In the 1st part of this blog series, we have covered some of the questions a broker needs to consider when choosing a hosting provider:
- What size of server should be provisioned for the MT5 main server?
- Dedicated Baremetal Machine or Virtual Machine hosting?
- In which location should the MT5 main server be hosted?
Following on from part 1, we will discuss the remaining 2 points:
- How to optimize the setup? What are other important considerations for the MT5 setup?
- What are other important considerations when choosing the hosting provider?
How to optimize the setup? What are other important considerations for the MT5 setup?
From the previous question, we have already discussed where the main MT5 server shall be hosted. However, there are other considerations a broker needs to be aware of when building their brokerage infrastructure, in order to optimize the overall setup.
In addition to the location and hardware specifications of the MT5 server, the networks infrastructure surrounding the server is equally important. The trading platform receives a large number of messages that are the real-time price updates from the market, across all different products, which are then streamed to the customers. At the same time, the trading server handles the order requests from the customers that are being received. The order requests represent a relatively small number of messages when compared with the real-time price updates, which make the largest portion of messages the server will be processing at any given moment of time.
During trading hours, there are specific moments during the day when the volatility in the market can increase a lot (e.g. news events, etc.), where the number of messages received by the MT5 server increases exponentially (i.e. the traffic bursts we mentioned in our previous blog article). In these moments, brokers will want to ensure their server can operate and have the most up to date prices, and do not want prices to fall behind and/or skipped due to filled buffers, network bottleneck and congestion, which can lead to significant loss.
It is therefore really important that the network infrastructure where the MT5 main server is hosted is purposely built for financial trading, being able to optimally cope with such moments of volatility. And location also makes a big difference in such situations, because if the MT5 main server is located as close as possible to the liquidity sources, being essentially co-located with the liquidity providers, it is possible to put in place dedicated connections with the liquidity providers, using fiber-optic cables (i.e. also known as cross-connects), to achieve the fastest, highest throughput, secure and optimal trading performance.
Especially for a broker, business continuity is really crucial as the service provided to its customer is really sensitive to any downtime. Therefore, in additional to the redundancy and resilience of the hosting setup for the MT5 main server, it is important to also have backup facilities. The MT5 technology provides the ability of having a real-time backup, and it is very important that this is deployed and configured accordingly.
The backup server will have the same application components that are installed on the MT5 main server (i.e. primary server) and will mostly be responsible to synchronize any information that is changing on the primary server, in real-time. In emergency situations where the primary server fails to work or to be accessible, there will be the option to make the backup server the primary server. Therefore, it is suggested that the backup server should have the same hardware specifications and capabilities as the primary server.
Furthermore, the backup server should be placed in a different location to the main server, i.e. in different geographic location, on a separate infrastructure. In case an emergency happens, the service can continue from the backup server location.
A broker can have customers from multiple regions of the world, and all the clients must connect to the trading platform infrastructure. As explained before, the MT5 main server will be in one specific location, close to the liquidity providers and trading counterparts. Therefore it can be challenging in some cases to offer optimal connectivity to the customer base located across the world. There are multiple optimizations that can be done to improve this connectivity, and one is to make use of the MT5 Access Server components of the MT5 infrastructure and place them closer to each region where customers are located. There are various benefits of having MT5 Access Servers, such as:
- The access server acts as a proxy server to streamline the connection between the traders and the MT5 main server
- The access server can be used to hide the exact location and IP address of the MT5 main server, helping the broker to protect from cyberattacks and other malicious intents
- The access server can help reduce the load of the MT5 main server, by handling all the load of maintaining the client connections, sending the real-time price updates to a large number of clients, etc.
It is important to continuously monitor in real-time the health of the hardware and software of the MT5 main server and related components, to ensure everything is up to speed and that there are no failing parts to any of the components. In case of any signs of sub-optimal performance or hardware degradation, prompt action must be taken, to ensure that a large issue and outage is prevented from happening. The right hosting provider plays a crucial role in this, by having accurate monitoring systems as well as procedures to handle such situations, minimizing and issues that may occur.
In additional, the hosting monitor should also include real-time monitoring of the MT5 services that are running on the server, including logs, etc., to receive any change of state, and provide alerts if any of the components fails to work properly.
What are other important considerations when choosing the hosting provider?
So far we have discussed about the important aspects to consider for the server and infrastructure where to host the MT5 main server and related components, as well as the factors that may affect the performance of MT5 setup. However, there are also other important non-functional considerations to take into account. Here are some of the questions when considering a hosting provider:
- When the business grows, so will the hosting requirements and demands. Is the hosting provider able to help and cope with scaling up?
- Is the support team of the hosting provider available whenever help and assistance is required? Can they support immediately and efficiently, via direct interaction (i.e. group chat, etc.)?
- Are they available 24/7?
- Do they have enough staff in their teams to support the size of the business?
- Are they reliable? Can they be trusted with the trading setup and the customer’s data?
- Is the hosting provider specialized in hosting trading platforms? do they have the know-how about MT5, how it works and what are the niche requirements in order for the MT5 to operate optimally?
- Is the hosting provider capable (and willing) to actually install, configure, migrate, and troubleshoot MT5 related tasks?
- Is the infrastructure of the hosting provider in the right location with the right connectivity to the liquidity providers and trading venues needed?
- Is the infrastructure of the provider built with proper redundancy?
- Does the hosting provider have in place a robust disaster recovery plan?
There are many hosting providers on the market and choosing the right one and the right server setup for an MT5 infrastructure can be difficult. This article discussed some of the things a broker needs to consider when choosing the right hosting setup, the right hosting provider and optimizing their setup.
Although we have covered many of the technical aspects and questions, there are still factors that may influence the decision, i.e. regulations requirements, company requirements, commercials, various components and settings added to the MT5 (that may influence the load of MT5 servers), and much more. Brokers need to take every aspect into account before making the final decision. This is why it is so extremely important to work with a hosting provider that is specialized in such setups and has the technical and business knowledge of the industry to assist and safeguard the trading infrastructure.
The importance of the trading infrastructure for a brokers setup is often undervalued and ignored, however it is a determining factor to a broker’s success of failure, can make a difference to a broker’s growth and profitability as well as safeguard against significant financial and reputational damage. Therefore brokers should strive to have the optimal trading infrastructure and not only consider the pricing when taking the decision for their hosting setup. A few hundreds of dollars extra can be a huge investment in the success of their business.
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