The information technology staff at the Chicago Mercantile is in for a busy summer. By June, the Merc plans to go live with a new data center, a slimmed-down application-programming interface and an enhanced trading engine equipped with spread functionality for the exchange's Eurodollar futures contract. Moreover, shortly after that, the CME expects to launch its E-mini contract on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Dubbed the Eagle project, the upgrade to Globex, the CME's trading engine, is being designed specifically for exchange participants who need the ability to electronically trade Eurodollar spreads. In a recent interview with WS&T Week, CME Chief Information Officer Scott Johnson said the Globex upgrade, which will cover a "large percentage" of the spreads that trade in the Eurodollar pit, is one of three major technology rollouts the Merc has planned for June.
The CME's June calendar, he said, also calls for the deployment of an enhanced version of its iLink API and the launch of a remote data center. The improved iLink API, said Johnson, will be much speedier than its predecessor. "Inside the CME, we've torn out a bunch of the middle layers of our server infrastructure, so the API will be a lot faster than it is today," he said.
The remote data center will serve as an alternative site for a portion of the CME's market data. "It's not a back-up (site), but yet another data center that we're going to run some (market data) out of," said Johnson, noting that the Merc's board had approved the development of the remote data center "a couple of months" prior to September 11.
After it completes its internal technology rollouts, the CME expects to turn its attention to the installation of its E-mini contract on the floor of the Nymex. On the floor of the CME, the E-mini contract is traded electronically via Globex terminals that are equipped with front-end workstation software supplied by GL Trade -- a Paris-based independent software vendor. The Nymex, said Johnson, wants its E-mini setup to look similar to the CME's. "What they asked us to do was install GL terminals into their pits in the same fashion that we did in ours -- i.e., to put them around the pits with the right sight lines to create a liquid market in the pit, but also to create (a contract) that goes back and forth between the electronic market and the pit," he said.
A CME spokesperson said that, currently, the Merc plans to deploy "around 120" Globex/GL terminals around the Nymex's trading pits. The CME, Johnson added, will have oversight of all of the technology aspects of the E-mini rollout. "Our model is to provide exchange services to exchanges. We don't sell them a piece of software and allow them to take it into their premises and run it. We actually provide just the service. So we keep the software in house, and if Nymex wants to run an E-mini program, we run the whole platform for them," he said.