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Datafeed Dilemma

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Q: When is a datafeed not a datafeed? A: When it’s a datafeed handler. When we were compiling our wonderful report Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: Low Latency Architectures And Building Blocks For Tomorrow’s Trading Applications, we included profiles of vendors who sell datafeed handlers. At first, we left out Reuters Data Feed Direct because we had it marked as a datafeed itself, but – upon further investigation – we decided we had to include it. For Reuters Data Feed Direct is perhaps more a datafeed handler than it is a datafeed itself.

Take a look at Reuters own marketing information and (IMHO) the impression one gets is that RDFD is indeed a datafeed. For starters, the product name suggests it, and mention of it being a “fully managed” service reinforces that view.

RDFD is indeed managed – Reuters suppliers the hardware, the software, supports the whole enchilada and handles all of the vital administrative functions such as pro-active monitoring, retransmissions, symbology mapping, listing changes, options rollover, etc. Yep, it’s managed.

But when it comes to connecting with the data sources – NYSE, Nasdaq, OPRA etc. – that is down to the customer to manage, so it is the customer who contracts directly with the data source, and who deals with connectivity directly to the data source. Feeds from the various sources arrive at the customer separately, and are integrated via the RDFD platform at the customer. Sounds like a datafeed handler to me (and I used to program these suckers, freezing my ass off in the computer rooms at customer sites, so I should know).

I guess it’s the word “Direct” in the product name that is key here. As it is for Interactive Data’s DirectPlus, which combines the integration of direct feeds with a hosted proximity solution to reduce latency to a minimum. Oh, I gather that Reuters plans also to introduce a proximity service this year.

Until next time … here’s some good music.

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