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Q&A: Interxion’s Patrick Lastennet on Demand For Co-Lo, Clouds and Big Data

We’ve been seeing a continued focus on companies that offer data centres for co-location and proximity, and how they are proving attractive offerings to trading firms needing to navigate an increasing regulatory landscape, and also to vendors looking to tap into liquidity hubs. IntelligentTradingTechnology.com spoke to Interxion’s director of marketing and business development for financial services Patrick Lastennet to get his take on these drivers, and how Interxion is responding

Q: What are the primary business drivers for service provider/vendors and trading firms looking to use your services, and how have these evolved over the past couple of years?

A: Traditionally, the proximity of our data centres to trading venues has been the major driver for vendors and trading firms looking to use our services, because of the impact it can have on trading performance.

However, we’re now seeing a shift as a result liquidity scarcity. Whereas datacentre footprints previously tended to be relatively small, the bigger players are reorganising themselves to have much larger co-location footprints.  This allows them to reduce costs and benefit from the communities that exist within Interxion data centres, providing better access to trading venues and potential customers.

We are also increasingly seeing operational excellence as a key driver for our customers.  The impact of the G20 regulatory reform on financial institutions’ ICT infrastructure requirements will be significant.  Building internal data centres is no longer an option for many firms due to capital restraints emanating from Basel III and Solvency II and the prevalence of legacy systems.  Therefore banks and insurers are increasingly re-thinking their data centre strategies and considering the externalisation of their facilities.

Q: Are you currently seeing more demand from vendors wanting to offer services within your community, or from trading firms looking for better access to markets?

A: We are seeing much more demand from vendors; in particular traditional market data vendors who are starting to branch into hosting services.  Increasingly these organisations are positioning themselves as a platform where they not only provide market data but also manage the trading firms’ technology.

Q: You have facilities in 11 countries in Europe. Where are you seeing most demand, and what’s driving it?

A: We are seeing high demand in the U.K. both from major brokers using Interxion’s London data centre to host their platforms and from global exchanges – for example, Singapore and Australia – looking to use London as a hub for distributing their services in Europe.

Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia are also seeing a high level of demand from banks looking for new data centres.  This is driven by new compliance requirements and by the outgrowth of their own data centres which often can’t scale to meet increasing compute and connectivity needs.

Q: Is Interxion offering cloud services?  For what?

A: Interxion doesn’t offer its own cloud services, but we are seeing increasing numbers of market data vendors and some exchanges offering Platform-a- a-Service.  This consists of compute-on-demand mixed with added value services like market data or other commoditised offerings.

Q: Can you outline some of the technology and infrastructure improvements that you’ve rolled out recently, and point to any that can be expected?

A: Interxion is going through a period of rapid expansion.  We have recently launched new data centres in both London and Paris.  Our seventh data centre in Paris (PAR 7) is 4,500 square metres (sqm) and is designed to support continuous customer loads in excess of 2 kW per sqm.  The new site in London (LON 2) will consist of 1,600 sqm and the space is designed to support continuous customer loads of up to 2.5 kW per sqm.

We are also making roof space available for growing numbers of service providers as they look for low-latency microwave services (using radio frequencies to transmit data point to point) to cut latency by approximately 30% compared to a traditional fibre route.

Q: We’re hearing a lot about big data these days.  How is Interxion involved in this, or how might it be?

A: We see two primary areas where we can help financial services organisations deal with their big data.  The first is enabling market data providers to source and package unstructured data for sentiment analysis.  Secondly, we can help organisations under increasing pressure to manage risk in real time, by making large data sets more accessible.  New requirements for risk management and analytics are showcasing the long-term benefits that financial institutions can gain by locating their infrastructure in external data centres.

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