Equinix Launches Precision Time Stamping Service for Traders

Precise time stamping is crucial to electronic trading because it determines winning or loosing a trade

Jason Verge

September 17, 2014

2 Min Read
Equinix Launches Precision Time Stamping Service for Traders
Time stamping service available in Equinix’s NY4 facility (pictured) as well as other major financial markets.

Equinix has teamed up with Perseus Telecom to offer a turnkey time stamping service for electronic trades its customers conduct on infrastructure hosted in its data centers.

Certified time stamps with sub-nanosecond accuracy provide an objective measure by which to award trades that occurred first. In the high-stakes, precision trading world, accuracy is key.

"In finance, an accurate time stamp is the difference between winning or losing a trade,” said Barry Smith, managing director, global capital markets, Equinix. “By making High Precision Time available through our data centers, our customers have a compelling alternative for streamlining their trade compliance activities and reducing operating costs, enabling them to apply those resources elsewhere."

Time-stamping all trades to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a regulatory imperative. Equinix and Perseus have simplified the task through High Precision Time, a new service that offers financial firms a standardized method of time-stamping trades globally.

Perseus deployed the risk compliant time service in major financial Equinix data centers, allowing customers to connect to the NIST time scale in Boulder, Colorado. The data centers are Chicago (CH1 data center), Frankfurt (FR2), London (LD4), New York (NY4) and Tokyo (TY3).

The alternative to the turnkey service is connecting to NIST through GPS or ingesting time across NTP (Network Time Protocol) over the Internet. Both methods are susceptible to disruption or malicious attack.

Operating costs eliminated by the service include the purchase of stratum 1 atomic clock infrastructure, network costs for connecting to NIST and the human capital required to man systems and match trades on the back end.

Time stamping is also available for other industries that need it, like online gaming and application hosts.

Equinix does well with financial services, offering an ecosystem of more than 150 exchanges and trading platforms and 480 buy- and sell-side firms who are all potential customers of Perseus’ service. Similarly, customers coming from Perseus have access to more than 4,500 companies on Platform Equinix, across more than 100 data centers.

The two companies have a longstanding relationship, including providing ultra-fast wireless and wireline trades. Perseus also offers an ultra-low-latency (67.68-millisecond roundtrip delay), trans-Atlantic wireless connection between Equinix’s NY4 and FR2 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers. The wireless connection bests the ultra-fast fiber connection, also operated by Perseus through Equinix data centers, by over five milliseconds.

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