Talking Flexibility, Freedom and Cross Connects With Lucera’s CEO

Phil Schwarzmann

Everything happens more quickly these days, but there aren’t many fields where speed is more important than financial services. Countless numbers of transactions happen in an instant, and being fractions of milliseconds too slow can compromise entire businesses.

Lucera enters this mix as a company created to help customers deal with huge volumes of market data, rising network costs, complex regulation and a latency arms race that’s being fought in microseconds. Its Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform is built to give customers cost-effective access to the speed, flexibility and scale they need to compete.

We spoke with Lucera CEO Jacob Loveless about how Lucera came to be, his commitment to flexibility and freedom, and why he’s grateful Equinix introduced the cross-connect model.

Explain why Lucera was founded. What gap were you filling?

“At the company I worked at before Lucera, I managed a fully automated trading system. The problem I ran into was that we wanted to try new trading models and wanted to try new ideas, but to do that, I had to build the network out and spend millions and millions of dollars. This is not a problem we have in other industries. Netflix doesn’t own a single server or network. It provisions everything on demand. So we had this crazy idea: ‘What if we build a large enough infrastructure where it can actually be consumed as a service – the network and the actual computing power itself?’ So we built a network, partnered with Equinix, then took our network, the software defined network application and the compute software, and laid it down on top of the Equinix platform. And here we are two and half years later.”

So better accessibility to networks and computing power was critical?

“I didn’t like making deals with long-term service providers for a business that I wasn’t sure was going to work. And I didn’t like having to estimate the capacity I was going to need. I am an expert in the field, and I’m telling you, I don’t know how much capacity I’ll need. Nobody does. And by the way, it’s not fair to expect that. So I want to be able to consume capacity on a month-to-month basis, and I want global consistency, ease of use and a version of control. I’ve never understood why the head of a business can’t be in the charge of the infrastructure they use to run their business. Now, you literally log into Lucera, you click a button to create a new server, and it gets spun up inside of Equinix in London or New York. You click another button, and create a network connection to Goldman Sachs, and there it is. It’s freedom.”

Can you talk about the value of interconnection and where Equinix fits in?

“Equinix won the data center wars and it is where finance trades, period. I exclusively service one community: financial services. Of course my home is going to be in Equinix. But more than that, we need to deliver connectivity to clients as fast as possible. Thank you very much for the cross connect model. Before that, believe it or not, we would actually run connections out of the building, then run them back into the building to connect to someone in the same data center. In the cross connect model, we say, ‘Hey, Bob is right down the hall. Why don’t I just run a piece of fiber optic cable from me to Bob?’ It’s much, much cheaper and faster, and the fact that all those customers are reachable in the same building is absolutely critical.”

Learn more how Equinix helps financial services firms.