In order to begin with automated trading, I recommend adopting MultiCharts for a platform, which is connected to the IQFeed data stream: at the moment, we believe that this setup is one of the most stable and it is excellent given the simplicity of the language that allows you to develop much faster than other platforms (compared to, for example, MT4 or NinjaTrader, which have much more complex programming languages).
Alternatively, some students prefer the Tradestation platform, which is an All-In-One solution, integrating both the platform and the datafeed part as well as the brokerage service, and everything is provided by a single supplier: Tradestation Brokerage Service…
MultiCharts and Tradestation have virtually the same language and 99% of the scripts can be directly copied from one platform to the other and used directly.
Initially if you want to contain costs (both for the platform and the data supply) the ideal solution could be Tradestation which is provided free to customers who have a minimum balance on the trading account (I think I remember around $2000) and even the data of the Forex market and of the American Globex market are completely free, the data of the EUREX market are excluded, but they could be added for about $25 a month.
With regard, however, to the MultiCharts + IQFeed costs, you should take into account: $1100 one-time license for MultiCharts (discounted price for Unger Academy students) after 30 days of free trial, and about $100 per month for the data with IQFeed (the cost varies according to the subscribed data packages).
Recently, by the way, IQFeed has placed a limitation on the downloading of data to students who subscribe to the free trial of the data supply service (which lasts a week): in fact, it has limited the download of the historical data for each instrument to 4 days intraday data, while once completed the full (paid) subscription historical data will be available from the year 2006 or 2008 depending on the individual package.
In any case, we provide the students’ historical data downloaded from IQFeed in the forum so that they are accessible to users who initially do not need to subscribe to the data stream in real time: this allows you to start using MultiCharts with quality historical data without paying for a subscription to IQFeed.
The requirements in terms of hardware for the two platforms are all similar, MultiCharts is a bit more demanding (having been released in a 64-bit version, it will be more efficient but also more demanding as a program), so it would be recommended to setup a computer with at least 2 cores 4 virtual threads (for example, an Intel i5 or higher class) and at least 4 GB of RAM for the development of strategies …
You can find the details of the requirements at the following links:
In order to run the strategies live, we recommend renting a VPS (Virtual Private Server) which consists of a virtual computer accessible remotely and on that PC install another copy of Multicharts / Tradestation (it is not necessary to buy a second license of the platform). The main advantages that lead to renting a VPS are: low risk of electric blackouts (the main providers have uninterruptible power supply in case of problems on the electricity grid) and connection stability (the datacenters hosting the servers have multiple redundant connections in case of malfunction of an internet line).
The main service providers most used by our students are Aruba and Amazon AWS. At the moment I am very comfortable with Aruba, initially I used a VPS Cloud XL of the Smart series and I find that it is a good solution for starters, at acceptable prices, and also, it is often put on sale at even more advantageous prices …
Again with regard to the VPS, I always recommend starting with solutions that have at least 2 CPUs and 4 GB of RAM to prevent the platform from crashing during the live phase. I personally opted for the 4 core model and 8 GB of RAM to be sure, and I must say that all in all the solution worked well enough.
If the number of active strategies increases and they require more resources, then you can switch to a VPS Cloud Pro server (which is scalable and therefore adaptable to your needs in terms of available resources) or to a dedicated server (which is the best solution in my opinion and among those I tested it is proving to be the most stable and best-performing).