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Nasdaq Increases Cabinet Power, Access and Bandwidth in Colo Site

The exchange will offer Super Cab, a cabinet providing up to 17 killowats of power to operate and cool trading equipment, and will soon roll out 40 Gigabyte connectivity to its US markets and data feeds.

Today Nasdaq OMX is announcing two new access services—Super Cab and 40 Gigabit Client Connectivity as part of a strategy to provide its customers with the highest cabinet power, fastest speed and highest bandwidth available in the exchange’s colocation facility. Super Cab is a cabinet with maximum of 17 kilowatts of power that can be used by customers to run their trading equipment in the exchange’s Cartaret, N.J. data center. Previously, the highest kilowatt cabinet was 10, which Nasdaq OMX said is higher than the rest of the industry now offering up to eight kilowatts.

“Firms are never constrained by the number of servers in a rack but by the power,” Stacie Swanstrom, VP of Transaction Services at Nasdaq OMX, said in an interview with Wall Street & Technology yesterday. “The servers are getting smaller and more dense but they still draw a lot of power,” said Swanstron, who is in charge of access services, post-trade and connectivity.

To bring more efficiencies to power consumption, Nasdaq OMX has put together a special design that draws the hot equipment exhaust into a custom cabinet chimney to help with power and cooling, according to its release.

On the network side, Nasdaq OMX said it’s the first exchange to offer 40G connectivity, an Ethernet connection from the client cabinet to the Nasdaq switch, which enables colocated clients to get to the Nasdaq U.S. markets and data feeds faster. “It’s building on our connectivity strategy,” said Swanstrom. As new technology comes to market we’re rolling it out.” In the latest upgrade, Nasdaq OMX had the 10G connection and the 1G copper and 1G fiber.

The 40G connection shaves approximately seven microseconds (roundtrip) off their 10G connection, according to Swanstrom. “We’ll have the fastest access to the Nasdaq OMX markets and our market data feeds, as well as of the other data feeds we bring into Cartaret,” said Swanstrom. “This is just continuously building out to make sure you have best technology internally as well as the lowest routes to the outside hubs.”

Nasdaq OMX worked with network vendors that provide switches, but declined to say which ones it selected for 40G. “We assessed which ones we think are the fastest and provide the best service to our clients,” said Swanstrom.

Colocation clients will choose which connectivity options make sense for their trading and whether their equipment can handle 40G. “It depends on your trading strategies and how your algorithms work, whether you need to be the first there and how much bandwidth is consumed,” said Swanstrom. But the latest upgrades are not targeted at HFT firms alone. “It’s just not the high frequency trading firms that are consuming a lot of bandwidth or the largest firms. We see this being widely adopted across different firms,” says Swanstrom.

The 40G connectivity will be available in April subject to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, while the Super Cab is available now.

The technology upgrades are designed to make Nasdaq OMX’s data centers stand out from other those operated by rival exchanges. “We have a number of offerings in the colocation business and we feel they set us apart,” said Swanstrom. “It’s part of our 2012 plans to establish Cartaret as the No. 1 liquidity center.”

Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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