Q&A with NYSE Euronext executive vice-president and CIO, Steve Rubinow

Rubinow was in Las Vegas for VMware’s VMworld 2011

By Georgina Swan, CIO
31 August 2011
URL: http://www.cio.com.au/article/399164/q_nyse_euronext_executive_vice-president_cio_steve_rubinow/#closeme

Can you share a little bit about the role NYSE Euronext plays in capital markets in the global economy?

When people think of the new NYSE they think of that iconic image on Wall St, the pillars, the American flag and the trading floor, but it is so much more than that. We have multiple exchanges in the United States and in Europe, multiple assets, stock, bonds and derivatives. And we have two brand new data centres – one in Europe and one in the United States – which not only service the needs of capital markets, but also, excitingly, most of the space in the data centre is for our customers, rather than for us, for [using] our commercial technology

What role does the technology infrastructure play with NYSE in the broader IT strategy?

Only a few years ago we started to rethink where we were as a company. And today we are more apt to describe ourselves as a technology firm that operates exchanges than an exchange firm that happens to use technology. And that is because most trades in the world are server-to-server trades; it is not necessarily a person standing at a keyboard typing. And [you have] to do that in a competitive fashion when you have billions of transactions day. And that’s a six and a half hour trading day, not 24 hours, so it is a little bit more compressed. You have security concerns and reliability concerns, and things must take place in a millionth of a second and they have to take place that way all day long. It has to be first rate and, in many cases, we are conducting it ourselves because we have nowhere else to go for it.

Today you have roughly 2400 VDMs [virtual desktop managers] running on your private Cloud. What other technologies are you using from VMware?

We use a host of products. Obviously, we use vSphere but we also use vCenter chargeback, vShield, vCloud Director — and we use it for ourselves to service our own business. And we also offer a host of services and products for our customers to use both within our data centre and from outside our data centre to support the needs of our capital markets community. We have designed the private Cloud specifically for their needs.

Many people don’t think that you can create a low latency, high frequency trade applications on top of a vSphere platform. How do you take advantage of the technology?

I like to define our application portfolio in two segments. And they are not equal segments. One is microsecond, nanosecond range where we are really concerned about every tick of the clock and LAN virtualisation is a bit too much overhead. And while this is at the core of what we do, there is a small sphere of applications outside of that without which you have no company; you have no exchange. Much of that – things that happen after the trade, clearing, settlement, data warehousing, surveillance – are persistent. All of that is subject to virtualisation and using Cloud technologies.

How did you begin to offer Cloud services?

Our customers have an acute interest in moving to an infrastructure that is Cloud-like, but they can’t find that on every street corner because of particular needs, among which are much-higher-than-average security, reliability, performance. Everyone cares about those things but it a much bigger concern in our industry because there are literally trillions of dollars at stake. So we found a very receptive audience in terms of our commercial customers who, for the most part, are already trading less, and opened a whole new avenue of potential services to them. We don’t have a great deal of real competition in terms of what we’re doing and so we are in a great position of using these technologies to service a need that our customers wanted filled.

The location of data is a big issue for organisations. How do you deal with that?

We are regulated; we have certain constraints. So what we do is say ‘What is the broadest, most liberal environment we can work under and what are the constraints that are imposed from a regulatory standpoint?’ So there are at least two [constraints]. One is the latency we referred to before, because you want devices to be physically close to each other. You don’t want to be transmitting across the globe. A lot of industries don’t care about that, but for us it seems like an eternity. Secondly, from a regulatory standpoint, if we go to the regulators and we tell them ‘sometimes the trades are executed in Paris and sometimes they’re executed in San Francisco and we don’t really know where the data is’, they do not like that! So we have to constrain the data.