Opening Cross: Data Degustation -- Happy and Content

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As my birthday rolls around yet again, I start wondering how to celebrate the occasion. For example, where do I want to go for a special dinner? Do I want an exotic meal that I can't get anywhere else, or somewhere that just does the basics well? Am I looking for the meal of my life, or just some good value nosh? Or do I throw other criteria into the mix, such as where I can get my favorite wine?

Such choices face data professionals every day: not specifically where and what to eat, but how to combine data ingredients and get what they want without breaking their budget-especially as new content demands continue to present themselves as new trading opportunities emerge.

For example, foreign exchange data is increasingly becoming something that data managers must stir into their low-latency mix - both for trading the asset class itself, and for the FX component of cross-border arbitrage trades (IMD, July 19). Activ Financial has announced plans to distribute low-latency FX data (IMD, July 12), and last week financial extranet provider Atrium Network announced connectivity to two FX trading venues - Hotspot FX and online broker FXCM (Forex Capital Markets).

Clients will be able to connect to both venues via Atrium's points of presence in New York and New Jersey, which are connected to Equinix's NY4 datacenter in Secaucus, NJ, where Hotspot hosts its matching engine, and to FXCM's datacenter in Bergen, NJ.

Though usually associated with low latency rather than content, strategically placed datacenters are actually becoming an important part of content strategies, since these facilities are increasingly the places where different feeds come together in the same space as firms' trading applications.

For example, datacenters played a key role in client connectivity for ECN-turned-exchange Direct Edge, which finalized its migration to new facilities and launched as an exchange last week. In fact, Direct Edge selected its new datacenters - Equinix's NY4 facility, and Telx in Clifton, NJ - specifically to make it easy for clients to connect to the exchange, says chief executive Bill O'Brien. "Many of our customers had already established significant points of presence in those sites... so it is just a simple cross-connect. By leveraging world-class providers... we have not only improved our product, but also minimized the impact for customers," O'Brien says.

Those datacenters also house hardware from Exegy for collecting data from away markets for its onward-routing requirements under Reg. NMS. In addition to rolling out a swathe of new feed handlers (see story, page 3), Exegy also last week added data veteran Bill Cline to its board of directors. The hire of Cline - who was involved in developing the Triarch market data platform and Marketfeed 2000 equities datafeed at Rich and Reuters, and spent 12 years at Accenture, most recently as global managing partner of its capital markets practice, before founding his own consultancy The Cline Group - is part of Exegy's strategy to support its development and growth by creating the perfect mix of market data expertise.

And speaking of creating the perfect mix, we're putting the finishing touches to our European Financial Information Summit in London on Sept. 21, and are looking for a few last people with experience of combining innovative content sets and analyzing trading to find out which instruments and datasets deliver the most bang for the buck. So if you're someone who can create a gourmet data lineup from the value menu - or who simply knows where to find the gems that everyone else hasn't - we'd like to hear from you and get you involved in planning our perfect data menu.

Now, back to the arduous task of party planning...

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