By Terry Flanagan

Cloud Systems Evolve

Alternative investment firms explore new delivery models for IT services

Hedge funds and investment firms are leveraging cloud computing for archival, compliance, and hosted apps.
Via a virtual private cloud, IT infrastructure can be delivered without the attendant costs of building and maintaining it internally.

”The hedge fund community is exploring ways of getting enterprise level infrastructure delivered in a predictable, cost effective manner,” Bob Guilbert, managing director of Eze Castle Integration, told Markets Media. “Private clouds have been accepted by the investment community.”

Eze Castle Integration, a provider of IT services to hedge funds, has increased its cloud computing customer base to more than 140 financial industry firms, as the company works to deliver a range of apps and services via the cloud.

“At least 40% of our business for 2012 will be related to the cloud,” Guilbert said. “We are very bullish on our ability to deliver infrastructure capabilities to the alternative investment space.”

Eze Castle Integration’s private cloud services portfolio includes horizontal, enterprise apps such as office, voice, archiving and backup and recovery, as well as vertical application hosing for order management, portfolio management, accounting, and research management. In addition, it provides FIX connectivity to market data providers such as NYSE Euronext, SunGard, and Thomson Reuters.

Scalability and costs are the main reasons why hedge funds are choosing to go cloud. “Using an outsourced service provider allows a hedge fund to put its money to work in the capital markets rather than tying it up in infrastructure costs,” said Guilbert.

The cloud model is a pay as you go model, which means that allocation of CPU, memory and storage resources can be adjusted to address a fund’s needs, said Guilbert.

The Eze Private Cloud employs VMWare ESX servers to virtualize server solutions, and virtualized storage from NetApp to segregate tenant’s data. “When funds are selecting cloud providers, one of their paramount concerns is the privacy and security of information,” said Guilbert.

The Eze private cloud provides segregation at the storage, switch, server and firewall levels, Guilbert said. “All measures have been taken to provide a secure multitenant design,” he said.

In 2011, Eze Castle opened its New Jersey-based data center at QTS, an expansion driven by demand for cloud services. Via that facility and others, Eze Private Cloud delivers secure cloud-computing offering with multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) between data centers, said Guilbert.

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