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Field of abstract data points

Market Connectivity + Data

August 2021

Resiliency takes center stage

As fears around inflation and economic recovery loom over global markets, the need for reliable connectivity to market data has intensified.

The growth of electronic trading means market participants can now connect to multiple markets through common interfaces - a victory in terms of efficiency and transparency. This has demonstrated the role of exchanges as providers of market data, which raises the question: how can market participants locate reliable access to that information?

The breadth and depth of data is expanding exponentially, which means the ability to analyse data in real time is increasingly vital.

“We’ve seen unprecedented market activity and extraordinary volatility since the start of the pandemic. Our priority is providing clients with reliable, secure access to global exchanges through all market conditions,” says Margaret Niche, Head of ICE Global Network (IGN).

“Across the industry, some network outages have spotlighted vulnerabilities in the connectivity methods that market participants relied on. By contrast, our network has no single point of failure,” says Niche. “That gives clients enormous confidence in the resilience of our connectivity infrastructure.”

Resiliency as the Focus

IGN was formed in the aftermath of 9/11, after the U.S. government asked exchanges to manage core connectivity to facilitate faster service restoration in the event of future disasters.

Today, IGN has expanded into the European and the Asia Pacific regions. The network continues to emphasize security, high availability and low latency to exchange connections:

  • Access Centers - Rather than having customers connect directly to the relevant exchange, access centers were built at secure locations where customers could establish and consolidate their connections.
  • Diverse, Redundant Connection Lines - Customers generally connect to IGN through two paths at all times – a red ring and a blue ring; if one ring experiences an issue, information is still delivered through the other ring. At no point do the red and blue rings cross – their routing is completely independent and diverse.
  • Private Network for the Financial Services Industry - The resilient connection was purpose-built for the financial services industry; unlike other telecommunications networks, the IGN focuses specifically on the requirements and challenges of high-volume, latency-sensitive finance- and exchange-related data transport.
  • Automatic Rerouting to Avoid Failures - Issues with the IGN are self-healing. Designed to be highly resilient, routing is dynamic and automatic in the case of failure. This means the network will automatically find an alternate route when a failure occurs in any one part. Additionally, IGN invests in connectivity to both production and disaster recovery access points to market data venues, which is critical to help ensure continuous market data availability for customers.
  • Dual Multicast Delivery - IGN carries both the A and B streams of a multicast data feed when available from the applicable data provider. Each data stream carries the same data further enhancing the recovery of dropped data before requesting retransmissions.

Speed and Breadth of Data

As markets evolve, participants have a greater need for more data, delivered fast. ICE has bolstered its connectivity products to include secure connection methods designed for speed and staying ahead of demand. For optimum latency over redundancy, IGN offers low latency data feeds and increased backbone capacity to transport up to 100 Gbps through its North American network and up to 20Gbps through its European network. The team also increased customer connections to 100Gbps in key U.S. locations and up to 10Gbps in Europe. These connectivity products allow customers to choose from a broader suite of IGN products tailored to their needs.

The resiliency aspect of IGN is an asset in itself, given the direct exchange connectivity to ICE’s exchanges and 150 other global markets it supports. In addition, IGN is used as the backbone to manage and distribute all other content services from ICE Data Services to internal and external participants around the globe. The resiliency aspect of these content services build on what IGN offers on a network level, ensuring a similar standard when it comes to reliability and uptime.

ICE Consolidated Feed

The ICE Consolidated Feed is a content service available via IGN and provides access to low-latency, normalised streaming data from over 600 global sources. ICE Data Services prioritises resiliency and reduction in the "mean time to restore service" regarding delivery of the ICE Consolidated Feed. It’s important to distinguish between service resiliency aspects across three distinct dimensions:

  • Data ingestion from each of those 600 sources into IGN
  • Data aggregation, normalisation and distribution within and across regions via IGN
  • “Last Mile” client access into IGN

In terms of data source collection, the approach is determined by the design and capabilities of each individual source’s infrastructure and datafeed protocol. Where available, ICE supports diversely routed connectivity, separate connections between "in- region" Ticker Plants, datafeed recovery protocol and "Best of Both" resiliency (A/B arbitration).

For the ICE Consolidated Feed, each region (APAC, EMEA and North America) benefits from three identical production Ticker Plant systems located in two separate data centres. Infrastructure components within each Ticker Plant are independently dual powered and connected via physically separate local networks. Feed processing applications can be cross fed from other "in region" Ticker Plants, to limit the effect of any localized failures. The consolidated datafeed output from each regional Ticker Plant is merged and distributed via the IGN.

From a client distribution perspective, customers benefit from having access to automatic fail-over capabilities at the edge device level (with multiple Active - Active live connections). Specific configurations can be customised to ensure the network’s built-in resiliency and the Consolidated Feed distribution architecture extend to the client from a last mile connectivity point of view. This also includes hardware and site redundancy, whether hosted in an IGN Data Center, within a Client Data Center or distributed to the clouds with support for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute, and Alibaba Cloud.

ICE Global Network: Today and in Future

Today, IGN is a secure, purpose-built, private multi-participant network that provides connectivity to global exchanges and content service providers via dedicated data circuits designed to avoid a single point of failure across the network. The network enables customers to connect to over 150 global markets and content service providers including NYSE and ICE’s global markets, third-party exchanges globally, alternative trading systems, clearing and settlement services, and market data vendors.

For customers interested in enhancing their low latency connectivity, IGN offers wireless services for both, market data and private bandwidth, in all three regions. IGN first launched a wireless offering in the high-traffic New Jersey triangle and expanded to include services between the NJ triangle and Toronto, then between Chicago and Tokyo. This year, IGN announced wireless offerings in the London metro area, and between London and Frankfurt. As demand for data and wireless connectivity continues to gather momentum, IGN is committed to meeting the needs of global market participants.