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The Grill: CME Group's CIO tackles merger integrations, big data

Lucas Mearian | Oct. 9, 2012
Kevin Kometer started at futures exchange CME group as a lead programmer, but by accepting myriad positions over the past 20 years, he accumulated the knowledge to lead a global company that electronically processes 3 million futures contracts a year.

What keeps you up at night? I wouldn't say anything keeps me up at night. We certainly spend a significant amount of time dealing with capacity, and performance and scalability. That's an ongoing activity in this industry. I wouldn't say there are limitations there as much as trying to stay in front of the customer demand and the volume.

What current or upcoming technology do you see as a game-changer in the data center, and why? I think we're certainly tackling many of the same problems other companies are. We're looking at interesting solutions for the big-data problems. Things are increasingly real-time, and that's driving the need for more real-time data ... and it drives an awful lot of risk management as well.

So we're looking to bring in a number of solutions outside of your traditional relational databases. We're implementing Hadoop, Exadata from Oracle -- things of that nature.

How far along are you toward rolling out Hadoop? We've got a basic implementation right now. We're working on fine-tuning that and working through a few configuration and performance challenges.

What are you going to be using Hadoop for? Initially, mostly historical market data. Think of it as a market data repository that can be leveraged throughout the company for a variety of things, and ultimately passing that out to the customer.

What does the Globex upgrade involve? We're moving to some new switches. We're running mostly on Cisco switches at this point. We're moving into some new hardware. We've rewritten the gateways with some different coding techniques. We're mostly a Java shop, so we're minimizing garbage collection and doing a better job with threading and things of that nature.

We were in the proof-of-concept and planning phase late last year. That quickly went from proof of concept to execution at the tail end of last year. We will see 50% to 75% improvement in variability and processing time of Globex orders and market data.

If you could offer one piece of advice to young IT professionals aspiring to become CIOs, what would that be? I would try to coach them into exploring a number of different responsibilities within IT. Too often you see an IT professional start out on the infrastructure side and stay there, or start off in the application development side and stay there.

To become an effective CIO, you need to explore opportunities in a number of different IT functions that will give you exposure to many businesses you may be supporting. That collective experience will prepare you best for becoming a CIO.

 

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