ASX delays data centre migration

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ASX delays data centre migration

Updated: Connectivity issues push move to February.

The Australian Securities Exchange has delayed its move to a new data centre in Gore Hill by three months after suffering a four-hour-long outage last week.

The exchange was due to move its ASX Trade system to a $32 million facility in Gore Hill in Sydney's north this weekend, and decommission systems in its Bondi Junction data centre on November 20.

However, the exchange advised software vendors and brokers this afternoon that the new Australian Liquidity Centre (ALC) in Gore Hill would not go live until February 6.

A spokesman for the exchange said the go-live date had been shifted beyond a "Christmas technology freeze" that was observed by many brokers.

“ASX has initiated the revised schedule in response to the ASX Trade outage on 27 October and being mindful of the multiplicity of technology challenges currently faced by the market,” the advisory stated.

“ASX acknowledges the considerable work that many customers have already undertaken and will utilise the additional time to minimise the risks associated with introducing this key market infrastructure.”

The glitch

The exchange halted trading for about four hours from 10.05am last Thursday after identifying a “network connectivity” issue that caused a four-minute delay in the delivery of some broadcasts to brokers.

At the time, an ASX spokesman claimed the issue was “completely unrelated” to its move to Gore Hill as no trading was taking place from the new facility.

An ASX trade advisory issued this afternoon indicated that the problem was associated with connectivity between "matching engines, supporting components and dissemination gateways of the ASX Trade system".

Besides disrupting brokers' transactions, the broadcast delay also caused the failure of a "supporting component" of both primary and backup ASX Trade systems.

That component was used to verify that transactions were submitted by authorised, logged-in users.

The ASX blamed the glitch on an upgrade, implemented the weekend prior, to its primary trading system's network. The spokesman said the upgrade was intended to improve ASX Trade's latency.

The ASX is under pressure to improve its technical performance as it faces its first dose of local competition from newcomer Chi-X, which has chosen to base its services in Sydney's Equinix and Global Switch data centres.

Upon identifying the problem, the exchange worked with technology provider NASDAQ OMX to recover the failed component, and failed over to a backup trading system that had not been upgraded over the weekend.

ASX Trade continued to run from the backup system, hosted at its disaster recovery site, for the rest of Thursday. The primary system was returned to its previous operational configuration overnight, and restored on Friday morning.

“Having identified the problem, ASX reverted to the previous operational configuration,” the ASX spokesman told iTnews. “The upgrade has been deferred for the moment.”

Revised schedule

Technical bulletins from the ASX indicate that it began moving Phase 1 co-location customers into the Gore Hill ALC on October 17.

An “industry-wide test” of ASX Trade systems at the ALC and its new, 1 Gbps Liquidity Cross Connect (LCC) high-speed network took place on Sunday October 23.

ASX Trade was initially scheduled to begin operating from the ALC as a “standby system” from November 7, with the primary system hosted in Bondi Junction.

The Gore Hill system would then be configured to operate as a primary system for connectivity tests between November 12 and 18, and go live in primary mode on November 21.

Under the new schedule, the ASX Trade platform will instead go live from the ALC in standby mode on January 16, 2012 and operate in primary mode from February 6, 2012.

Customers furious

Sources within the financial software industry told iTnews that the stock exchange’s clients were “not happy” after being pushed into meeting aggressive deadlines for the new ASX data centre at the same time as readying for the introduction of Chi-X.

“The ASX, not wanting to let Chi-X get the glory of their launch, pushed for the new data centre at the same time," one source said.

Clients had purchased new infrastructure and communication links to the Gore Hill data centre – which will now sit idle until February.

The source indicated that the delay will cost some of these clients “several thousand dollars per month”.

Updated at 8.50pm to include more information from the ASX about the glitch and its resolution.

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