How Hurricane Sandy led to more data processes on Wall Street

October 9, 2013

Almost one year ago, Hurricane Sandy halted operations for many businesses, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ trading centers. The last time weather conditions caused closures was in 1888, during the Great Blizzard, according to ComputerWorld. Even though many major brokerages had offsite database management services in New Jersey—NASDAQ's site is in Virginia—officials decided not to work just in case the electronic trading system failed. 

One of the reasons why Wall Street decided not to remotely work was because they were unsure if Arca, the industry's electronic exchange system, would be fully operational. NYSE felt companies would have sent IT staffers to Manhattan to manage the system, which could have been risky.

The decision to close turned out to be a good one because offices inside 111 Wall Street were flooded, a Verizon switch station lost power, and other buildings in the area were severely impacted.

Since then, many of Wall Street's traders are doing more to prepare themselves from another natural disaster. Telx's NJR3 data center alone has 12, three-megawatt generators. The NYSE also installed two power grids underneath the data center, hoping to return to work more quickly

However, David Weiss, an analyst with Aite Group, said that Wall Street should consider cloud-based management systems as well. Having this additional support can help operations go smoothly.

"It doesn't do much good to have data centers up and running if no one else can get to them," he told the source. "[The] virtualization of not just technology, but of staffing [is important for any backup plan]."

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