Tradefair Makes Safe Bet Selecting ControlCircle

ControlCircle has been selected by Tradefair, the new financial investment exchange launched by the Betfair Group, to provide datacentre services to support the business to meet aggressive timescales set to launch the exchange.

Tradefair allows people to trade on the world's financial markets including indices like the FTSE 100, and DAX, along with commodities and interest rates. This can either be done through a binary or spread bet with Tradefair who believe that it is significantly cutting the cost and complexity of financial trading.

Tradefair builds on the Group's know-how gained from 7 years' running Betfair, the hugely successful sports exchange, with similar concepts applied to investing on financial markets, namely people trading against each other via the exchange. Currently the Tradefair site is an early release with the company in the process of testing new products and building additional systems and adding new asset-classes and contract types for the exchange with some exciting releases starting early next year.

With revenues for 2007 growing 30% to over 182 million, Betfair Group now has a million registered customers, 433,000 of them active (up 57% on the year before), with these bettors playing, on average, 9 times every month. This means that Betfair handles more than 300 bets a second and 5 million transactions per day more than all the European stock markets combined.

After reviewing various options and carrying out due diligence, ControlCircle was chosen as Tradefair's data centre partner to support this process.

Today, ControlCircle is managing Tradefair's presence in Global Switch London 2, Europe's largest purpose built carrier neutral data centre, while providing a range of associated services. These include physical security such as CCTV and biometrics, 24/7 monitoring, BGP Internet connectivity and managing the data centre build and cabling. This covers installing Tradefair's numerous servers, load balancers, storage arrays, data bases, firewalls and tape back up systems. Written in Java, the Tradefair site runs on LINUX-based servers and MySQL databases.

Although a relatively small organisation, Tradefair's datacentre and networking requirements are that of a much larger company and it is taking advantage of ControlCircle's own fault tolerant 20 gigabit Ethernet network in London (offering active/active resilience) which ensures high quality of service to all customers and market makers.

As the site and new exchange rolls out, ControlCircle is doing all the installation of systems in the datacentre, while Tradefair's own internal specialist IT staff focus on building and testing the core trading engine, taking it to full production environment.

For example, when Tradefair first designed the new exchange, it adopted a similar approach to cabling racks in the datacentres as had been done at Betfair, connecting each cabinet by a satellite switch to the core. However, the resulting latency from this architecture did not meet the requirements of a financial exchange and the design was changed to a 'host looming' approach. This minimises and makes latency more predictable.

The impact for ControlCircle was significant as the project scope increased from just handling a few category 6 cables per rack, to over 48 per rack all of which had to be precisely installed.

Latency is crucial as it means that everyone participating in the market has less reason to be concerned that the underlying price may move while the systems process transactions. While the best traditional equity exchanges operate around 2 milliseconds, they are built on the premise that few brokerages and institutions connect to them.

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