FEB 8, 2012 5:19am ET

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Center Introduces Computing Cabinets with Chimneys

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February 8, 2012 – Nasdaq OMX Group said it will upgrade the amount of power and speed available to customers using its Carteret, N.J., data center for executing trades.

The operator of the Nasdaq Stock Market said it would immediately make available to its customers a chimney system that would increase by 70 percent the amount of computing power that can be installed in a rack of computing appliances.

The exchange operator also said it had filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission to increase the capacity of communications within the Carteret data center to 40 gigabits a second on a given channel, from 10 gigabits.

This would cut roundtrip times from a customer’s computing cabinet to the exchange’s order matching engine by “seven mikes,’’ according to Stacie Swanstrom, vice president of transaction services. That is lingo for seven microseconds, or 7 millionths of a second.

“Seven mikes is still quite a big deal,’’ said Swanstrom.

Nasdaq OMX says it already processes roundtrip messages “door to door” from customers’ computing cabinets to its matching engines inside the Carteret data center and back again in under 100 microseconds. The company said that number includes the processing of the trade inside its matching engines.

The London Stock Exchange Group in January said it had achieved 30-microsecond round-trip times between a client cabinet and the trading system within the London Stock Exchange’s primary data center. The exchange, though, said it takes 120 microseconds to process the trade, making for 150 microseconds, all told, in the roundtrip.

The chimneys that Nasdaq will place on customers’ racks of computing power will draw off heat exhaust and as a result allow more computing power be placed in a conventional rack of 44 servers. The previous standard had been 10 kilowatts of power available to operate and cool trading cabinet in a single given cabinet. Rival exchange operates provide about 8 kilowatts, Nasdaq OMX said.

“This will take it to the next level,’’ said Swanstrom, allowing users to pack, roughly speaking, 70 percent more computing power in a rack of servers, without running out of energy or overheating.

The Super Cab (as in “cabinet”) with its chimney is available immediately. The 40 gigabit a second connections await review and approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nasdaq OMX projects the connections will be available in April.

The exchange operator is trying to establish the Nasdaq Data Center in Carteret as a hub for world trading.
Nasdaq recently turned live a connection between its data center in Carteret with a BM&FBovespa data center in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The new trading route will allow trade messages to complete a round-trip in 107 milliseconds. That is two thousandths of a second faster than any alternative, Nasdaq OMX said. Nasdaq OMX also makes use of what it asserts is the fastest trading route from New York to Chicago and back. That route is provided by Spread Networks, with a roundtrip time of 13.3 milliseconds.

This story originally appeared at Securities Technology Monitor.

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