On 6 June 2022, Euronext completed one of the most ambitious projects in its history – relocating its Data Centre from Basildon, UK to Bergamo, Italy in just 14 months. In this article, we look at the key drivers behind the Euronext Data Centre migration project and how the new Core Data Centre will benefit Euronext clients and the environment.
The Euronext Data Centre is Euronext’s core markets system, so moving it to a new location, let alone a new continent, is not a decision that’s taken lightly, as Nicole Agopian, IT Relationship Manager at Euronext, explains. “The Data Centre is the most important system for an exchange. It’s where all the trading happens. It also houses the matching engine, which is where we match all the buy and sell orders we handle as an exchange, plus all the supporting applications.”
And the move had implications beyond Euronext’s trading operations. “We offer colocation to major clients. So, moving our data centre meant they had to move their systems and hardware as well,” Nicole Agopian says.
Partnering with clients to make the move happen
To make the Core Data Centre relocation happen, with as minimal disruption as possible, Euronext worked closely with clients throughout the 14-month period. “This was a very complex, technical migration, and it involved a lot of work for our internal teams and our clients. We had over 800 calls with our clients, dozens of webinars, three dress rehearsals and a migration weekend,” relates Nicole Agopian. “We needed to test every inch of the installation, and all of this happened in parallel to running day-to-day trading.”
While the move required a significant investment of time and resources, it also afforded Euronext clients an opportunity to re-evaluate their own technical infrastructure. “Our clients choose colocation because they want to trade as quickly as possible. By placing their servers close to ours, they can shave nanoseconds off transmission time and get market data as quickly as possible,” Nicole Agopian explains. “Moving the Data Centre prompted clients to think about their equipment and presence and see if their current set-up still met their needs, or if there was room for improvement.”
The move’s timing was also designed to make things easier for clients. “We’re migrating the Borsa Italiana equity and derivatives markets to Optiq®, our trading platform, in 2023. Now that we’ve already migrated the Data Centre, this saves our clients from having to migrate both to the new technology and our Data Centre at the same time.”
Future-fitting Euronext’s trading operations
With so much work involved, the reasons for the Data Centre migration would have to be compelling. And they were, as Nicole Agopian explains. “There were several drivers behind this decision. One was Brexit. While the EU hasn’t yet stipulated that exchanges must have their Data Centres within the Union, we knew it was a distinct possibility. And when we acquired Borsa Italiana in 2021, we had a unique opportunity to benefit from their existing infrastructure and relocate our Data Centre to within the European Union.”
The move now means that Euronext has insourced its entire infrastructure, including colocation services. “Now that we’re no longer dependent on other providers, we can really take control of our processes and drive innovation throughout our organisation,” Nicole Agopian says. This independence benefits Euronext’s clients as well. “We’re also free to develop our own colocation offering, so we can work with our clients to develop a service that meets their needs.”
Putting sustainability first – for Euronext and its clients
Another driver behind the decision was the location itself – the Aruba Global Cloud Data Centre. The facility’s buildings are powered entirely by renewable energy and produce renewable energy through hydroelectric plants and photovoltaic systems. This makes them the perfect fit for Euronext’s ambitious “Fit for 1.5°” commitment and benefits clients’ ESG performance as well. “Many of our clients are focused on reducing their operations’ environmental impact. For those who choose to co-locate within the centre, they will be running operations from a facility that uses green energy, which will be a major step towards improving their non-financial metrics.”
Clients can also have peace of mind in knowing that their data is housed in a secure, resilient facility. “When we were selecting a new location, we wanted a facility that matched the high standards of the Basildon centre. Our new Data Centre is also a Tier 4 facility, meaning it’s a secure technology ecosystem with a low environmental impact.”
Staying ahead of regulatory initiatives
When designing the new Data Centre, Euronext made sure it was compliant with current and future regulations, such as the MiFID II regulatory technical standards (RTS 10). Previously, the colocation clients with equipment closest to the matching engine could have an advantage because they could receive data nanoseconds before competitors whose equipment was located farther away. RTS 10 requires Data Centres to equalise the process and make sure all clients receive information at the same time.
“When we designed the Data Centre, we wanted to make sure it was compliant with RTS 10,” Nicole Agopian explains. “We commissioned an external audit of the Data Centre cables that link our clients’ cabinets with the matching engine to make sure they all had the same transmission speed. We also went one step further and made sure all cables are equalised. In this way, we make sure all clients have equal access to the same information at the same time.”
One single data centre in 2023
While the Euronext Core Data Centre relocation represents a milestone in meeting Euronext’s ESG strategy and Growth for Impact 2024 strategic plan, the benefits of the new Data Centre are even more far reaching.
“With this migration, we have brought our Core Data Centre, that handles 25% of European trading volumes, back to the EU. We now operate a state-of-the-art colocation facility that’s available to both members and non-members, which will pave the way to develop and offer new services to the financial markets. And we’ve located it in a facility that will help our clients reduce their own carbon footprints,” says Nicole Agopian.
Now that the migration is complete, Euronext is well poised to meet the next goal, which is to have all markets operating from one single Data Centre in 2023 – meaning a simpler set-up for clients across the Euronext markets.
 Subject to regulatory approval.