Datacentre provider Interxion is currently in the process of leasing its second site in the UK, but the company faces some tough decisions due to financial companies, which make up an important segment of its UK customer base.
For its new site, one of Interxion's targets for business will be High Frequency Trading (HFTs) operations, Greg McCulloch, Interxion's managing director for the UK told ZDNet UK Tuesday. HFTs use massive server estates to store and process financial data to make near-instantaneous trades.
"HFT, absolutely, is one of our biggest focuses right now, but we wouldn't rely on it 100 percent," McCulloch said. Nonetheless, it's an important segment: within Interxion's sales division there's a team that specialises in high-finance, and three out of its four people are ex-City. "One of them still runs a trading shop as well," McCulloch said.
HFT customers are demanding because they exist in a market where "you can lose millions of dollars for each microsecond of latency", so the positioning of the datacentre in relation to the exchanges is important. For this reason, Interxion will be building its next site within central London, so that it can sell clients on both low latency, and ease-of-access to the site to swap out servers and interact with other clients.
In fact, supporting a flesh-and-blood "customer community" within the datacentre is a major selling point, according to McCulloch. This is because finance and HFT operations have "community effects" on the hardware of the datacentre, as customers like to talk and cross-connect their services with eachother. For this reason, Interexion steers clear of using energy efficient, but cramped containerised datacentre modules within its sites, for fear of making it hard for the customers to mingle.
Interxion is currently going through the leasing process for its second facility, so details of the site were scant. What McCulloch was able to say was that he has acquired "a site that allows me to develop myself right now - there's an existing shell on the site and I can take that down and build my own." He explained that Interxion would have no interest in converting a pre-existing datacentre shell, if a vacant one could be found, as the pace of change in the industry has meant that legacy datacentres all need major retro-fitting to be used for a modern operation, and the economics would be the same as building from scratch.
Aside from finance, Interxion will also be going after digital media companies and will focus on their pre-existing relationships with other customers, such as London's two major internet exchanges LINX (London Internet Exchange) and LONAP (London Internet Providers Exchange).