In this post, I’ll focus on the software/hardware requirements that are necessary to do automated trading successfully. More in detail, I’ll focus on trading platforms, data feed supply, computer requirements and VPS services.
Software Requirements: The Trading Platform and Data Feed Supply
In order to begin with automated trading, I recommend that you use MultiCharts together with the IQFeed data stream. At the moment, we believe that this setup is one of the most stable.
In addition, its programming language is very simple. So, you will be able to develop trading systems much faster, compared to other platforms such as MT4 or NinjaTrader (they have programming languages that are much more complex).
Alternatively, some students prefer the Tradestation platform. This is an All-In-One solution that integrates platform, datafeed and brokerage service. Everything is provided by the same supplier: Tradestation Brokerage Service.
MultiCharts and Tradestation have virtually the same language. So, you can actually copy 99% of the scripts from one platform to the other and use them directly as they are.
How to Reduce Costs
Initially, if you want to reduce the costs you pay for the platform and the data supply, you can choose Tradestation. In fact, this platform is provided for free to customers who have a minimum balance on their trading accounts. I think it should be about $2,000.
The data for the Forex and American Globex markets are completely free as well. On the contrary, the data for the EUREX market are excluded. However, you can add them for a price of about $25 per month.
With regard to the MultiCharts + IQFeed costs, you should take into account:
- the $1,100 one-time MultiCharts license (discounted price for Unger Academy students) after the 30-day free trial has expired;
- about $100 per month for IQFeed data (the cost varies according to the data packages you subscribe).
Recently, IQFeed has placed a limitation on the downloading of data by students who subscribe the free trial of the data supply service (which lasts a week). Actually, it has limited the download of the historical data for each instrument to four days of intraday data. However, once you complete the full (paid) subscription, you will have full access to all historical data since 2006 or 2008 on, depending on each package.
In any case, in our forum we provide students with historical data from IQFeed. This way, we enable them to start using MultiCharts with quality historical data without paying for an IQFeed subscription.
The Hardware Requirements of Trading Platforms
The requirements in terms of hardware for the two platforms are similar. MultiCharts is a bit more demanding. Being a 64-bit version, it is more efficient but also more demanding. So, it is better to have the following hardware setup:
- a computer with at least 2 cores 4 virtual threads (for example, an Intel i5 or higher)
- at least 4 GB of RAM for the development of strategies
You can find more details at the following links:
Hardware Requirements: Renting a VPS Service
In order to run strategies live, we recommend renting a VPS (Virtual Private Server). This consists in a virtual computer that can be accessed remotely. You can install a copy of Multicharts or Tradestation (it is not necessary to buy a second license of the platform) on that computer.
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)
- connection stability (the datacenters that host the servers have multiple redundant connections in case of internet line failure).
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 from the Smart series. It is a good solution for starters and is available at affordable prices. Moreover, it is often on sale at even more advantageous prices (https://www.arubacloud.com/).
As for 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 opted for a 4-core model with 8 GB of RAM, 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. This is scalable, so you can adapt it to your needs in terms of resources. Alternatively, you can also opt for a dedicated server. I think this is the best solution. Among the ones I tested, it proved to be the most stable and best-performing.
I hope this post about software/hardware requirements was useful to you.
Ciao from Andrea Unger, see you next time!