City Lifeline, a London-based carrier-neutral co-location data centre, has secured Deutsche Börse as its largest customer in the financial markets. The firm is planning to push further into the sector, offering single site London co-location, connectivity provided by over 20 carriers and what it describes as ‘mid-market’ prices.
The company’s contract with Deutsche Börse Market & Data Analytics covers co-location services for the algorithmic news feed AlphaFlash that Deutsche Börse has developed on the strength of its acquisition of Market News International in January 2009 and its November 2009 acquisition of US financial news agency Need to Know News, a pioneer of machine readable news for algo trading.
Georg Gross, head of front office data and analytics at the exchange provider, comments: “Deutsche Börse delivers more than 150 machine readable macroeconomic indicators directly into trading algorithms. By adding hosting alternatives such as City Lifeline, we are able to respond directly to customer demand for expansion of the proximity hosting infrastructure in Europe.”
While City Lifeline is not the only company chosen to host AlphaFlash – both Equinix in Slough and Telehouse Metro, a few hundred metres up the road from City Lifeline’s base just north of Liverpool Street station, will host the feed – the contract win is seen as a turning point for the company.
City Lifeline was founded in 1993 to provide disaster recovery services and has since diversified to include co-location and proximity hosting services. Early co-lo customers attracted to City Lifeline’s 22 carrier centre were predominantly in the telco sector and included a number of internet service providers, such as Carphone Warehouse, but John George, sales director at the company, is keen to meet the growing demands of trading firms and hedge funds that are dependent on low latency connectivity.
He says: “We have a total of about 80 customers, but only 15% to 20% are in the financial services sector. This is a growth area and the Deutsche Börse contract is a good win for us as we are trying to raise our profile in financial markets.”
George says City Lifeline was selected by Deutsche Börse to host AlphaFlash on the strength of its geographical position and international connectivity, as well as its reputation and role as a trusted partner. “Our expertise is in providing a secure, reliable environment to markets that value these things most highly,” says George, explaining that City Lifeline provides space, electrical power, security and some support, with customers such as Deutsche Börse installing their own equipment in the data centre. AlphaFlash went live on 15 July 2010 and is, so far, running smoothly.
“We compete on the basis that we are close to London, have a large amount of connectivity, offer good service in areas such as security and have deliberately set prices around the mid-market indicator,” says George. “Unlike big players that have global strategies in which London is just a point on the map, we have a single site dedicated to organisations that want to host equipment in central London. Many of the large data centre firms are funded by venture capital so they are driven by investors as much as by those operating the company. In contrast, City Lifeline is privately owned by 13 shareholders.”
With a staff of 28, City Lifeline’s short term plan is to stick to what it knows best at Lifeline House, first adding about 5,000 square feet to its existing 25,0000 square feet, before considering the option of developing a second site elsewhere.