NYSE launches community cloud for financial traders

A vertical cloud for the cash crowd is now in beta. But is it just hosting with another name?

The technology arm of international stock exchange corporation NYSE Euronext has launched what it calls the "financial industry's first cloud platform." It's in beta and amounts to a proof-of-concept for what NYSE Technologies calls the Capital Markets Community Platform. It has two customers at the moment and runs at NYSE's data centers in Mahwah, N.J.

The intention is to make this a managed service that customers can use as a self-service if they want.

Stanley Young, CEO of NYSE Technologies

NYSE Technologies announced the platform in conjunction with VMware and EMC. It runs on vCloud Director and integrates a great deal of NYSE Technologies' trading services; users can tap into virtual machines and IT services and pay for it on demand.

Jarrod Yuster, CEO of Pico Quantitative Trading, said the new service essentially gives him more of the infrastructure setup he currently runs for real-time trading. He said Pico had begun moving over virtual infrastructure used for test, development and other non-critical systems, and it was fairly seamless.

"That's how it exists in [our] other data centers as well," he said, noting that he was already a heavy consumer of NYSE Technologies' historical stock data.

This essentially puts his systems closer to services he already used and lets him off the hook for infrastructure management, a common cloud computing benefit. Yuster noted that he's not yet ready to move his actual trading systems into the Community Platform; they require dedicated physical servers and communications to perform at the speeds necessary. Advantages in real-time trading can involve thousands upon thousands of trades every day, and margins for profit are measured in microseconds.

A community cloud for financials
NYSE Technologies CEO Stanley Young said that the idea was to create a "community cloud" specific to the financial industry that would absorb risk and lower investment costs for investors and trading firms. He added, however, that it was not a true infrastructure cloud like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and so comparisons, especially on pricing, would not be fair.

"We're caging [servers] for a different need," he said.

Price and subscription details were not fully announced. The service should be coming out of beta July 1.

The Capital Markets Community Platform is, at heart, a set of custom OS images and application stacks tightly integrated with NYSE's other IT services, such as the Superfeed data service, the Risk Management Gateway (RMG), Managed Services Hub and the global Liquidity Center Network, all of which run on the Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure (STFI). Customers buy packages of CPU, storage, bandwidth and services.

We're caging [servers] for a different need.

Stanley Young, on comparing this cloud to AWS

While adamant that this is a true cloud computing platform, Young said it is intended to be consumed more like managed hosting, with NYSE Technologies doing all the actual provisioning and server management. He didn't, however, rule out self-service.

"It's holistic in what it's offering…the intention is to make this a managed service that customers can use as a self-service if they want," he said.

Young said that NYSE Euronext is expecting rapid intake of users and building infrastructure to support this in London, Basel and, later in the year, Tokyo. He said demand was in part driven by larger firms unwilling to invest capital in IT and uninterested in using pure-play cloud environments like AWS. He said the Volcker Rule had created a gold rush of financial startups that would also buy into the platform.

So it's not a true self-service cloud and it only delivers what the NYSE wants traders to have, but it can be had on-demand and pay-as-you-go. It remains to be seen whether the cloud-hungry will come; NYSE Technologies may have some cachet with the high-tech finance world but it has a steep uphill climb against established, enterprise-class hosters to deliver infrastructure at a competitive level.

Carl Brooks is the Senior Technology Writer for SearchCloudComputing.com. Contact him at cbrooks@techtarget.com.

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