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Do you Interface with our FCM?

We get this question often when speaking with prospective customers. The answer? Probably – and for most users, it doesn't matter whether we do or not.

How Molecule gets exchange trades

If you trade on any of the exchanges where Molecule has FIX adapters – ICE, CME, or Nodal Exchange – Molecule gets your trades from the exchange a few seconds after they clear, full stop.

No additional interfaces are needed to get your trades in: not to your FCM, clearing broker, TT, CQG, or anything else.

What Molecule does with FCM files

Molecule connects to an ever-growing number of FCMs (13 at last count) to download their statements as a check every day. We compare what the statement says to what Molecule has from a position perspective – because that's one of the most likely places for things to go out of sync. If we get position right, it's likely everything else is in line.

Can you also reconcile trade prices and fees with my FCM?

We're working on it.

Can you tell me what my margin needs to be or reconcile cash?

That would require us to have a SPAN engine on our platform (for ICE and CME)  – and we don't have that today. With the data we collect, we can get close to reconciling cash – see more on our Knowledge Base.

Incidentally, if you know how SPAN works, and would like to help us figure it out – hit us up!

SoftwareFeatures

H1 2021: What's New So Far

It's been a busy year! In case you've missed our release notes--here are some of the new-and-improved features we've shipped in Molecule so far this year.

  1. Included Power Settlement Prices: We noticed our power customers often had quite a time mapping lots of LMPs and block prices. So, we partnered with NRGStream to provide LMPs from North American ISOs, as part of our new Elektra package!
  2. New, Complex Trade Types: We've rolled out two new trade types that are especially important for our power customers (but also helpful for others, too!): (a) stepwise trades – which turn from yearlies, to monthlies, dailies, and then hourlies (great for FTR options), and (b) dynamic-volume trades – which are trades whose volumes actualize automatically, from Assets.
  3. Manage your own Books: We rolled out our new, user-facing Book Maintenance screen.
  4. Payment Dates: No more using custom fields to capture T+1, T+2, etc payment dates. Molecule captures those at trade entry and calculates the dates for you.
  5. Improved Fee Recommendations: Molecule can now apply fee schedules by FCM and block status to more accurately model your portfolio.

We also improved lots of our existing features, like our Actualization screen (which graduated from Beta),

and our right-click-a-trade to show its Valuation history popup:

There's lots more cooking right now – including APX integration, new custom fields, and accounting line item generation/GL integration. Keep your eyes peeled!

SoftwareFeatures

Happy Holidays 🎉 & Molecule Updates

It’s the end of 2020 (finally), and at Molecule, we’re super proud of our product, team, and the damage we’ve done to the ETRM industry (#1 in cloud ETRM – w00t!).

Here are a few highlights of what we’ve done to our product this year:

Valuations Screen / Quickview

Tired of downloading spreadsheets to diagnose an issue? We were! We built a shiny new screen called Valuations to handle that. On Valuations, you can access all the data available on our Valuations API (i.e., via spreadsheet), and make saved, customized, pivotable views of your portfolio. Want to learn more, or get a preview? NOTE: You must have the “Positions” screen privilege in Molecule, to get access.

Valuations

For quick access to how a single trade has valued over time, you can now: 1) right-click on a trade on the new Trades screen, or 2) click “Show Valuations” while in the Trade Edit view. You can even download the data, to diagnose further. Easy!

Quick Access Valuations

2. More Secure Sign-On

Security is paramount at Molecule, and to that end we rolled out options for two-factor authentication (via a rotating code on users’ phones) and SAML login. This is a huge deal and we highly recommend at least turning on two-factor for your organization (at no extra cost).

SAML login is even better (as it connects to your organization’s single sign-on system), and is available on our Enterprise plan.

3. Physical Power Enhancements (Elektra)

An increasing percentage of our customers trade physical power – so we’ve made lots of enhancements to make your lives easier. We rolled out better hourly (even 1-minute) power support – so trades, market data, and positions can all share the same product codes and be grouped appropriately. Nearly all power customers have been moved over to this scheme.

We also announced that we’ll provide LMPs (and settled blocks) to physical power customers automatically in Molecule – to eliminate the mapping and data-wrangling exercise (and maintenance) otherwise needed to settle power trades. The first version of this is scheduled to roll out in January and we plan to gradually replace LMPs from all other sources (except those uploaded by users) in early 2021.

Our physical power improvements come under the new Elektra package and we hope to have much more to share on this next year.

4. Actualization

We saw a significant increase in physical non-power trading on our platform in 2020. To help with that, we rolled out a new, consolidated Actualization screen. It’s fast and easy and we are continuing to add new features to it based on feedback from customers.

Consolidated Actualization Screen

We have lots more features planned for next year, related to physical trading. These include contract management, limits, and GL account management. Please keep your eyes peeled!

5. P&Sing

Finally, in 2020 we rolled out a super-nerdy feature that, if you can get past its name, is super-important. For companies who trade on exchanges, we now support same-day + FIFO – based P&Sing.

What does this mean? It means that, if you’d like, we can flip a switch and close out exchange positions as they’re closed at your bank. Which, in turn, means, you can get a better breakdown of exchange-based realized and unrealized P&L. This can also dramatically reduce the number of lines on your valuation/P&L reports if your company does a lot of exchange trading.

We drop new features all the time, and we made lots of other important improvements to Molecule this year as well, including finalizing the new Trades screen (old one being retired in Q1), support for bilateral strips, support for several new FCMs, improved decay functionality (for intramonth/balmo valuations), and improved settlements functionality (so you can now mark and settle vs different products).

Thanks so much for being interested in our company, and/or using our product. We ❤️️ you, and we can’t wait to share many more new improvements with you in 2021!

SoftwareFeatures

The Molecule Ecosystem

The Molecule ecosystem is the foundation of the Molecule Commodity Trading and Risk Management (CTRM) System.

Our approach is simple... invest in available cloud-based technologies to provide a rich and robust infrastructure while focusing our internal resources on the core application.

In this blog post, I'll outline which cloud-based technologies we leverage and on which parts of the ecosystem we focus our internal resources.

What We Leverage

Within the Molecule ecosystem, we use multiple third-party services and technologies to provide the reliability, performance, and user experience our customers have come to expect of us.

Infrastructure, Networking, & Backend Services

The majority of our system components run on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS) leveraging AWS' shared responsibility model.

At the core of our infrastructure is Kubernetes, managed by AWS EKS.

We rely on Kubernetes to make sure our actual system state matches our desired state.

This ensures system reliability and enables horizontal scalability to manage the intermittent system loads we need to support.

At Molecule, we run two Kubernetes clusters, one for our primary application and a second to host our microservices ("m.functions").

Along with EKS, we also leverage AWS Relational Database Services (RDS) to host and manage our PostgreSQL instance and AWS Elasticache to host and manage our Redis instances.

Hosting these critical infrastructure and back-end services on a cloud provider like AWS allows us to easily scale up and out as necessary so we can manage any load that our customers throw at us.

We can also easily execute version upgrades to keep up with advances in these technologies.

Supporting Services

In addition to the infrastructure and backend services managed by AWS, we use a variety of supporting services and technologies that fall into the following categories:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Security & Authentication Services
  • Logging & Monitoring

Business Intelligence

Instead of rolling out our own business intelligence and reporting solution, we leverage Mode Analytics, which allows Molecule to white label and embed the reports and data analytics we provide customers.

Mode provides the technology and data security and Molecule can quickly provide the reports our customers need.

Security & Authentication Services

Security of our platform and of our customers' data is Molecule's highest priority.

At Molecule, security begins with code development; however, we leverage multiple third-party services to provide a comprehensive security layer - from infrastructure security to application security.

Starting with the infrastructure layer, we leverage AWS networking and security services to protect the infrastructure within which the Molecule application runs.

We use VPCs (Virtual Private Clouds) to ensure the application and data layers do not provide any unnecessary access.

Weekly infrastructure scans are executed by AWS Inspector and AWS GuardDuty is integrated into our DevOps workflow to notify us immediately of any detected threats.

At all layers of the application, we use a growing set of tools to provide functions like single sign-on (SSO), penetration testing, and dynamic security scanning.

Logging & Monitoring

Managing application logs and monitoring of the application itself is another important area of the Molecule ecosystem where we use third-party services.

For managing application logs and providing access to log data, we use Elasticsearch and Kibana both hosted by elastic.co.

Molecule strives to be aware of any issues impacting our customers before our customers are and before our customers' business operations are impacted.

To help us achieve this objective, we use multiple monitoring and alerting services provided by Grafana, Pingdom, and Honeybadger.

Each of these services is integrated into our DevOps worfklow, which uses Slack as our primary DevOps user interface.

What We Build

To complement the areas where we rely on third-party services, we focus our internal resources on the following:

  • User Experience
  • Business Rules
  • Integrations
  • Microservices
  • Molecule API

User Experience

A primary directive within Molecule is that we do not compromise on user experience or usability of the application.

To achieve this level of user experience excellence, we have our own visual designer on staff who knows how to make software developers look good.

Business Rules

At Molecule, our engineers follow the clean architecture patterns from Robert (Uncle Bob) Martin.

At the heart of the architecture are enterprise and application business rules, which are the brain power of the Molecule application.

Molecule engineers spend a good portion of their time in this area of the ecosystem.

Integrations

Another important objective at Molecule is to ease our users' lives by automating and streamlining as much of the trade capture and valuation process as we can.

To support this objective, we have developed a number of integrations with commodity exchanges (e.g. ICE and CME), ISOs (Independent Service Operators) through our relationship with Hartigen, market data providers (e.g. Morningstar), and FCMs (Futures Commission Merchant).

These integrations are a hybrid between third-party and internal focus since we use each provider's API.

Microservices

In a prior post, Introducing Molecule M.Functions, I covered how Molecule uses Istio and Knative to provide an infrastructure for developing and deploying microservices.

These support the Molecule application and provide add-on capabilities that we develop on behalf of customers.

Microservices have allowed us to expand our development capabilities beyond our core engineers.

Molecule API

In the past couple of years, we have invested time building out and documenting a V2 REST API to expose all of Molecule's capabilities to our customers through an easily consumable API.

Our API has been used to develop custom integrations to applications hosted and managed by our customers as well as to pull trade and valuation data into Excel.

At Molecule, we eat our own dog food and our V2 API is also used by the Molecule application to support our V2 React screens.

If you are an existing customer, feel free to reach out to Molecule at support@molecule.io to access the API docs and try the API for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully I've given you a glimpse into the rich ecosystem that makes up Molecule and into which areas of the Molecule CTRM system leverage cloud providers like AWS and third-party services and technology providers while internally we focus on our differentiators.

Software

200 = SUCCESS

We have rolled out our two-hundredth (200th!) software release to all Molecule customers. Huzzah!

You're probably familiar with the "500 error page" on webpages that aren't working. What you might not know is that there are many more http codes--and one that starts with a 2, means that all is right with the world.

Source

As we look back on where we came from – from, literally, a PowerPoint presentation in a conference room on Montrose in 2012, to what CTRMCenter calls "widely known" in the industry, we can be nothing but proud of what we've built. We are committed to building our customers the best ETRM/CTRM system on the planet, and doing so with amazing usability, the latest technology, and frequent, free updates.

I am so incredibly proud of the amazing team that has made this, and the past two hundred releases of our software. When we founded Molecule, it was an idea based on the premise that enterprise software should be just as awesome to use as the apps on our phones. We also believed that this market segment was long overdue for 21st century technology. We were right, in more ways than we knew.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along this journey. We look forward to release 300 in a couple of years. Our software will be so different (and even better) then–and we intend to celebrate appropriately, with Spartan-themed evening wear. (kidding!)

Here's a little preview of what's new in Molecule v200.

User-Customizable Reporting

Think Positions screen on steroids. Our new beta Valuations screen gives non-technical users access to the power of Molecule's open APIs - enabling them to sort, filter, pivot, and create multiple custom views that can be saved and refreshed throughout the day. This new feature will be available to existing customers at no additional cost.

ETRM/CTRM Software Reporting Customizable Reporting

Actualizations, Part Deux

Our new Actualization screen will make actualizing multiple physical deliveries of products much easier than was previously possible. This new feature will also be available at no additional cost.

Even Better Login, powered by Auth0

Molecule now supports two-factor authentication for all customers, as well as SAML-based Single Sign-on for Enterprise customers, at no additional cost. In the background is a giant set of security upgrades powered by Auth0, which helps Molecule stay at the cutting edge of cloud software security.

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