Server cages inside the Equinix NY4 data center in northern New Jersey. (Photo: Equinix)

The Data Centers Powering High FrequencyTrading

High frequency trading is in the news this week, as are the data centers in northern New Jersey that serve as the technology engines powering the practice. Here’s a look at the four data centers mentioned prominently in this week’s news, along with some useful links to our coverage of low-latency trading and colocation.

CenturyLink/Savvis in Weehawken: Few people had heard of high-frequency trading back in 2007, when we visited Weehawken to profile the Savvis proximity trading operation in the Digital Realty building on the banks of the Hudson. In 2010 Savvis expanded into a second building next door, which allowed it to add hundreds of additional colocation cabinets.

Equinix in Secaucus – In October we brought readers inside the NY4 data center, which houses the heaviest concentration of financial trading firms. The 340,000 square foot facility is large enough to house five football fields. More than 57 miles of cabling runs through NY4 to connect servers and power equipment. Billions of packets of data speed back and forth through fiber optic cables in yellow trays, which run overhead between customer cages to connect the 450 customers housed in the data center. Check out our photo feature offering a visual guide to NY4’s infrastructure.

The NYSE Liquidity Hub in Mahwah: This 400,000 square foot data center has been engineered for security, speed and reliability to support its mission as the nerve center for the NYSE”s electronic trading operations. The huge building features extremely strong access control, a substantial security perimeter, and is built to survive … well, just about anything. “It is more robust than your typical structure,” said Steve Rubinow of NYSE Euronext, who said the data center “can withstand levels of punishment – both man-made and natural – that other facilities might not withstand.” In 2011 we had one of the first media tours of the data center, and shared some of the first photos of the secretive facility.

NASDAQ in Carteret: NASDAQ operates its colocation operations out of a Verizon Business facility in Carteret. We looked at the firms’ relationship in a 2009 article In 2011 we spoke with the head of NASDAQ’s technology operations about efforts to step up its data center game, including a new high-density colcoation enclosure known as the SuperCab.

Some other links of interest:

BATS Moving From Weehawken to Secaucus: The CBS coverage asserted that the presence of the BATS exchange in Weehawken could be used to “front-run” orders at data centers further west in New Jersey. Given that, it’s interesting that BATS will migrate its primary exchange infrastructure to one of those other data centers, Equinix NY4 in Secaucus, as part of its consolidation with Direct Edge.

Spread Connects Carteret, Secaucus Trading Hubs: Spread Networks’ investment in a fiber route connecting Chicago and the NJ data centers has been cited as an indicator of the value of competitive advantage in HFT. Here’s our coverage from 2011.

Wall Street Going Wireless in Bid for Ultra-Low Latency: Last year we looked at the growing interest in wireless as a way to get faster connectivity for financial customers conducting low-latency trading. Wireless can offer speed advantages over cabling, as signals can travel faster through air than fiber, and wireless transmission can allow data to move in a straighter path than fiber cabling routes.

Wall Street Turns to Cloud to Address Cost, Competition:  What about the cloud? High-speed trading isn’t well suited for cloud, but Several cloud offerings have lowered the barrier to entry, while providing compelling financial considerations to go with a financial cloud service.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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