Have you ever been trading around 5 PM eastern time and had your platform freeze up? Or have you triggered stop losses due to astronomical spreads? Welcome to daily maintenance!! Daily maintenance is something every trader has probably experienced, even if they may not have realized it. If you trade for Apiary, it is at 9:00-9:06 PM GMT. And if you've never looked like the guy below during that time, you're one of the luck ones...
But what is "Daily Maintenance"? Why do spreads reach upwards of 30 pips on some pairs occasionally? Why does it last so long sometimes? What or who does it even benefit?
Lets begin with the "who does it help?". Short answer, you! For the long answer, we need to dive into the some of the other questions. Daily maintenance is a period of time where LPs will shut down there servers and limit or stop their quotes as a whole. Alveo and Apiary Fund are not alone. Here are a few other instances of daily maintenance outside of Apiary as a whole! Certain LP price distributors, such as Fastmatch, have their maintenance for 30 minutes between 5:00 and 5:30 PM Eastern Time1. For Fastmatch, during this whole 30 minutes you will not be able to receive quotes and won't be able to access their GUI either to see LP's data either. Interactive Brokers will experience a maintenance cycle anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour depending on the day2. Ally3 and Turnkey4, who work with the Metatrader platform, both do a daily 15 minute server maintenance. Apiary Fund experiences 6 minutes of maintenance. During this period of time, a lot is happening. LPs and brokers alike are making sure everything is functioning correctly for you. Data feeds are reconnected to make sure there are no issues, sometimes different servers are activated to give its counterpart time to cool off (24 hour data processing and distribution can make servers hot!), misquotes are analyzed and resolved, coding patches and updates may be installed, and much more. Now the broker and LP don't always go through maintenance at the same time. Some brokers will have a weekly maintenance while the LPs have their daily. What Apiary Fund, and Alveo, does is both. Apiary Fund will utilize the 6 minutes our LPs are down and restart the servers for peak performance. Then, we will also have a weekly maintenance for the bigger stuff. That way, we cut down on the time traders can't trade and get you right back into the markets.
Now for the question most people focus on: Why do spreads get so high? Maintenance has multiple parts with most LPs. The first is a total shut down and restart. This is the 6 minutes of no trading on Alveo. Then, there will be the rest of their designated maintenance time where monitoring trades and filling orders becomes more difficult due to systematic downage. To reduce risk where they cannot monitor the trades, the LPs (and brokers if you trade with one that adds on their own spread) will drastically increase the spreads to try and reduce trading during these times. Many times during the year however, there won't even be a market open for you to trade. New York and Sydney will often have an hour gap between being open. So staying away from your platform during these times may be the best move. It is important to know when these maintenance periods are for who you trade with so you know when to start slowing done on the trading and keeping a keen eye on the spread. For Apiary Fund, maintenance is 9:00-9:06 PM GMT yet the spreads will commonly remain high for the whole hour as the LPs confirm everything is working for traders.