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The undercover performance team had been working for months now, and they were not even half way through the project. First, of course, there were the logistics to arrange. Temporary rentals of servers in a number of different locations, arranging the movement and installation of the servers, ensuring they were calibrated for finest resolutions, connecting to the downstream feeds, many other details ... it was an unusual logistic and technical challenge for a performance team. The first results were beginning to come in now, and already results were sufficient to identify where the next wave of servers would need to be targeted.

What they were doing was perfectly legal. Indeed, it would have been quite a lot cheaper and faster to have obtained this information illegally. But management were quite clear that anything illegal was completely, 100%, out - no illicit corner cutting was to be allowed in any way. The project was reviewed in detail on a weekly basis by a legal support team to ensure that even fuzzy legal boundaries were not approached.

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So, what was the ultimate goal of this secret undercover performance project? A microsecond. All this effort over just one microsecond! Well, not actually a single microsecond, it was a microsecond per message - indeed, potentially several microseconds per message. Is a microsecond delay in receiving a message important to to you? It was to this team. You may have guessed by now, that the team worked for a hedge fund; that the connection they were measuring was to the trading exchange that they ran black-box trading applications against; and that a one microsecond faster connection to the exchange would be more than enough to cover the large costs of this undercover performance project.

The actual exchange location is a closely guarded secret. By testing the connection latency from various different locations, eventually the team would narrow down to the building where the exchange was located - and then install servers running their black-box trading applications there. Every 300 meters further away from the exchange was one microsecond longer in latency to and from the exchange - and every microsecond difference in latency was worth millions of dollars to this hedge fund.

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That's a true story, by the way. Such is our modern business world. Now on with the newsletter. We have our usual lists of Java performance tools, news, and articles - and the theme of this month's extracted tips is Java 7. At fasterj, Kirk tells us all about the Garbage First collector, and, as usual, we have extracted tips from all of this month's referenced articles. But I'm afraid no Javva The Hutt this month, as he's on holiday.


Java performance tuning related news.


Java performance tuning related tools.

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Jack Shirazi

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