NYSE Euronext Copes With Booming Traffic

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NYSE Euronext, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is already using 100-gigabit optical network connections for real work and may be close to deploying pre-standard 100-Gigabit Ethernet just to keep up with booming demand for rapid communication.

NYSE Euronext has one of the most time-sensitive businesses in the world, carrying out trades, delivering stock quotes and providing real-time information about market activity. It operates several exchanges around the world and competes against other exchange companies to make trades. The first one to carry out the trade wins the business, which creates special challenges for Andy Bach, NYSE Euronext's senior vice president and global head of communications.

"Our sales cycle is one millisecond," said Bach, who gave a glimpse into his world at the Ethernet Alliance's Technology Exploration Forum in Santa Clara on Tuesday. He has to design NYSE Euronext's network to minimize any delays the network might introduce. "Anything I can do to shave below a millisecond is a wonderful thing," he said.

In May, the company announced it would work with optical network vendor Ciena to set up 100G bps (bit-per-second) connections on its optical fiber network. Ciena's technology allows the NYSE to carry 100G bps of traffic on a single fiber, and it now has 44 fibers carrying 100G bps each on its production network, Bach said Wednesday.

Those links don't use 100-Gigabit Ethernet, which hasn't yet been standardized, but that may be the next step for the NYSE. For the purpose of speed, the NYSE strategically locates its data centers to be as close as possible to those of its customers. It also hosts customers' systems in its own data centers so they can be even closer.

The need for speed is so great that the NYSE is nearly ready to work with a router and an optical vendor to deploy the technology in pre-standard form, he said.

"If I could have 100G Ethernet up and running today, I would take it, because I have customers that would be happy to connect to me with 100G Ethernet," Bach said.

Outside its data centers, the company operates an MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) network, primarily using its own fiber. That network has to both provide the platform for trades and send real-time data to news outlets and other consumers of market information. Almost all that traffic runs on multicast instead of TCP/IP. The original distribution of the data around the NYSE's network takes up about 7G bps to 8G bps, while its multicast transmissions out to the Internet add up to about 2T bps.

The amount of market data has been growing exponentially each year for about 20 years, Bach said. One reason is the volume of trading, which has risen many times more than the value of the stock market. Those trades now produce between 1.5 million and 2 million new price quotes every second. Another reason is increasing regulation, he said.

The NYSE can't reduce its bandwidth needs by compressing its data, because compression takes too much time, Bach said. So its requirements continue to mount: The company operates 200,000 Gigabit Ethernet and 10,000 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, and it is migrating to higher speeds so fast that Bach expects those numbers to soon be reversed.

When the output of all those ports is combined, pretty soon the company will need even higher speeds on its backbone. Bach expects to need 1T bps technology within about three years. He's not sure the industry will be ready to deliver it then.

"I think there are significant technology challenges yet. But if I don't get out there and ask for it, it certainly isn't going to get built. So, I'm asking for it," Bach said.

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