The emphasis on real-time data has been prevalent for a long time, but there has been a clear shift towards wanting to move that data to the cloud.
Naturally a tool that delivers high quality market data in real-time directly to the cloud, while avoiding the slower and less secure public internet, has been attracting financial market players.
Nasdaq, NYSE, Cboe and CME are already included in the data offering on Apcela’s UltraFast™ Market Data for the Cloud, which is also named best new market data product at the FOW International Awards 2017.
“Just because I am in the cloud it doesn’t mean that I am going to want to take my inbound market data feeds over the public internet,” explained Mark Casey, president and chief executive officer at Apcela. “That could lead to a lot of problems such as with latency or packet loss – next thing you are dropping packets and the associated market data.”
Although Casey observed that the shift from storing data in premises-based data centres to using the cloud has generally been slow in financial markets, Apcela responded quickly to users of its existing product who wanted data delivered to a private cloud instance such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
“Given that we had leading market data feeds and at the same time, we were building out a cloud interconnect – it was easy for us to adapt the product to deliver an institutional-grade market data product in real-time to the cloud,” Casey said, explaining that one of the difficulties companies face when adapting existing products is being to convert the data so that it can actually plug into the cloud.
In the historically low-volatility environment, propriety trading firms are looking at ways to be more efficient, and the cloud is an attractive choice for storing, processing and backing-up market data.
“Furthermore, for a back office environment, the speed of the market data to the cloud is important, as is the quality of the data and the ability to access it in the exchange native format. Most prop trading firms aren’t looking for consolidated or normalised feeds as they have already written their own proprietary feed handlers, so the ability to keep that data format is important.”
Front office operations within prop trading firms are perhaps even less suited to public internet infrastructure, given the reliance on data to be delivered at micro-second speed.
However, real-time market data is critical where firms are building front office platforms in the cloud, whether for their own use or for their clients.
Casey explained that “you can provide a feed into a client’s cloud-based ticker plant, they can provide accurate real-time market data quotes to their users.”
As firms are constrained by regulation to provide increasingly more data, there is a greater need to ensure that the data is safe and in the right format.
Although Apcela does not yet provide a historical market data product, Casey said there is “certainly the opportunity for us to look at whether there are other products that we could be or should be offering around normalised consolidated feeds into the cloud and historical reference data into the cloud.” In the meantime, users can store its real-time data in the cloud and use it for regulatory purposes.
Apcela is currently looking at the international software vendor (ISV) marketspace given the greater focus on platform-based services using the cloud.
“The large ISVs, regardless of asset class, are today running more hosted platforms – some of the largest ones are in the process of using the cloud as it provides better agility for the delivery of their own products,” Casey observed. “That is an area that we are very much focused on, enabling products for those firms.”
“However, in general, there are more large financial firms that have moved to the public cloud on the hypothesis of saving time, cost and better agility and they are seeing those things prove out. I think we will see that movement accelerate in 2018 and we are here to help any clients in supporting that.”
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