The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

Summary: The LSE is far from the only one stock exchange to switch to Linux. More and more stock exchanges are realizing that when you really need speed, security, and stability, Linux is the operating system you need.

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September 8th 2008 was one of the worst days ever for the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and high-end Windows server-based applications. That was the day that the LSE came to a crashing stop. What happened? While the LSE has never come clean on the whole story, my sources told me that the LSE's Windows-based .NET TradElec stock exchange had crashed. What we do know is that the CEO who had brought Windows and TradElec in was fired, TradElec was dumped, and a Novell SUSE Linux-based platform was brought in to replace it.

Today, February 14th, the LSE's Linux-based Millennium Exchange took over and everything just worked. It did take longer to switch to Linux than expected, because of what the LSW first called "sabotage" but later put down to "human error" in late 2010. On its first day, out LSE ran like a charm.

It's not the only stock exchange that's found that Linux worked better. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa is moving to Millennium Exchange. The LSE's parent company is in the process of acquiring the Toronto stock exchange so it will soon be using Linux as well.

Novell's not the only Linux company doing well by the stock exchanges. The Qatar Exchange, a major Persian Gulf Exchange, recently migrated from AIX and Windows to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). These exchanges were only following in the footsteps many other stock and commodity exchanges that had moved to Linux.

A short, incomplete list of Linux-powered stock exchanges includes: The New York Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Borse Group's family of Linux-based Xetra stock exchange platform exchanges. Xetra powers the International Securities Exchange, and the Eurex. The Xetra stack is also used by the Irish Stock Exchange, the European Energy Exchange, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange among others.

So why is the biggest of big business switching to Linux from Windows and Unix? It's the three "Ss": speed, security, and stability.

Day trading is so 20th century. Today's sharp traders make their cash by running programs that trade milliseconds ahead of the other guy in High Frequency Trading. To do that you need really fast stock exchanges, which is where Linux comes in.

As a Deutsche Borse representative told me these days, "Speed, or 'low-latency,' is everything for exchanges. A fraction of a second can mean mega gains or losses to investors. Transactions that once took minutes and seconds to complete are now processed in thousandths and millionths of a second, with the fastest trading engines reaping the biggest benefits."

They also have to be secure. When you're looking at a million plus transactions per second, which is what both the LSE and Deutsche Borse claims their platforms can do, you don't want anyone messing with the till for even a micro-second.

In addition, these systems have to be stable. The LSE failure cost millions of pounds. Traders, who'd expected a good day, were infuriated. Any system can, and will, fail, but Linux is simply far more stable on servers than its competitors.

So it was that September 8th 2008 was a black letter day for both the LSE and Windows. But, as it turned out, it would be a red letter day for Linux as Windows' very public failure impelled the LSE, and other exchanges, to finally move to Linux.

Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Software

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93 comments
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  • Yeah whatever...

    They have been fast for 10 years and one team screwing it up doesn't endorse any particular product...

    sure it is great for Novell but I personally have hated the SuSE Variant since they bought it. Red Hat is just over charging for their products and personally I like Ubuntu and CentOS.
    slickjim
    • you must understand that Mr. Vaughan-Nichols

      is under pressure to produce these types of statement, whenther he believes them or not, or suffer the same fate as the previous bloggers to this section of ZDNet.
      Tim Cook
      • same feeling

        @Mister Spock
        His previous bashing ms article didn't go well.
        The only part of technical analysis of crash is: first called ?sabotage? but later put down to ?human error? .

        Hello, at least the first reported computer crash is a real bug.
        FADS_z
      • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

        @Mister Spock Actually, most mission critical systems run Unix or Linux. For example, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Phoenix and other landers use autonomous software to operate, due to the great distance and 1/2 hour signal delay. Guess what? They use Linux OS for their reliability... imagine if they ran on Windows (ha-ha).. no one there to reboot.
        prof123
      • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

        @prof123

        Actually the mission critical OS is not Linux either. NASA runs VXWorks on the Mars lander and orbiter.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover
        http://vip.cs.utsa.edu/classes/cs5523s2001/laboratories/MarsFinder.html
        osreinstall
      • Agreed. Everyone is entiltled to their opinions.

        @Mister Spock
        but then SJVN's posts just read too over the top to be believed half the time.

        Next he'll attribute the uprising in Egypt to open source, claiming it could never have happened if everyone used Windows. ;)
        John Zern
      • prof123, they had to "reboot" the rovers

        and other spacecraft over time. (ha-ha)

        Guess they should have used Windows. ;)
        John Zern
      • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

        @Mister Spock Nope, I call them like I see them. Usually, when it comes to Windows that means I bash them. When MS gets something right though, like say Windows Server 2008 R2, I'll say that as well.

        Steven
        sjvn
      • The problem is you see things through a biased set of eyes.

        @sjvn@...: [i]Nope, I call them like I see them. Usually, when it comes to Windows that means I bash them. When MS gets something right though, like say Windows Server 2008 R2, I'll say that as well.[/i]

        Either that or you're really incompetent about technology.
        ye
      • Poor ye

        [i]Either that or you're really incompetent about technology.[/i]

        This just isn't your day, now is it.

        lol...
        LTV10
      • What leads you to that erroneous conclusion?

        @LTV10: [i]This just isn't your day, now is it.[/i]

        Seems like I've found myself a little dog that follows me around trying to nip at my heels.
        ye
      • Don't flatter yourself

        @ye
        You're getting about as ubiquitous as Loverock M$ Davidson.

        more lol...
        LTV10
      • Yip, yip, yip, yip.

        @LTV10: [i]You're getting about as ubiquitous as Loverock M$ Davidson.[/i]
        ye
      • Poor, poor @ye

        No Milk Bone for ye today

        even more lol...
        LTV10
      • Yip, yip, yip, yip.

        @LTV10: [i]No Milk Bone for ye today

        even more lol...[/i]

        Yip, yip, yip, yip.
        ye
      • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

        @prof123
        Not sure the NASA Mars Pathfinder and Linux is accurate.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

        @FADS_z human error is what can be found on each code line of ms-windows sources
        nitrofurano
      • Ye the sheep...

        ...now pretends to be a dog.

        Bark, ye, bark!

        LOL... :D
        search & destroy
      • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

        @Mister Spock Actually, most mission critical systems and super computers use Linux or Unix. Nobody is foolish enough to use Windows on a spacecraft... The latest achievement in AI is Watson by IBM, which entered the Jeopardy game and can understand human speech... It runs AIX (IBM port of Unix)...
        prof123
    • RE: The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

      @Peter Perry - why the hell is this "news"? This was a story from 2 1/2 years ago.

      What's more, the author chooses to ignore the fact that the reason the .NET exchange crashed is that the team who built it were inept. After all, they also screwed up the launch of the Linux-based replacement exchange:

      http://www.linuxtoday.com/high_performance/2010110302135NWHESV

      "The trading platform ? named Turquoise ? has been running on a new Linux-based system for the past two weeks. It was rendered inaccessible to market members for two hours on Tuesday, between 8:23am and 10:30am, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) said in a statement.

      <a href="http://www.linuxtoday.com/high_performance/2010110202535NWBZ">London Stock Exchange halts Linux migration after network hit in ?suspicious circumstances?</a>

      It doesn't matter what technology you use if the team who uses it is incapable.
      bitcrazed