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Q&A: Telx’s Michael Cattell on Co-Lo in Chicago, and Trading Ecospheres

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With a recent expansion of its Chicago facility, Telx is continuing to make news in the hot market for co-location services. IntelligentTradingTechnology.com caught up with the company’s vice president for financial services Michael Cattell to get the background to the Chicago expansion, and to find out more about Telx’s trading ecosphere.

Q: You recently announced an expansion of your Chicago hosting facility. How much space do you have there now – and what can it accommodate in terms of racks?

A: Telx has just over 50,000 square feet inside of 350 East Cermak, where we provide a range of co-location products, including 4-post racks, half and full locking cabinets, and private cages at up to 300+ watts per square foot density.

Q: You also noted that you can provide 6kW of power to each cabinet there – are you seeing increased demand for power need from firms using your facilities – what’s the trend here driving power demand?

A: We are definitely seeing demand for increased power, especially from our financial and cloud/SaaS customers, and even service providers. We are seeing increased usage of highly space-efficient and power-dense hardware, like multi-core servers and blade devices, across all customer types. Space in carrier-dense facilities like 350 East Cermak comes at a premium and our customers continually seek to make more efficient use of their footprint, so we were happy to introduce this new tier of co-location product.

Q: How is the need for hosting space in Chicago evolving? What’s driving the demand there?

A: Chicago is the US hub for derivatives trading, and with the continued evolution of the electronic markets, algorithmic and high frequency trading, the need for hosting space that is proximate to the trading venues continues to grow. Firms look to gain speed-to-market advantages by colocating their algorithmic trading infrastructure as close as possible to the electronic venues and the networks that serve them.

The Lakeside Technology Center at 350 East Cermak in Chicago is one such hosting facility at the centre of this universe, housing access points for many of the critical exchanges, networks and service providers.

Q: You’ve also been making some announcements about your Financial Business Exchange (FBX). What exactly is it?

A: The Telx Financial Business Exchange (FBX) is a facilities-based ecosystem of facilities, networks, technology providers and market participants offering secure and reliable co-location infrastructure in prime locations. The FBX is a valuable community of interest that enables ultra-low latency access between trading venues, market data providers, buy side and sell side firms, as well as ISVs and OMSs.

Q: And what have been some of the recent news highlights related to the FBX?

A: Telx’s Financial Business Exchange is one of the key drivers for Telx’s recent expansion in its New York City, New Jersey and Chicago data centres. As more financial markets customers find value in low-latency co-location in these key data centres, Telx has responded by adding more space at 111 8th Avenue in New York, 100 Delawanna Avenue in Clifton, N.J. and 350 East Cermak in Chicago.

Telx also added new members to the FBX ecosystem in 2010, including international financial markets providers The Algo Group and SpryWare, as well as U.S.-based technology trading firms LiquidityBook and Sumo Financial.

To round out its international co-location portfolio, Telx recently entered a strategic alliance with international colocation provider Interxion. Telx and Interxion host large financial Services communities of interest in financial centres, like Chicago, New York, London, Frankfurt, Stockholm and Zurich. These communities include a large number of investment and trading firms, brokers, hedge funds, exchanges, MTFs, market data providers, clearing houses, order management vendors and (trading) network providers. Both companies see tremendous synergies in this area, delivering value to the investment and trading community by facilitating cost-effective, low-latency proximity hosting services to leading liquidity venues on both sides of the Atlantic.

Q: More generally, what can you say about your plans for 2011? What trends to you see in the financial markets and how is Telx going to respond to them?

A: In 2011, you’ll see Telx announce more expansions in key markets, driven in large part by demand from our customers. At key facilities where we operate the building interconnection rooms – like 350 East Cermak in Chicago and 111 8th Avenue in New York – we will continue to augment interior cabling infrastructure to enable faster and more direct interconnection between floors and suites.

With technology evolving at a rapid pace in general, so to do the requirements for housing mission critical infrastructure. The financial markets are no exception, and will continue to become more connected and more complex globally. Firms will require scalable facilities, scalable network infrastructure and access to many service providers in order to stay competitive. Telx’s strategically located, carrier-dense hosting facilities will continue to be in the middle of these architectures.

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