NYSE announces financial services cloud

The service will be priced on a standard per-CPU model

NYSE Euronext's technology division today announced a cloud services offering for the capital markets community, a product it described as the financial services industry's first cloud platform.

NYSE Technologies said its Capital Markets Community Platform was designed to "increase business agility, simplify market access and reduce trading friction by using rapid on-demand computing resources."

The platform will offer a range of cloud-based services that will allow NYSE Euronext's 1,200 broker-dealer clients to purchase the computing power required at a given time so they can focus on their core business strategies rather than complex IT infrastructure design and maintenance.

The Community Platform is in beta testing and is expected to go live July 1. It will offer access to a full range of financial services applications as well as managed services.

NYSE Technologies CEO Stanley Young said the service already has several customers, including Millennium Management, Pico Quantitative Trading, and others he could not make public.

"We are very excited to integrate it into our infrastructure and begin utilizing the efficiencies of cloud computing across our operations," Jarrod Yuster, CEO of Pico Quantitative Trading, said in a statement. "This fully managed platform can efficiently meet the diverse trading needs of customers of all kinds, from broker-dealers and institutional investors to latency-sensitive trading firms anywhere in the world."

The service will be priced on a standard per-CPU model.

The platform, which resides in a new 100,000-square-foot data center, was built using VMware's vSphere cloud infrastructure management software, vCloud Director and VMware vShield security application, as well as EMC's VNX unified storage arrays, which provide both file- and block-level data through a single interface.

"This platform provides a seamless migration route for them to move their existing applications onto it," Young said. He spoke during a press and analyst conference call today with executives from EMC and its VMware subsidiary.

Traditionally, Fortune 1000 companies, and financial services companies in particular, have shunned the public cloud, fearing that any data in the cloud could not be secured.

When asked to compare NYSE's cloud offering to that of Google's or Amazon's, Young said it should not be considered a public cloud.

"This is about building a community around services that are highly available, highly robust, in an infrastructure that has already been plugged into the global capital market," he said. "We're catering to a different need. There will always be a need for public clouds, private clouds and community clouds. We're one facet of that."

He added, "I could envision a day when we'd plug this into public clouds to consume their services, but we'd provide an aggregation layer on behalf of our community members to get them into other cloud service providers."

The Community Platform is designed to securely process mission-critical financial services tasks, the NYSE said. The Community Platform and its related services are delivered over NYSE Technologies' Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure.

The Community Platform will provide direct, on-demand access to the entire NYSE Technologies portfolio of services, including Superfeed, a global trading platform providing microsecond data transmissions via a secure network; the Risk Management Gateway (RMG), a low-latency routing engine that allows broker-dealers to provide direct market access to clients, and the NYSE's Managed Services Hub and global Liquidity Center Network.

Charles King, principal analyst at market research firm Pund-IT, said the Community Platform may initially appear to be a "relatively modest affair," but that's deceiving. Considering that NYSE Euronext is the commercial entity that operates global securities exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext and NYSE's Arca electronic trading platform, through which billions of equity shares are traded every day, it speaks to a large community of financial services companies, he said.

"The sheer size and complexity of the trading business NYSE Euronext supports and enables means that the Community Platform could eventually provide daily, ongoing services to hundreds of large scale brokers and investors," King said in a research note.

Initially, the trading data residing in the Community Platform cloud could facilitate everything from testing and validating new trading applications and strategies to processing huge volumes of data for regulatory reports, King said.

Capital Markets Community Platform is also a big win for EMC and VMware, he said. "It suggests that the companies' common vision of private and public computing clouds morphing into hybrid clouds supporting industry-specific data and business processes is coming to fruition," King said.

Michael Versace, global risk research director at IDC's Financial Insights division, said in a statement, "With the inherent advantages of scale, time to market and the nature of on-demand shared financial infrastructure services, NYSE Euronext's cloud platform offers trading firms a range of new capabilities and efficiencies that should lead to lower costs, more resiliency and broader market access with less complexity.

"All of this translates into market advantage," he said. "If these business services continue to evolve and provide value to the market, which we expect they will, we envision a number of similar partnerships and product opportunities coming to the financial services market over the next six to 12 months."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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