over time, you’ll want to be sure that your storage capabilities adapt to meet these requirements. Failing to effectively manage your SAN environment could result in under-utilization of the storage capabilities you have procured, or the firm’s needs growing at a faster rate than the storage space you have available. Both of these scenarios are highly inefficient and can be damaging to your bottom line.
How can you ensure your firm is managing its SAN environment as efficiently as possible?
We hosted a webinar earlier this week, App Hosting 101: Managing Your Essential Applications in the Cloud, in which Steve Schoener, Eze Castle Integration’s Vice President of Client Technology, and Martin Sreba, Senior Director at Advent Software, discussed topics such as industry trends in application hosting, key drivers of application solutions, common myths about the cloud, and the right time to put an application into effect. Continue reading for an overview of the webinar.
Industry Update: What’s Going On?
Increasing demands from hedge funds’ current and target investors are driving a variety of trends. Due diligence requirements are more advanced, as investors expect to see candid looks into a fund’s systems, disaster recovery capabilities and more. The increasing complexity of investments is also driving the need for more complex systems to handle these instruments.
Firms are starting smaller in today’s environment, with many starting with under $100mm in assets under management. Startup funds are looking for technology solutions to complement their size and give them the tools to efficiently run their businesses.
We were recently asked by a COOConnect member about the best sources for information about the strengths/weaknesses of the various hedge fund applications including front, middle and back office. Since we know many folks have this same question, today we are going to expand on the answer given by our expert, Mark Coriaty.
Now the way a hedge fund uses an application will vary based on its investment strategy, and therefore the perceived strengths and weaknesses may vary as well. However, there are multiple ways to establish a baseline of strengths and weaknesses.
Service Provider Reports: Balancing Bias with Value
First up are free reports from hedge fund service providers such as Eze Castle Integration. Each year we publish a benchmark study that outlines top applications used in select front, middle and back office categories by hedge funds. This report will provide a baseline of the top three application vendors used in each category, but doesn’t dive into specific feature sets. The report can be downloaded HERE.
Vendor reports can be helpful in getting an initial understanding of the most frequently used applications and top features used by firms. You should always consider the source, as some vendor reports or whitepapers will be biased.
With mounting regulations, stringent reporting requirements and heightened investor expectations, we know that managers who are considering starting a hedge fund have a lot to think about. So, we joined forces with KPMG to host a jam-packed half-day seminar and networking event yesterday in New York City: Hedge Fund Launch 2.0: Navigating the New Environment.
During the event, we had the pleasure of bringing together over 100 investment management professionals for an exciting and educational day. Attendees heard from over 30 notable industry experts engaging in panel discussions on an array of topics related to launching a hedge fund.
Here’s a look at some of the insights and lessons learned from a few of our favorite panel discussions.
Tomorrow, we are co-hosting an exciting seminar in New York City with our friends at KPMG on the topic of launching a hedge fund. The half-day event, Hedge Fund Launch 2.0: Navigating the New Environment, will feature expert panel sessions on variety of topics including technology, regulations, capital raising, application platforms and more.
One panel we’re particularly interested in – beyond the technology panels, of course – is Corporate Essentials, a program focused on the often forgotten-about aspects of launching a new business. These aspects include human resources, compensation, insurance and real estate. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the content our panelists will be discussing at tomorrow’s event:
In case you missed it, this week the Pentagon released its Annual Report to Congress looking at the military and security developments involving China. According to the New York Times, the report is virtually the first time “the Obama administration has explicitly accused China’s military of mounting attacks on American government computer systems and defense contractors, saying one motive could be to map 'military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.'"
The report states that cyberwarfare capabilities could serve Chinese military operations in three key areas.
First and foremost, they allow data collection for intelligence and computer network attack purposes.
Second, they can be employed to constrain an adversary’s actions or slow response time by targeting network-based logistics, communications, and commercial activities.
Third, they can serve as a force multiplier when coupled with kinetic attacks during times of crisis or conflict.
It is becoming cliché to say, but the investor due diligence process has truly evolved from a ‘check the box’ activity to a detailed and analytical process. Today, hedge fund investors want to see a tested investment strategy coupled with institutional-grade business processes.
Here at Eze Castle Integration, each year we help more and more hedge fund clients complete the Technology portion of investor due diligence questionnaires (DDQ). So we thought it would be helpful to share some of the more common technology related questions we are seeing. Not surprisingly you’ll see security and disaster recovery questions on the list.
As you consider your responses to these questions, keep in mind that in some cases investors are more concerned with your decision process as opposed to seeing the “right” answer. The reality is that often the “right” answer varies from firm to firm and depends on a number of factors, including investment strategy.
Yesterday, we hosted a webinar, “Going Social: What Investment Firms Need to Know about Social Media Compliance” along with Global Relay, an Eze Castle Integration partner and provider of enterprise message archiving and monitoring services. Global Relay's vice president of sales, Bryan Young, and our own vice president of marketing, Mary Beth Hamilton, discussed a range of topics including the changing SEC guidance on social media, compliance requirements for hedge funds and key components of instituting a social media policy at an investment management firm. Read on for a recap of the event, or watch the full replay now.