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Five Market Data Delivery Lessons from Ancient Rome

While multicast and data delivery is a must-have for firms in any asset class, not all data delivery pipelines are created equal.

Aqueducts were a literal life-force for cities in the ancient Roman Empire, delivering an integral source of sanitation and hydration. A symbol of utility, that the citizens only noticed when it stopped working, they also exemplified the mastery of concrete and marble – created by the progenitors of modern architectural design up until the development of steel. In fact, many of these aqueducts still stand, structurally intact.

Roman aqueducts were indeed “built to last”.

Like aqueducts, market data delivery is an integral source for any trading firm. Today, traders don’t always know where their market data comes from – or how it’s delivered. This is the critical job of partner vendors and the middle office. These resources are a given and rarely top of mind for the front office – until there’s a gap, a leak, or blockage.

While multicast and data delivery is a must-have for firms in any asset class, not all data delivery pipelines are created equal. That’s why it’s so critical to choose the right vendor for market data delivery.

To keep the front-office working on front-office things and the middle office – well – sane here are five lessons we’ve learned from some of the greatest architects in civilization, and how to apply them to market data delivery:

Build a Sound Structure: Your vendor should have a purpose built MPLS network backbone that allows connections from multiple carriers at the local level, to gain a solid foundation for data delivery. What’s more – the network backbone should have controls and security protocols to ensure data is received by the intended parties with dedicated classes of service, private rendezvous points, and kept secure from hostile or disruptive interception.

Know the Terrain: Your vendor should have long, on-going, and close relationships with exchanges so that the data feed is being handed to a trusted source. And, they should have robust knowledge of the data feed before the pipeline is turned on for the client.

Maintain Stability: Your vendor should create an operational stability through embedded applications and instrumentation for monitoring the data flow; a core of network probes, intelligent fiber taps, and aggregation switches. All to increase ability to proactively see problems with feeds, isolate them and ultimately save time and money through early detection.

Create Redundancies: Your vendor should focus on diversity and resiliency, especially when feeds support sending two copies of the data into the network, so that these copies can always be delivered with maximum speed AND no single points of failure.

Hire Veterans: Your vendor should be made up of highly skilled engineering and support teams who have a solid methodology in on-boarding, maintenance and troubleshooting. You don’t want someone to tick off a box. Nor someone to de-verticalize their knowledge of financial services, use the same feed methodology for multiple industries – or worse, cut off your feed during market hours for maintenance.

After all, your market data is critical. Your vendors should think so, too. Don’t just build a pipeline, build it to last.