Friday, June 20, 2014

Prime XM and CNS in latency network battle over 1.5 ms

PrimeXM is a company providing FOREX brokers with an aggregation engine and access to liquidity  providers.   Some broker’s MT4 servers are located at PrimeXM. 
As you know, CNS provides hosted virtual desktops for FOREX traders.  PrimeXM has been directly connected to our network in NYC and UK, which we call “ON NET” for some time now.  Through these connections, CNS traders utilizing brokers hosted with PrimeX M have been enjoying ultra-low latency and high redundancy connectivity to their FOREX brokers.  This is no doubt a mutual benefit to all parties involved, including the brokers (PrimeXM customers) and the end-traders.
Additionally, the CNS network will soon directly connect to nearly 5000 ISP’s and corporate networks and PrimeXM, thru their ON NET connectivity, stood only to gain from their free connection to the CNS network.  This type of connectivity would normally cost thousands of dollars each month.
Typically the cost of connecting each network in a mutually beneficial peering arrangement is split down the middle  (the datacenter charges a  fee).  However, Instead of splitting the monthly cost for the PrimeXM  x-connects in NYC and UK,  CNS has been paying the full fee as a courtesy from the start.
Late yesterday we were notified by PrimeXM that they intend to charge a flat monthly fee to all external hosting providers that utilize  PrimeXM's network as of July 1st.  This does not include the cross connect fee.
We believe any fee to PrimeXM is unreasonable given the great mutual benefits the ON NET connectivity provides.  CNS is bringing traders closer to the brokers, who are PrimeXM customers.  Some of these brokers include:

ADS Securities
Armada Markets
Bank Direct FX
Benchmark Group
Divisa Capital
FXCM Mena (UK)
Sensus Captial markets
Synergy FX
Traders Trust

Unless PrimeXM changes their position, ON NET connectivity to these brokers will be terminated on August 1st.   Traders utilizing these brokers will still be able to connect to their broker, however latency is expected to increase to somewhere between 1-1.5ms.
We should extend some caution:  PrimeXM has threatened to cut the x-connects this coming weekend, but are now setting the date as August 1.  We will update you again if anything changes.
If you disagree with this decision by PrimeXM then please contact your broker right now and let them know.  The brokers are PrimeXM customers and are in the best position to make PrimeXM understand the errors in their decision.
We are now reaching out to individual brokers.  We will post updates to this developing situation on our Helpdesk News Page.
Barry Bahrami

I'm not sure how PrimeXM could possibly be subsidizing any VPS company.  In our case, the opposite is true.  We have been providing PrimeXM with free ON NET access to thousands of CNS traders for some time - at our own expense.  This has made PrimeXM more attractive to end brokers - PrimeXM customers - who have mutual subscribers with CNS.  Certainly there are many traders who would not be with any PrimeXM broker if it was not for CNS.  If Mr. Diethelm can't understand that then maybe his brokers will help him grasp it.  At the end of the day, he is degrading their quality of service too while giving a competitive advantage to our other connected brokers at the same time.
If you look at the Comcast/Netflix dispute, it was the ISP  connecting all the end-users to the content provider that demanded - and received - a fee from the content provider.  In this case, I believe Mr. Diethelm got it backwards.  It is CNS who is bringing thousands of  traders to PrimeXM, not the other way around.
Mr. Diethelm has told me that their hosting end has made losses and they need to break even.  While I can understand that, I don't believe he fully understands his own business and how this technology works.  We do not charge brokers to connect to ON NET because it makes good business sense – but it is very costly.
He also does not understand that in his business, hosting may be a loss leader.  That is, they would not have the back-end – from which they are likely making hundreds of thousands of dollars each month for a decent sized broker - if it were not for the hosting.  Instead, Mr. Diethelm wants to split it and somehow make the hosting side pay for itself.  If real world business could only be so easy….  It would be like KFC charging for napkins.
Instead of saving money during a cash crunch, Mr. Diethelm seems determined to waste it.  By cutting the free connection PrimeXM is receiving from CNS, IP traffic will simply route around to their  paid Internet interfaces - increasing  their Internet transit costs.  On the other hand, our network will directly connect to nearly 5000 ISP's and corporate networks by end of this month and so all he is really doing is saving CNS money on x-connect fees and shooting himself in the foot at the same time.  If there is a complaint to be levied regarding networking costs, it should be coming from us.   The cost of operating our network likely dwarfs what PrimeXM pays to operate theirs.
Mr. Diethelm has the real-world model all backwards and I don't believe any VPS hosting provider will agree to pay these fees.  Certainly any new fees will need to be covered by the end-traders and I'm not willing to do that.  It would be wrong.  At this point, CNS will dispute a new fee from PrimeXM to any currently connected VPS provider.  It would set a very bad precedent  in which the only possible outcome is higher fees to end-traders.  We  are just not willing to go down that road.

Barry Bahrami

I just read Mr. Swann's response in its entirety. Our previous response only addressed the points in the article. I should address a couple points:
Despite their claims, I don't believe any VPS provider has agreed to their fee.  We also do not pay fees for any of our other x-connects to other providers.  They obviously appreciate the mutual business we bring each other.
When Mr. Diethelm contacted me that morning, he informed me that they would be cutting the x-connects this coming weekend. Clearly - we have an obligation to inform our subscribers and partner brokers, most especially after his reckless reply of a "disconnect this weekend". It demonstrates some concerning and unpredictable behavior. And so I believe informing our subscribers and partner brokers was the proper course of action. (1-1.5ms is a lot to some traders.)
I can post the entire transcript of our email conversation if it becomes necessary. I prefer they rescind the decision so we can all get on with more productive business.
Finally - as it relates to support: Really the only time CNS Support needs to contact PrimeXM is due to a technical issue on their side. It's usually initiated by a trader with one of their brokers. They should be happy to resolve their issues. The fact is our connections save PrimeXM money and bring in traffic that generates revenue for them. Trades start at the traders terminal, not PrimeXM. PrimeXM should welcome the connectivity we provide.