The Art of Building a Scalable Trading Platform

Scalability should be one of the top concerns for every trading software owner. 

Lack of it hurts end users immediately. 

Imagine that the app that had performed perfectly a month ago showed signs of a slowdown a week ago. Today, it stops responding in the middle of an intense trading session, just when a millisecond becomes the distinct line between loss and profit. 

Challenges are inevitable for every successful trading project. 

To overcome this, you need a well-thought-out approach. 

The art of building a scalable platform includes multiple aspects: organization, management, processes, source code, and more.

Developers handle heterogeneous sources of system load. These include:

  • number of end users working in the system
  • availability of supported assets
  • volumes of processed operations

Scalability has a dynamic nature. Load skyrockets during business hours. Extra resources are idle during time off. 

Tackling scalability issues requires an individual approach. Tactics that perfectly suit the needs of one project may not apply to another that has reached a different level. 

You need to determine the path that meets your concerns. 

Meeting business concerns

Match user expectations from software performance and friendliness. 

Users rarely care what happens under the hood as long as everything works fine. However, they easily notice the slightest signs of degrading UX.

Scalability ensures that the users receive the same high-level experience, regardless of their number in the system and the number of operations they perform. 

Correct, real-time operations across all available locations are the point of concern. 

Global operations add extra complexity: user load decreases in one time zone while increasing in another. The maintenance team must scale flexibly to adjust to changing business hours. 

Coping with market volatility is another challenge. Trading activity increases while users try to gain more profit or minimize losses by relying on high-frequency techniques. Load spikes. Software may freeze in the most unsuited moment.

Updates are another source of issues. A great trading platform provides improvements to users’ workflow at reasonable costs. Timely incorporation of user feedback offers a competitive edge. For it, you need regular deliveries.

Opt for flexible software architecture to support changing user needs and retain scalability.

Offer new functionality for a selected user group. Do enough beta testing before expanding to the entire user base. Make sure new features do not affect performance.

Also, account for industry regulations and cyber threats. Strict security requirements for data exchange and storage may hinder the scalability of a growing project on the one hand. When ignored, they lead to losses on the other. 

Therefore, you need to account for scalability when building a platform. You need to retain it during platform updates and expansion.

Meeting architecture concerns

Architecture plays a critical role in software scalability. Architecture decisions affect the production environment sooner or later. Yet, the later, the heavier. 

Document accurately. Long-term evolution is impossible without architectural knowledge—be aware of the reasons for project decisions and accepted tradeoffs. 

No knowledge, no stability. The platform will not scale as per business needs. You will need to start a digital transformation. 

Consider microservices. Microservices approach—launching micro-modules that do only one thing but do it well—works best for high-load platforms. 

Microservices are lightweight, flexible, and easy to deploy.

The development team divides the entire project into small, loosely coupled chunks and provides relevant infrastructure design. 

Unlike monolith architecture, microservices components are not tied together and do not depend on each other heavily. The team can scale them as required. 

Still, microservices scaling can be challenging too. Too many granular microservices may cause a pitfall, requiring too many resources for inter-service communications.

Therefore, сustom trading software development needs to focus on both quantitative and qualitative challenges in a microservices-based solution. Not only how much to add but also where to add. Identify components that must scale and keep in mind their relation to the rest of the system. Proper decomposition is vital.

Meeting development and maintenance concerns

Several specific points impact upgrades and maintenance of a trading platform. Ensure technological processes become a basis for long-term improvements:


Use the Agile approach to focus on features that bring value. Identify risks and challenges on time. 

Revisit goals and challenges regularly. Examine your software against your goals. Deliver frequently.

Be prepared to respond to unknown unknowns—those may emerge at any time. Welcome changing requirements.

Source-code quality 

The quality of a provided solution is critical for trading software. 

Deliver code using a zero-issue approach. Excessive testing takes time and resources. Yet, it ensures bugs and flaws do not appear on the production server. 

Do not use shortcuts for a faster launch. Instead, focus on long-term ambitions and seamless operations. 

Tech debt management and modernization 

Updates, improvements, and modernization activities prolong the lifecycle. 

Take time to eliminate tech debt. It seems boring and distracting to deliver features. Yet, keeping tech debt will become too expensive at some point.

Keeping tech debt at a reasonable minimum is critical for timely deliveries and long-term system stability.

The same goes for technology updates. Either you do it or become an owner of legacy software. You reach the point when expansion and scalability become limited or impossible. 

Continuous infrastructure optimization

Initiate regular infrastructure audits to identify bottlenecks and improvement areas at least once every six months. 

Revise resources’ life cycle in the cloud. You might be paying for services that were not switched off timely. Eliminate odd resources to save on maintenance costs. Reorganize infrastructure when needed. 

Introduce automation where possible. Introduce CI / CD pipeline and. Automate routine jobs such as environment deployments, test automation, releases, and more where possible. 

Disaster recovery

Encourage high system resilience to failures. Have a backup plan for the case when the software stops working.

The system can use several clusters, switching seamlessly between them if one becomes unavailable. Make sure system failure remains unnoticed by end users. 

Also, create regular backups of user data. Test backups for a successful recovery. 

Measuring and monitoring

Software deployment and maintenance never work in the way “Set it, and forget it.” 

To scale, you need to know how your system is doing. 

Use metrics to monitor system performance and track progress. Multiple tools are available on the market.  

Four crucial metrics include: 

  • Lead time for changes
  • Change failure rate
  • Deployment frequency
  • Mean time to recover

Database optimization

Database optimization is an essential step. Trading systems process large data volumes of different natures. 

Database reorganization allows for increasing the number of processed operations. 

You can also integrate several databases for different data types. 

You save costs, improve latency, and streamline data flow by reorganizing database structure. 


Closing thoughts

All in all, you balance cost-effectiveness, performance, and user satisfaction. It means that you should scale right at the point when the load increases. 

If you do it sooner, you waste resources. If you do it later, you irritate users.

To scale effectively, you need to dynamically adjust the supply and demand of resources. In extreme cases, you have a couple of seconds for a decision. 

No problem when your system is ready for scaling challenges.  

To design a scalable trading system, you need to:

  • consider a flexible architecture
  • work Agile
  • preserve high-quality source code
  • manage tech debt
  • optimize infrastructure
  • automate tasks
  • have a tested recovery plan
  • monitor system health
  • enhance database structure

Make sure to revise your system on time. 

By adopting these principles, you enjoy a sustainable, scalable system.

Teboho Ibrahim
Teboho Ibrahim
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