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London Stock Exchange To Abandon Windows 438

Posted by timothy
from the don't-weld-shut-the-doors-then dept.
BBCWatcher writes "Computerworld's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that the London Stock Exchange is abandoning its Microsoft Windows-based trading platform: 'Anyone who was ever fool enough to believe that Microsoft software was good enough to be used for a mission-critical operation had their face slapped this September when the LSE's Windows-based TradElect system brought the market to a standstill for almost an entire day .... Sources at the LSE tell me to this day that the problem was with TradElect ...'"
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London Stock Exchange To Abandon Windows

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    • by fractoid (1076465) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:23AM (#28571429) Homepage
      Was I the first person to think "London Stock Exchange was running on Windows? HOLY SHIT!"
      (Of course I know I wasn't... but cmon! :P )
      • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@noSPam.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:38AM (#28571575) Homepage

        MS used to run lots of ads, including banner ads on slashdot, about how the london stock exchange chose windows over linux... Those ads stopped very quickly when they had the big outage a few months ago.

        • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:19PM (#28572581) Homepage

          MS used to run lots of ads, including banner ads on slashdot, about how the london stock exchange chose windows over linux... Those ads stopped very quickly when they had the big outage a few months ago.

          Several European banks had their asses handed back to them, too, last spring for trying to shove their Windows-uberalles ideology into their core activities. For several months it was (maybe still is) practically impossible to do basic banking. People could go into others accounts, money from their own accounts could not be transfered, money could not be paid into their accounts. It was a hardship for many small businesses that were stupid enough to put their business accounts at a bank where ideology trumps technology. When your own customers can't pay you, money becomes a problem. There, too, the problem lay squarely on the attempt to use MS .NET instead of something workable. It's just a half-assed copy of Java locked into one vendor. After the banks getting bad press for weeks, there was a vague statement made about the company that takes care of the network, but not tying that statement to the ongoing outages.

          It's not important to laugh at MS for making crap products, it's important to not use them. The problem with MS products has been around as long as the company itself so it's not like so-called technical 'experts' can claim ignorance or any other excuse. Adding the phrase "with a computer" doesn't absolve criminal negligence for recommending MS products [networkworld.com].

          Technology might be a matter of choice, but as the late US Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, has said, the right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. So, that choice does not include the right to screw things up beyond belief for everyone else. It's not a nameless or faceless "terrorist" group that is costing our businesses, shutting down our infrastructure, tangling our air traffic control, our power grid, our hospitals, or stock exchanges and banks. The people promoting Windows and Microsoft technologies have real names and faces and walk among us every day. Take them out and we've won the first round. Why is the military sitting on its hands here? The damage is easy to add up and it's even easier to remove the cause. A side benefit from the cleanup would be a restoration of the freemarket and the usual subsequent boom of economic activity.

        • by node 3 (115640) on Friday July 03, 2009 @02:32PM (#28573887)

          MS used to run lots of ads, including banner ads on slashdot, about how the london stock exchange chose windows over linux... Those ads stopped very quickly when they had the big outage a few months ago

          Ah, so the MS ad servers were running Windows too?

      • by sdpuppy (898535) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:12AM (#28571955)
        Quote from article:

        But, then, it's not often you see enterprise software fail quite so badly and publicly as was the case with the LSE

        A quote from another source is appropriate here:

        This is a good death. There's no shame in this, in a man's death. A man who has done fine works. We're making a better world. All of them - better worlds.

        article:

        So, might I suggest to the LSE that they consider Linux as the foundation for their next stock software infrastructure?

    • Fun game (Score:4, Funny)

      by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:35PM (#28572755) Homepage

      google for "London Stock Exchange site:microsoft.com" and fiddle around a bit looking at current vs. cached pages.

      I bet if you interviewed Ballmer, he'd say something like "London has a Stock Exchane?!? I sure as fsck never heard of it"

    • by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @04:31AM (#28578679)
      From http://www.londonstockexchange.com/traders-and-brokers/products-services/connectivity/tradelect/tradelect.htm [londonstockexchange.com]:

      TradElect is the Exchange's world-beating trading system. It brings unprecedented levels of performance, enhanced functionality and new services to our markets.

      TradElect allows our customers to trade on one of the fastest, most reliable and technologically advanced equity markets in the world. After the performance upgrades introduced over the last year the trading system delivers and an average round-trip latency of around 4 milliseconds, and a trading Capacity of 18,000 orders/sec.

      TradElect was part of the Exchange's Technology Roadmap (TRM) project.

      Borsa Italiana and the London Stock Exchange are currently working to integrate their systems in order to improve the performance, tradability and access across asset classes and markets for all of our customers.

      They don't even mention stability. Outstanding.

  • by iamapizza (1312801) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:38AM (#28570981)

    Anyone who was ever fool enough to believe that Microsoft software was good enough to be used for a mission-critical operation had their face slapped this September when the LSE (London Stock Exchange)'s Windows-based TradElect system brought the market to a standstill for almost an entire day. While the LSE denied that the collapse was TradElect's fault, they also refused to explain what the problem really wa.

    Right, so it wasn't M$'s TradElect's fault, therefore it clearly was M$'s TradElect's fault. Someone give this guy a job at the FBI!

    • by Morphine007 (207082) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:00AM (#28571201)

      You left out this bit:

      Sources at the LSE tell me to this day that the problem was with TradElect ...

      I mean, I'll agree that bashing microsoft, solely for the sake of bashing microsoft, is so 10 years ago... but it sounds plausible, given the nature of the CEO change-up, the inside sources, and the wholesale replacement of their microsoft-made system.

      • by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:28AM (#28571477) Homepage

        I'm a bit confused as to why it's Microsoft getting knocked on the head here. Sure, SQL Server 2000 might not be the best choice, but how are we to know what actually caused the issues? You could write poorly written code anywhere, and outages could well be caused by hardware failure and poor failover planning. To blame it all on the .NET framework seems a bit odd to me, without knowing what was causing all the problems.

        Of course, I'm not a big fan of SQL Server databases for huge mission-critical applications (multi-version consistency in TempDB version stores, anyone?).

        • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:00AM (#28571835)

          If I recall correctly, the TradElect platform was pushed by MS as a showcase for its new .NET 1.0 platform, and was written by a whole team (or two) of outsourced developers in this brand new, shiny technology. They ported it to .NET 1.1 but I'm not sure they ever tried to port it to .NET 2.0.

          Did I mention it was developed in conjunction with Accenture? Oh, and it was developed by Microsoft itself by all the news reports (though I bet the development was done by cheapest devs Accenture could hire, with a few MS consultants discussing architecture and collecting big fees - it didn't cost $40m in hardware alone!)

          So, yes, it could have been poorly written code, but as you say, you can write poor .NET code. It always seemed to me that the project was akin to an 'enterprise java' one of yesteryear - big, slow, over-engineered, poorly developed, resource intensive and generally 'too big to fail'. Seems also that the LSE knows better than to hang on to the worst kind of crappy software and try to make it better.

          As for MS bashing, they're the big boy, so they always take the hit. If all software written for MS was great and worked perfectly, we'd worship them as gods. As it is, we continually see problems and give them no slack. If they were a small company trying hard to make a difference, we'd be more forgiving.

          • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday July 03, 2009 @01:24PM (#28573245)

            Actually who planned the entire system that way should get a headsmack, if you need dedicated response times you gotta go with a realtime system, no matter what. You cannot push an os which clearly is not realtime (by Microsofts definition it is soft realtime which means sometimes it reaches it) and on top a vm based system which is not even closely realtime in its garbage collection strategies and then expect to get something useful out of it!

            The poor sods ad accenture (I assume as well some outsourced engineers) now will get the smacking but they are probably the ones who said for the beginning this cannot work!

  • Not Windows' fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:39AM (#28570997)

    It's not Windows vs Linux.

    It's TradElect vs MarketPrizm, which happen to run on Windows vs Linux respectively.

    TradElect never managed its performance promises, which suggests lies from marketing and / or programmers unable to deliver what they were asked to. Despite what the Linux fanboys love to say, inferior software isn't Windows-only, and does exist on Linux too.

    This could easily have been the other way around, ditching Linux and a shit piece of trades software for Windows and a good bit of trades software. The OS is irrelevant here, except to fanboys of either side.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:45AM (#28571055)

      Exactly. We run 90% of our mission critical software at work on Windows and don't have problems...but have moved to Linux to run remote monitoring software. Should I make a post saying we're abandoning the horrible crappy Windows market for Linux? That would be just as incorrect of a statement.

    • by sys.stdout.write (1551563) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:46AM (#28571073)

      This could easily have been the other way around, ditching Linux and a shit piece of trades software for Windows and a good bit of trades software

      Yeah, but then it wouldn't have made Slashdot!

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:48AM (#28571091) Homepage

      I was about to say the same thing. TFA spends more time on rumour and innuendo than it does on facts, but it appears the competition is between applications - not operating systems.

    • by gbarules2999 (1440265) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:54AM (#28571145)

      inferior software isn't Windows-only

      Who is saying that?

      That idiot SJVN doesn't count.

    • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:56AM (#28571165) Homepage Journal

      It's not Windows vs Linux.

      You say it's not Windows' fault and I agree--it wasn't an OS problem (per se), but rather an application issue. In actuality, it's Microsoft's fault; the application was developed in joint by Accenture AND Microsoft. With the requirements not being met that it be a high-performance, real-time application and the fact that they were unable to deliver even with MS being involved made them lose faith in the company and their products (.NET, Windows Server, SQL server).

      I'd say that if MS wasn't involved in the development of the app that it's possible that they would scrap the app rather than the OS/framework, but if I was in that position, I'd do the same thing.

      It's possible that they also look at the chicago stock exchange and the NYSE and the fact that their apps are running on Linux and have decided to move to a proven, successful system.

      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:16AM (#28571341) Journal

        ; the application was developed in joint by Accenture AND Microsoft.

        "Accenture"? You mean Andersen Consulting? The people that you'd have to be a complete idiot to do business with after the Enron disaster?

        -jcr

        • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:28AM (#28571479) Homepage Journal

          "Accenture"? You mean Andersen Consulting? The people that you'd have to be a complete idiot to do business with after the Enron disaster?

          I'm can't say that I'm familiar with what involvement they had with Enron, but I've had a half-dozen friends who have worked at Accenture and from what I know of them, they do pretty good work usually.

          The key point is that MS was involved with development. Several people I've talked to about this article have said ".NET is NOT ready for enterprise applications of this scale with those requirements." If that's such a well-known fact, you'd have thought that MS would have thrown a red flag up and pressured to have a different tech used for the project.

          Maybe this was just a learning experiment for MS (like the first xbox and first couple zunes) and they could afford to lose such a high-profile customer. But that just proves that no matter how big you are, MS doesn't really care about you. Why make the best when good enough sells better?

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:45AM (#28571631)

            I worked for Accenture in one of the "delivery centres" in the Eastern Europe and it was total crap. They hired 1st and 2nd year students for peanuts, and sold them as professionals to rich foreign companies. The turnover of staff was about a third - after one learned something, it was best to get out of there as soon as possible. From the posts on the glassdoor i can infer that this is the strategy accenture employs worldwide.

            accenture just sucks.

            • by Flavio (12072) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:58PM (#28572995) Homepage

              I worked for Accenture in one of the "delivery centres" in the Eastern Europe and it was total crap. They hired 1st and 2nd year students for peanuts, and sold them as professionals to rich foreign companies. The turnover of staff was about a third - after one learned something, it was best to get out of there as soon as possible. From the posts on the glassdoor i can infer that this is the strategy accenture employs worldwide.

              I've heard the same story from friends who worked for Accenture in São Paulo, Brazil (Accenture's largest office in South America). My former bosses also worked for Accenture soon after graduating with engineering degrees.

              Accenture's usual technique is to hire students or recent graduates from technical fields, who are reasonably capable in programming and computer science but know absolutely nothing about the consulting problems at hand or the software platforms which they use. Accenture gives them a weekend's notice before allocating them in real world projects they were not trained to do. These employees are overworked, underpaid, deliver substandard services and most end up quitting after one or two years. The few who don't quit and aren't complete morons get promoted.

          • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:23PM (#28572615)

            I have to side with the "accenture is worse than incompetent" crowd.

            I know of one project they worked on for the University of Minnesota redoing their financial system that they fucked up completely. I've a friend who was in the periphery of the project (he knew some of the key developers) and saw it all coming. They hire monkeys to produce documentation, and produce complete garbage code. They actually had to fire some people because they discovered they were never at their desk, but produced code. It was discovered they contracted their own jobs out to someone in India to do.

            I also know someone who had to work with the "finished" product when it was first roled out, and it was a complete train wreck. (Think magic formulas and tea leaves to get what you need done). It's still largely a train wreck a year later, people have just gotten used to the train wreck.

        • Accenture split from Andersen years before the Enron scandal. So, in that regard, they're clean.
        • by SendBot (29932) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:34AM (#28572191) Homepage Journal

          TFA says accenture. Did they just change names like diddy or something?

      • by dintech (998802) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:52AM (#28571735)

        I've always believed that Microsoft don't really get mission critical software so I'm surprised they got the contract. My experience with their OSs suggests that time and time again they fail to get the basics right or that things just work superficially. They cover this up by submerging it in a slopping sea of unwanted bloaty features.

        What this implies is that they must have damned good sales executives to overcome the word on the street.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:03AM (#28571863)

        You say it's not Windows' fault and I agree--it wasn't an OS problem (per se), but rather an application issue. In actuality, it's Microsoft's fault; the application was developed in joint by Accenture AND Microsoft.

        Being currently an Accenture employee, i find it increidble that the application managed to work at all. Sometimes i wonder if they get tax cuts from hiring incompetent people.

        Sorry i have to post within the shroud of anonymity.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:16AM (#28571999)

        Not arguing your point. Just making a note that Accenture is a Microsoft backed consulting firm. Had a friend who used to work for them, but really worked for Microsoft. Just saying. So yah, it is a Microsoft problem, and is most likely due to just a poor programming team.

    • by Idaho (12907) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:59AM (#28571191)

      It's not Windows vs Linux.

      It's TradElect vs MarketPrizm, which happen to run on Windows vs Linux respectively.

      Then again, TradElect was written by Microsoft and Accenture [onwindows.com], so Microsoft where heavily involved in this project themselves - not just from the perspective of Windows only.

      In addition, they touted this in their "Get The Facts" anti-Linux campaign, so I'm sorry, but pointing out this failure and blaming it on Microsoft (though perhaps not the Windows OS as such) is fair game IMO.

      I mean, if a large and well-known consulting firm together with Microsoft themselves can't make a Windows-based framework perform, who can?

    • by ForexCoder (1208982) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:02AM (#28571225)
      It's not Windows vs Linux.

      No, it's Microsoft vs Linux.

      Microsoft had full control over the stack of tools they used (Windows Server 2003, C#/.NET, Sql Server 2000, I believe) and they invested a lot of resources, both technical and marketing, into making this system run. It was suppose to show that Microsoft software could handle this kind of system as well or better then *nix. And it was a failure.

      See Get the Facts [microsoft.com] for more details.
    • by Morphine007 (207082) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:08AM (#28571275)
      It's more than that, it's the OS that the software has to run on (since the OS handles the majority of the context switching and thread prioritization - which affect performance when you're shooting for something that approximates a real-time system), and it's the DB that the software ties into. The fanboism (both on the linux side and microsoft side) is annoying, I'll grant you that, but this DOES have something to do with the OS.
    • by parryFromIndia (687708) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:10AM (#28571309)
      Mod parent up. There is a refreshing amount of reality in the parent's post.

      The OS is irrelevant - every modern server OS performs well enough to support sanely written software and sanely designed infrastructure. Only the people living in the past and the ones having no clue will argue otherwise.

      That is not to say any OS is without its quirks and differences. Part of writing software for a platform is also to understand and work around the platform's limitations, quirks or "ways" - and this obviously applies to every platform. (You don't go over committing memory on Linux and expect it will work as long as malloc() doesn't return NULL - you can do that on Solaris. Similarly I am sure there are things you can do on Linux but not on Solaris etc.) Unfortunately many programmers only know the programming language and its libraries - not the platform or even general OS concepts or scalability for that matter.

      The suits are trigger happy - if some thing doesn't work for a time, they will just ask to get rid of it and use other product, redesign the whole thing or do something equally idiotic. I am sure the TradElect system can be fixed to run on Windows 2003 well enough - but the people who make decisions will not make an attempt to locate competent Architects and Programmers that can actually fix it.

      [ This reminds me of a situation where we were asked to throw away a complete system because it wasn't able to handle high volumes and caused downtime - as it turned out, adding network timeouts and retries to the right places along with horizontal scaling resolved the issue completely satisfactorily and we are still running the same system 3 years later]
      • by Tom (822) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:28AM (#28571475) Homepage Journal

        The OS is irrelevant - every modern server OS performs well enough to support sanely written software and sanely designed infrastructure. Only the people living in the past and the ones having no clue will argue otherwise.

        Or the ones who don't know what they're talking about, like you.

        This is one of the main stock exchanges in the world. Billions of dollars of trade rely on microsecond-precise handling. There are whole companies (and not small ones) that do stuff like inter-exchange trading which is the buzzword for "buy for $1,5678 in London, sell for $1,5679 in Tokyo before anyone else does and the prices equalize". These are companies that are willing to put down five to six digit sums per month if they can get an Internet connection with a few milliseconds less latency.

        For this environment, you don't need "sanely managed". Any delay whatsoever in the transactions is bad. Any time a transaction can not be handled properly due to delay, queues or any fucking other reason, one of your traders is unhappy. And you don't want unhappy traders when they are your business.

        • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@noSPam.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:47AM (#28571665) Homepage

          Yes i will second that, responsiveness is one of the most important aspects to traders...
          They have special keyboards tailored to their particular trading applications so you can enter trades quicker...
          They have dedicated lines between sites because a vpn going over the internet would be slower...
          They use unencrypted and often unauthenticated protocols to reduce the overhead.
          They intentionally use very short or no passwords so they are quicker to enter...
          Security, cost, all secondary factors to the need for low latency.

    • by rs232 (849320) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:33AM (#28572171)
      In the development, roll-out, and implementation processes [slashdot.org], Microsoft worked closely with the London Stock Exchange
  • Thanks. (Score:3, Funny)

    by bezking (1274298) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:39AM (#28571001)
    "Anyone who was ever fool enough to believe that Microsoft software was good enough to be used for a mission-critical operation"


    This just made my day. Now i can go back to bed.

    Thanks!
  • by Jerky McNaughty (1391) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:40AM (#28571007)

    I'm in the industry, so I have a little more background on this. They spent about 40M GBP building the system, and it's only been used for two years. It was (entirely?) outsourced to Accenture. Other reasons why the system sucks: It can only handle about 10,000 orders/second, and has latency numbers that are incredibly high (5 milliseconds+).

    Looking at other exchanges, there are trading platforms that have been able to last 10+ years while scaling quite well.

    TradElect was/is a project management and technical disaster.

    • by number6x (626555) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:56AM (#28571163)

      It was not entirely outsourced to Accenture. It was a joint Acenture Microsoft project. Microsoft was involved at all levels of development, testing, deployment, and support.

      As one poster to the SJVN article (Bernard) points out, both Microsoft and LSE confirm Microsoft's complete involvement in the project:

      "(I found the study http://switch.atdmt.com/action/FY07_Linux_LSE_Download [atdmt.com] on MS's own site.) http://www.microsoft.com/uk/getthefacts/lse.mspx [microsoft.com]

      to wit; page 4:

      "In the development, roll-out, and implementation processes, Microsoft worked closely with the London Stock Exchange to ensure not only that they understood their immediate requirements, but that the solution fitted their long-term business plans as specified in the TRM project."

      "Robin Paine, Chief Technical Officer at the Exchange, says: âoeThe London Stock Exchange was looking for a responsive partner to engage across all phases of the Technology Roadmap programme. The collaborative approach Microsoft offered made it an ideal choice."

      Any more questions on whether Microsoft was "really" involved?

      There never was any doubt -- Microsoft was deeply and intimately involved, and bragged about it as loudly as they could. In fact, it was Microsoft which presented this an issue of Windows and Microsoft "technology" capabilities as compared to Linux -- Ironic, isn't it?"

      Given Microsoft's history of FUD, their habitual use of paid commentors, or even dead people writing letters, I think we should all sit back and enjoy the spin the paid apologists will have to go through to tell everyone how it wasn't MS's fault.

      I bet that link on Microsoft's own site telling hoe closely involved they were in the project won't last through the Holiday weekend! Any takers?

      • by LordEd (840443) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:27AM (#28571467)

        Given Microsoft's history of FUD, their habitual use of paid commentors, or even dead people writing letters, I think we should all sit back and enjoy the spin the paid apologists will have to go through to tell everyone how it wasn't MS's fault.

        As an unpaid dead person writing a letter, let me the first to say BRAAAIIINNSSS....

    • by IBBoard (1128019) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:00AM (#28571199) Homepage

      They spent about 40M GBP building the system, and it's only been used for two years. It was (entirely?) outsourced to Accenture.

      We've got a contract with Accenture at work. Apparently they manage our computer systems. Having seen some of the prices they charge for things like "putting a usable amount of memory in a laptop" I'm assuming that breaks down somewhere in the region of £38M for Accenture fees and £2M for the actual application!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:12AM (#28571315)

      "Looking at other exchanges, there are trading platforms that have been able to last 10+ years while scaling quite well." - by Jerky McNaughty (1391) on Friday July 03, @09:40AM (#28571007)

      NASDAQ is an example of this, & yes: NASDAQ has maintained the "fabled '5-9's" of 99.999% uptime on Windows Server 2003 + SQLServer 2005 (in failover clusters) since late 2005, acting as the official dissemination system of official trade data:

      ----

      NASDAQ Migrates to SQL Server 2005:

      http://windowsfs.com/enews/nasdaq-migrates-to-sql-server-2005 [windowsfs.com]

      &/or

      NASDAQ Uses SQL Server 2005 - Reducing Costs through Better Data Management:

      http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2007/09/17/sqlauthority-news-nasdaq-uses-sql-server-2005-reducing-costs-through-better-data-management/ [sqlauthority.com]

      "NASDAQ, the worlds first electronic stock market replaced its aging mainframe computers with Microsoft® SQL Server 2005 on two 4-node clusters to support its Market Data Dissemination System (MDDS). Every trade processed in the NASDAQ marketplace goes through the system with Microsoft® SQL Server 2005 handling some 5,000 transactions per second at market open. The system also responds to about 10,000 queries a day and is able to handle real-time queries against data without slowing the database down."

      +

      Case Studies - Financial Services:

      http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2005/en/us/cs-financial-roi.aspx?pf=true [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com]

      "NASDAQ Deploys SQL Server 2005 to Support Real-Time Trade Booking and Queries

      NASDAQ, which became the worlds first electronic stock market in 1971, and remains the largest U.S. electronic stock market, is constantly looking for more-efficient ways to serve its members. As the organization prepared to retire its aging large mainframe computers, it deployed Microsoft® SQL Server 2005 on two 4-node clusters to support its Market Data Dissemination System (MDDS). Every trade that is processed in the NASDAQ marketplace goes through the MDDS system, with SQL Server 2005 handling some 5,000 transactions per second at market open. SQL Server 2005 simultaneously handles about 100,000 queries a day, using SQL Server 2005 Snapshot Isolation to support real-time queries against the data without slowing the database. NASDAQ is enjoying a lower total cost of ownership compared to the large mainframe computer system that the SQL Server 2005 deployment has replaced."

      ----

      NOW - the actual PROOF of that "stability/uptime":

      http://www.nasdaqtrader.com/Trader.aspx?id=MarketShare [nasdaqtrader.com]

      "NASDAQ is renowned for its high performance technology and has proven reliability with 99.999+% uptime. Whats more, firms count on NASDAQ for unsurpassed speed and tested capacity to execute trades quickly and efficiently."

      ----

      AND, "There ya are"... Evidence of the possible stability, security, & speed on Windows, in a high tpm environs, keeping stable & running F A S T 24x7 for 1/2 a decade++ going strong, acting as the official trade data dissemination system for NASDAQ!

      APK

      P.S.=? Personally, & especially based on the evidences here (the thread topic itself, & the NASDAQ data I just provided here)? Well - I think a great deal of stability & uptime has to do a LOT with the skills of those architecting a system, first, AND later those that have the task of maintaining it also (this means the network engineering staff AND coding teams around said projects), as well as their personal work-ethics - not so much on the Opera

      • by gazbo (517111) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:21AM (#28571401)
        Mere facts backed up by references are nothing compared to what you want to believe - silence him!
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:40PM (#28572825)

        Clever marketing, but irrelevant. As you note - in passing - this is for the information dissemination system, not for the trading system. It's there so people can do non-real-time-critical look-up of past trades. NASDAQ wouldn't trust their trading system to Windows.

        Every trade processed in the NASDAQ marketplace goes through the system

        Yes, it goes through the Windows stack after it has been processed by the trading system. Which used to run on a POSIX system on MIPS Tandem hardware [cnet.com] the year after your MDDS system was installed. I can't find anymore recent info even on the NASDAQ site [nasdaqtrader.com].

    • by rs232 (849320) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:29AM (#28572119)
      "It was (entirely?) outsourced to Accenture .. TradElect was/is a project management and technical disaster", Jerky McNaughty

      "A prototype .. was first developed with Microsoft and Accenture [microsoft.com] "

      "There was quite a high degree of risk involved on both sides [avanade.com]. But Accenture, Microsoft and Avanade were very keen to make sure this would work. They pulled out all the stops"
  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:40AM (#28571009)

    Did the project. They needed a dedicated response time in the 1/100th second range and used a combination of Windows, SQL Server and .Net!
    The project was doomed from day 0!
    The article is at fault here, Windows alone is not at fault it is the entire stack beginning from the OS up to the implementation language which is at fault!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:41AM (#28571013)

    NYSE and OMX both run Linux based systems. I trade on OMX Stockholm and there is a lot of hickups. I've heard a lot of bad things about NYSE too.

    • by IANAAC (692242) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:02AM (#28571233)
      I contracted with the Chicago-based branch of the NYSE a couple years back and I can confirm the bad Linux setups.

      Even the over night batch processing was horrible. Scripts and programs had to be manually started by an operator, then a checkoff sheet had to be signed by the operator. If something happened during execution (fairly common), it had to be restarted by hand, after backing out the failed step. No scheduling package whatsoever. Incredibly manual and error prone.

      • blame Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rs232 (849320) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:19AM (#28572027)
        "NYSE and OMX both run Linux based systems. I trade on OMX Stockholm and there is a lot of hickups. I've heard a lot of bad things about NYSE too", anonymous coward

        "I contracted with the Chicago-based branch of the NYSE a couple years back and I can confirm the bad Linux setups", IANAAC

        Do either of you, have any verifiable third party sources for these statements? When was the last time the Stockholm or NYSE stopped trading because of a Linux "outage?
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:47AM (#28571077) Homepage
    They're abandoning TradElect and the platform it happened to be on. The OS is really a background to all of this. The primary cause of the switch has more to do with TradElect sucking than anything else. Having worked on the tech side of the finance industry, I am not at all surprised. They have some of the worst programmers in the world. Standard software methodology is rarely embraced. Unit tests? Code review? What's that? At the hedge fund where I worked, basically any time a developer left someone either had to pick up the pieces of crap he wrote or start over. Almost everyone choose the latter. I remember one morning one of the applications stopped working and we realized it's because we retired an old DB server and moved it to a new host. I asked the developer to just point it to the new host. They couldn't because the dumbasses had hard coded the hostname! They couldn't change it without a recompile! This was at one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, at the time at least. The problem was that none of the partners knew anything about software development so they didn't know if the CTO they hired was any good. They went by stupid things like names of the school he was from and names of his previous employers. His previous employers probably did the same. Software development in finance is a giant circle jerk.
    • by peppepz (1311345) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:09AM (#28571283)
      I don’t know if Accenture sucks, but Microsoft itself was involved in first person in the development of the project (they were proud to announce this [microsoft.com] until now).
      The fact that not even Microsoft’s involvement was able to make the system meet its requirements looks *very* indicative to me.
    • Upper management are usually extremely non technical, which brings up a lot of problems...

      As you pointed out, they are no good at identifying if someone else is technically competent...
      Aside from that, they are more likely to trust marketing literature and advice from people they play golf with (who are likely to have vested interests)...

    • by rs232 (849320) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:07AM (#28571897)
      "They're abandoning TradElect and the platform it happened to be on. The OS is really a background to all of this. The primary cause of the switch has more to do with TradElect sucking than anything else

      What exactly were the problems with TradElect and not caused by the underlying platform. According to this an 'external test environment' was in place, at least since Jan 2009.

      "Availability of the external test environment [londonstockexchange.com] (Customer Development Service or CDS) for TradElect and Infolect: early January 2009"

      "Using the Microsoft® .NET Framework in Windows Server® 2003 and the Microsoft SQL Server(TM) 2000 database, the new Infolect® system .. with support from Microsoft and Accenture [microsoft.com], shows the London Stock Exchange's leadership in developing next-generation trading systems"
  • by ihavenospine (541249) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:52AM (#28571113)
    ...is just the WRONG platform for this. Stock Exchange, like many transaction based business, needs real time systems and Windows 2003 plus SQL as far I know don't make a RT platform.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:05AM (#28571255)

      IF the article had said "We looked into this system in some detail, albeit after we'd bought it, and discovered that anything based on Windows was fundamentally incapable of meeting our needs. So we've decided to move", then I would take it more seriously.

      As it is, it sounds like a political move from a new managing director who's trying to make themselves out to be as different as possible from the previous one - and one of the ways they're doing that is to ditch the computer system. The fact that the old system runs Windows and the obvious alternative runs Linux is neither here nor there.

      Face facts, it's just as possible to produce a lousy system based on Linux as it is on Windows.

      • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Friday July 03, 2009 @05:10PM (#28575141) Homepage

        The reason this is significant is that Microsoft were heavily involved in the development of this system and are still saying how wonderful it is that the LSE runs on their amazing software. The fact of the matter is that it's been a total disaster both for the LSE and for Microsoft's PR machine. Whether it's a political powerplay as well remains to be seen, but the simple fact is that the software sucked and not even Microsoft could make it work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:58AM (#28571175)

    Yeah I read those too ;) So windows issue or not, it is a Microsoft problem :

    to wit; page 4:

    "In the development, roll-out, and implementation processes, Microsoft worked closely with the London Stock Exchange to ensure not only that they understood their immediate requirements, but that the solution fitted their long-term business plans as specified in the TRM project."

    and

    "Robin Paine, Chief Technical Officer at the Exchange, says: âoeThe London Stock Exchange was looking for a responsive partner to engage across all phases of the Technology Roadmap programme. The collaborative approach Microsoft offered made it an ideal choice."

    Any more questions on whether Microsoft was "really" involved? Then go do your own research -- there never was any doubt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:11AM (#28571313)
    I worked on trading systems at the CBOE for a couple of years and one thing I can say for sure is that the only Microsoft systems there are the front-ends for the traders who insist on Windows. All the back-ends, where the real activity takes place, everything is Linux. So, only the trader GUIs are Windows, and everything else is Linux running on x86 blades - racks and racks of them. We never got a virus or trojan on the trading systems, but we were scrubbing viruses and other malware off the traders' front-ends all the time. Anyway, when I read about the LSE going with a Microsoft solution for their trading infrastructure, I could only shake my head and say "Remember Denver International Airport!"...
  • by tom1974 (413939) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:17AM (#28571359)

    From Microsoft's case study http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=200042 [microsoft.com]

    In the development, roll-out, and implementation processes, Microsoft worked closely with the London Stock Exchange to ensure not only that they understood their immediate requirements, but that the solution fitted their long-term business plans as specified in the TRM project.

    Microsoft was equally involved in this project no matter how you try to spin it.

  • by KraftDinner (1273626) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:19AM (#28571379)
    I never understood why Microsoft made a specific server for stock exchanges anyways. It sure does e-mail great though.
  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:23AM (#28571431)
    Do projects of a similar scope on Windows/SQL Server succeed while others fail? I contend that the answer is yes. Here's the secret....the programmers and customers assigned to work on the custom development project and their skills, ability, intelligence and maturity will determine the success of the project. This isn't a platform failure. It's a people failure.
  • by wild_quinine (998562) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:31AM (#28571509) Homepage
    In other news, the London Stock Exchange will shortly be abandoning the pound, as well.
  • DOS?
    CP/M?
    VMS?
    OS/400?
  • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday July 03, 2009 @10:56AM (#28571785) Journal
    Welcome our smug, bearded, Unix liking overloads.
  • Mulitple Problems (Score:5, Insightful)

    by awol (98751) on Friday July 03, 2009 @11:59AM (#28572415) Journal

    I was involved in discussions (and more) with the LSE before (during but not so much) and after they decided to select Microsoft / Accenture / India / Outsourcing as the path for their solution and I know some of the key decision makers. Under the Microsoft umbrella, they were significantly influenced by the resources Microsoft was willing to commit to making the project work despite the newness of .NET as an ifrastructure.

    It is important to remember where the LSE was before the TradeElect project, they had completely outsourced their platform to Accenture, the amount they spent per annum on keeping that platform up and running were phenomenal, an order of magnitude more than some of our clients were spending and they (our clients) were running much higher performance systems. TradeElect was designed to decrease these costs without compromising the "I don't lose sleep at night worryin about the systems" position of senior managers. I firmly believed it was a mistake to believe that .NET at the heart of the platform would meet the requirements of an exchange trading platform.

    I have no real issue with Windows as the OS under the platform, really for a trading system the OS is providing a TCP stack and some IPC and thats about it. Everything else and the vast majority of the bottlenecks are in your application stack, whether it be tools or application code you are writing for your specific problem domain. Although one might argue that the Microsoft IPC tools can be argued as "weak/complicated".

    It will be interesting to see which people the LSE use to provide the analysis of which way to jump with this decision. Too many very senior folk were involved all the way through the TradeElect project for heads to roll, but it will be interesting to watch who says what when the final decision of what to do is announced.

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