Roman Zhukov, ETNA Software CEORoman is committed to bringing together the best engineering talent with a customer-oriented business strategy. Throughout his career, Roman managed the development of several large-scale projects for global financial organizations such as Allianz, Genesis Securities/SogoTrade, ACT Forex, thinkorswim, CIT Finance, Global Forex Trading, and Gilingam Bank and Trust.

1. You have been a technology solutions provider for capital markets for more than 10 years. What has changed most in the technology market over the last few years?

We see 3 main trends in the market that are shaping the financial software development industry:

  • Development of proprietary financial software components by major players on the outsourcing market. Our company has brought to market ETNA Trading Foundation, which is a library of financial software modules that is easy to tune up for the particular needs of different products and services.
  • The second big change is a focus on mobile financial software development – Iphone, Android, Ipad, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Tablet platforms. Since more and more customers prefer to use their favorite online services on the go, almost every project now requires us to implement a mobile solution in addition to the desktop or web-based user interface.
  • And, finally, there is a constant move towards maintaining development resources in low cost regions, such as Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, India, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc. ETNA Software has development offices in Russia, Belarus, and Vietnam, and manages to train developers in distant offices to ensure the same quality that is produced by the graduates of top Russian universities. Based on economy of scales, this allows us to significantly cut costs for a higher competitive advantage on the market.

2. What kind of technology solutions do you offer?

We offer web-based, desktop and mobile financial software solutions for capital markets. Our main consumers are business start-ups and big brands that expand with a new product or a service or tune their financial software infrastructure to meet the needs of market competition.

In detail, we offer a wide range of financial software solutions for:

  • Online Trading
  • Mobile Trading
  • HFT / Algo Trading
  • Asset Management
  • Risk Management
  • Pre-Trade
  • Post-Trade
  • OMS/EMS/Matching Engines
  • Market Connectivity

As for technologies, we use mostly demanded technologies – Java/.NET, C#/C++, HTML5/Javascript, PHP/Python.

3. Your products have received prestigious Barron’s Magazine Awards. Which of your products were awarded?

We are proud of two products that we continuously improve over the past several years now, which have been awarded a Barron’s Magazine Award at the latest 17th ranking in 2012:

  1. “SogoTrade” (retail division of “Wang Investments”) is an online trading platform for options which constantly receives Barron’s awards in “Usability” and “Technology” areas. It was built by ETNA Software from scratch as a business start-up. Now it is ranked 2nd by usability in the world.
  2. “ChoiceTrade.” ETNA Software continues to improve this online trading platform and recently implemented “The Wheel” feature for algo trading. It received high appreciation from Barron’s Magazine at the latest 17th annual 2012 rankings of online brokers : “The Web-based service was overhauled; one interesting feature is the ability to stage orders and set up very complex contingencies in The Wheel. The Wheel lets you define a series of conditions that can turn it into either a short-term scalping engine, or a long-term profit managing engine. It’s a great step forward for the order-entry process.” A detailed description of the service is located here:

4. You mentioned “sophisticated web development and data-driven applications technologies” as your “key strengths.” Could you tell us more about it?

There are 3 key factors to an approach to develop a financial software solution that distinguishes ETNA Software technologies:

  1. Financial, trade, and business consulting is incorporated in the software development process.
    A modern approach to financial software technology solutions development requires a wide range of knowledge from the development team. ETNA Software supports its development process with business audit, financial consulting and market analysis.
    This approach leads to creating a high usability UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) design that eventually receives Barron’s awards, if we talk about trading platform front end.
  2. High loaded data systems design.
    In order to build high-loaded trading web services, ETNA Software engineers have created an algo trading streaming technology that supports 3,000 orders per second, which could shut down an average exchange if used at maximum. This limit can be exceeded with solutions that involve data processing using network hardware and even video graphics hardware. These technologies have already been designed by ETNA Software.
  3. Following modern trends and market needs.
    ETNA Software stays in line with modern trends and market demands for mobile technology solutions. One of the first mobile trading platforms was developed for SogoTrade, and it has the same functionality as a desktop version.

5. What distinguishes your development techniques?

There are 3 main distinguishing characteristics of ETNA Software development process:

  1. Global team management.
    Our development offices are spread around the globe in the USA, two Russian cities, Belarus and Vietnam and all work as one organism.
  2. Flexibility of the development process approach.
    Different software development methods are used in the company. There are projects using agile techniques as well as projects using RUP or even a combination of them. Some of the developers or teams work on the customer side, some customers have joined our team in our offices.
  3. ETNA Trading Foundation
    In addition to that, we have already developed a wide range of proprietary components of trading framework that allows us to offer best practices to every client, as well as shorten the development time and time to market of a solution for the benefit of the client.

6. ETNA Software provides software development outsourcing services to enterprises and SMBs. Could you give us more details about it?

ETNA Software is mainly focused on b2b clients in capital markets. Clients come from the buy-side and sell-side of the financial industry. The company also serves technology companies as a software outsourcing division for them.

Among our customers are some well-known brands such as Saxobank, SogoTrade, Genesis Securities, Floodlight Investment, BlazePortfolio, Brainware, OpenWay Group, Allianz, and many others.
We help start-ups to launch a new business based on financial software technology, or enter a new market introducing a new financial service, or just cut costs or improve existing software infrastructure.
We also have solutions for individual traders, such as ETNA Robot – which is an algo trading solution for high-frequency trading, scalping, speculation, trend following, pair trading, delta neutral strategies, mean reversion and arbitrage.

7. Cloud Hosting Technology is a hot topic at the moment. Could you share some of your ideas in this field with our readers?

Cloud hosting has the following main advantages: high security & high reliability.

Security of managed cloud hosting is pretty much similar to that of dedicated hosting offered by dedicated; or VPS/VDS; or hybrid solutions hosting providers or resellers. Virtualization technologies and security measures taken by Amazon, Rackspace, Microsoft, Google or HP (or any other brand name cloud hosting solutions firm) are not different from what traditional hosting providers now offer. OS security and all systems setup are still keys to the unbreakable anti-theft defense. On the other hand, the one who gets physical access to the dedicated servers’ environment gets access to the data. This is not the case with cloud hosting. Even understanding across how many machines a virtual server is spread is not easy. Getting physical access to those machines is even harder.

Reliability is a key to mission critical systems and SaaS solutions since uptime is money. In traditional environments, reliability is often achieved by hosting the solution in several geographical zones with several providers. Using different access providers and enabling failover between the systems is also essential. This significantly raises the costs of hosting in the traditional hosting sense. With Amazon Web Services, cloud solutions failover can be achieved using internal mechanisms without additional development, using virtually a couple of clicks. Moreover, you will only pay for backup servers when they are active, which means that the main one is either inaccessible or the data is being replicated.

8. Your projects are based on Microsoft .NET, Java and Oracle, MS SQL, and MySQL.  Could you tell us more about developing with these applications? And which application is your favorite?

Our technology preference is based on client benefits factors:

  • well spread and supported today and will be expanding in the future
  • allows continuous low cost support of the software
  • cross-platform, can be run on different devices to provide a large client database

Since we have determined a mobile application development trend, we also recommend using HTML5 as a base technology for front-ends of financial solutions that will be coded once and be available on any mobile device, which is a significant cost reduction factor.

The ETNA Software team is pretty flexible in choosing technologies, and there are no real favorites. We choose the best solution for the client and the project to provide high load metrics and quality.

9. What are the advantages of using Microsoft .NET?

The major advantage is reducing the time of development, especially for web applications, in comparison with other technologies. For example, award-winning SogoTrade’s option trading platform is based on ASP.NET – it took about 6 months to push the platform to LIVE.

10. Do you plan on extending your company’s Product Palette this year?

Two mobile applications that we are going to introduce are: an IPhone app for monitoring US market and a cross-platform mobile HTML5-app for trading across the most popular mobile platforms – Iphone, Android, and BlackBerrry. The 3rd significant project which is going to go live is a social network for traders.

Many plans are still too early to disclose, so watch out for new solutions, products and services from ETNA Software. You may subscribe to our news feed at, stay up to date with technology trends with ETNA Software Technology Software Newsletter, or have a discussion at our blog.

(article is kindly provided by Software Developers’ Journal