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Q&A: Sidera Networks’ Maura Mahoney on Partnerships and New Data Centres

Barely a day goes by when there isn’t an announcement from one of several wide area connectivity players, which underpin the world of low-latency trading. Sidera Networks is one of those at the centre of the action, and caught up with Maura Mahoney, vice president for marketing and business development at the company, to find out what its offering is, how partnerships are playing a key role in its expansion, and where the next growth will be.

Q: You have something called the Xtreme Ultra-low latency network. So what is that?

A: In 2009, Sidera Networks launched its state-of-the-art Xtreme Ultra-low Latency Network. Xtreme provides guaranteed low latency and unparalleled connectivity to all of the key financial exchanges and data centres in the New York/New Jersey and Chicago metropolitan markets.

Below is the list of financial data centres connected to the Xtreme Ultra-Low Latency Network:

2905 Diehl Rd, Aurora
350 E Cermak, Chicago

New Jersey:
1400 Federal Blvd, Carteret
100 Delawanna Ave, Clifton
1 Evertrust Plaza, Jersey City
165 Halsey Street, Newark
101 Possumtown Road, Piscataway
120 W. Passaic, Rochelle Park
755 Secaucus Road, Secaucus
300 JFK Blvd. East, Weehawken
1919 Park Avenue, Weehawken

New York City:
32 Avenue of the Americas
60 Hudson Street
111 8th Avenue

This network leverages Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) technology, which allows for any-to-any meshed capabilities, and in turn, enables Sidera to quickly add locations for its customers. Additionally, the use of ROADMs eliminates the need to “add drop” and regenerate the signal as the traffic passes through locations, thereby greatly reducing a customer’s latency and improving their network’s performance.

Xtreme is well received in the market, with both buy side and sell side leaders in the financial services industry choosing Sidera for the most critical components of their network connectivity.

Q: You have been extending your network reach through a number of partnerships. Can you bring us up to date on those, and what those partnerships bring to your customers?

A: In 2011, Sidera announced a number of relationships with third parties to enhance the capabilities of the company, and provide additional premium services to its clients.

Sidera developed a relationship with Spread Networks to offer clients low latency long haul network connecting two major financial marketplaces (NY/NJ and Chicago) together allowing customers to trade all products in their portfolios. Through this relationship, Sidera also has the capability of offering low latency metro connectivity between key data centres in New Jersey.

In addition, Sidera developed an asset exchange relationship with Allied Fiber, which will enable Sidera to provide connectivity to key financial services data centres more efficiently.

Finally, Sidera developed a bandwidth exchange relationship with exponential-E, enabling Sidera to cost effectively expand to London. This relationship is facilitated by an interconnection with expo-E for low latency connectivity throughout London. Expo-E is complementary to Sidera in that the company is a facilities-based carrier and an expert in providing services to financial services customers in the UK.

Q: In terms of financial markets, and liquidity centres, where are you seeing customer demand right now? And how are you responding?

A: Most of Sidera’s financial services customers rely on the rapid availability of information and the ability to quickly execute orders. Therefore, the majority of our customer demand is for low latency, high availability services. We are responding by continually building the fastest fibre routes between the major financial exchanges and data centres; and lighting the fibre with the latest, proven technologies.

Q: It looks like there are a few new data centres coming on line in New Jersey. What are the major ones, and are you connecting into those?

A: The key data centers we see in New Jersey, all of which we connect into:

Dupont Fabros Technologies (DFT) – Piscataway
Digital Realty Trust (DRT) – Piscataway
Datapipe – Somerset
Sentinal – Somerset
Cervalis – Totowa
I/O – Edison

Q: What are your customers asking for in terms of latency and bandwidth requirements? Is there a lot of commonality across your customer base, or a spread of requirements?

A: In the financial services industry, Sidera sees customers asking for Service Level Agreements (SLAs) associated with the latency figures being quoted. They also want to see an evolutionary path that will support their bandwidth requirements not just today, but well into the future. Many clients start with a 1 gigabit or 10 gigabit per second connection, but also want to know there is a migration path to 100 gigabits when needed.

The commonality we see across our customer base is the requirement for high performance, reliable and scalable connectivity. In financial services, latency is a key performance metric that our clients are seeking SLAs for. However, latency isn’t the only metric that financial services clients seek. They are concerned with uptime, mean time to repair, service delivery intervals and other network performance measure. In other verticals, such as healthcare and education, latency SLAs are not yet being contractually required, it is network performance service delivery intervals and uptime that is the area of focus.

Q: What’s in your future? Where do you expect your growth to come from in the next couple of years?

A: Sidera Networks expects growth to occur on a number of fronts. We will continue to add high-value routes and locations that our customers need, especially those in financial services. In addition, we will enhance our core growth products, including Ethernet, wavelength, dark fiber, IP, and co-location, and we will add new offerings such as WAN, managed services and cloud. Finally, we will look to leverage our strength in financial services to increase our penetration in other verticals, such as healthcare and education, with similar requirements for speed and reliability.

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