The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has opened the first of its newly constructed high-density pods at its co-location data centre, the Australian Liquidity Centre (ALC).
Designed to meet customer demand, the new high-density space is biometrically secured, with cold-aisle containment featuring in-row chillers, and is capable of delivering up to 24 kilowatts of power into an individual cabinet. The new pods provide customers the same equal access to all ASX markets as standard cabinets, and can directly connect to alternative trading venues and liquidity platforms via ASX Net.
The adoption by financial markets of data analytics, machine learning and computational grid computing is increasing the power requirements of FPGAs and similar technologies. Customers are also seeking more efficient cooling solutions for their increasingly power-hungry equipment, as super-fast overclocked servers and the thermodynamic boundaries generated by this business processing technology continue to escalate.
Adam Bradley, ASX’s Global Head of Sales, said: “Providing a dedicated high-density service addresses the needs of our customers for increased, uninterrupted power delivered in a highly robust, secure and cost efficient manner. As appliance manufacturers continue to create faster and ultimately hotter appliances, our customers are looking for higher density power with more efficient cooling to support their business initiatives. The ALC’s dedicated high-density pod has been developed to meet this customer need. Indeed, demand has been strong, with 20 percent of the space contracted within days of the new service being released to the market.”
Accommodating new cooling and power requirements is a growing necessity for data centre operators globally. Research firm Gartner estimates that ongoing power costs are increasing at least 10 percent per year due to cost per kilowatt-hour increases in underlying demand, especially for high-power density servers. Adoption of liquid-based cooling is increasing as it is considered more efficient than air-based cooling. The use of liquid-based cooling techniques by data centres is expected to grow significantly in 2020, posting a Compound Annual Growth Rate of almost 16 percent during the forecast period.
Energy turnover has become a major limiting factor to the performance of a trading firm’s high-density compute stack, rather than the clock rate or number of chips used. For a specific segment of the user base within the ALC ecosystem, the performance of these finely tuned trading plants primarily depends on how much heat can be dissipated.
Mr Bradley continued: “ASX is working with and listening to our customers on how we can provide further value to their businesses. Reducing risk and cost feature heavily in our conversations, and ASX is actively addressing this. The introduction of high-density pods helps firms deploy their next generation trading architecture in a less complex and more efficient manner. Subject to demand and the advancement of technology, we have the capacity to deploy additional high-density pods. We welcome engagement with our customers and the industry on how ASX platforms can better support their operations.”
 FPGA = Field Programmable Array. The use of FPGA platforms in high-frequency trading enables companies to collect, cleanse, enrich, and disseminate the burgeoning array of rapidly changing financial data in short terms. Without loading a CPU, FPGA hardware is able to quickly execute various trading tasks.
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