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How to develop an Infrastructure-as-A-Service product

by Ana Lopez
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Oleg is the CEO of dxFeed, a market data and financial services company. More than 20 years of experience in information technology and finance.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a type of computing service where processing power, storage, and network resources are delivered through the cloud rather than through physical hardware. Along with software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), IaaS is part of a relatively new model of cloud-based services that eliminates the need for in-house data centers, providing businesses with affordable, flexible, and scalable computing solutions. How does this apply to the world of data feeds?

Simply put, there’s more to providing market data than just sharing a feed with customers. There are a number of technical overheads for companies that want to subscribe to market data, such as storing and transmitting this data to their users. Based on my experience in this area, here are some insights on how companies can develop their own IaaS product.

1. Listen to the market.

For market data providers, their job typically ends with providing that data, and it is the customer’s responsibility to have all relevant systems in place to get the most out of that data. However, there is one observable shift from companies that want to do everything in-house to gradually becoming more comfortable with outsourcing important parts of their respective companies to specialists.

Led by the explosion in cloud computing and the success of the SaaS model, one of the consequences of this shift is the emergence of smaller start-ups that can now compete on a more equal footing with larger incumbents, without having to worry about worry about hardware requirements or the personnel costs involved in managing all that hardware.

If you are an experienced specialist in a particular industry, chances are there are opportunities for you to reach more potential clients by taking a similar approach. In some ways, financial services companies moving in this direction can be seen as confirming the underlying trend, as they have historical (registration required) were the most reluctant to outsource key parts of their business.

2. Prove the concept.

In the world of market data provision, the solution to this increase in customer requests has been to develop, deploy and manage the systems necessary to deliver market data to the customer’s users, without them having to do anything themselves.

In this way, the end user connects to the customer’s systems and receives an authorization token that allows them to establish a secure connection to the required feeds and the data flows as usual. This frees customers to focus on promoting their own brands and growing their business, while the provider of this type of IaaS product has to handle all the technical factors related to the delivery of market data.

The ubiquity and flexibility of solutions such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) allow much to be achieved exclusively in the cloud. Our field is about configuring the virtual servers, load balancers, and autoscale groups needed to provide market data services at scale, without having to install physical hardware at the customer’s premises.

User instances are automatically scalable depending on the changing requirements of each customer. As usage increases, more servers can be started up to meet demand in a very efficient and cost-effective manner. The same is true in reverse: when usage drops, these systems can automatically compensate by reducing the resources used (CPU, memory, network throughput), while leaving enough space to meet customer needs.

3. Repeat!

Due to the highly time-sensitive nature of market data, the first true iteration of this IaaS approach to market data delivery was in geographic routing. This allows end-users to be served by a cluster closest to their geographic location so they can get the most up-to-date pricing. It involves running parallel servers in Europe, the United States and Asia, as well as creating a system that can intelligently route traffic between them.

The more you test and experiment as you work to meet specific customer needs, the more you’ll be able to create a general template that will help you respond much faster when a potential customer comes along with needs and pain points you’ve experienced. address in the past.

For example, some autoscaling requirements may be required each time such a service is offered to a new location. This is because end users vary widely among different consumers of market data – from large numbers of mobile users who regularly log in and out of their accounts to power users with high bandwidth requirements who are almost always connected.

In my experience, each new partnership enriches the overall template, shortening time-to-market for new partners and making it more accessible to smaller companies, who then don’t need costly adjustments.

Final thoughts

One of the interesting benefits of identifying an emerging trend is that the target market is constantly changing as more companies come to appreciate its value. Having robust market data solutions without the usually required hardware and technical overhead costs is starting to make sense for a wide variety of businesses that want to focus on outsourcing everything but their core competencies to specialized companies to stay competitive.

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