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London Stock Exchange Rejects .NET For Open Source

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the next-stop-world-domination dept.

GNU is Not Unix 498

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "This summer, the London Stock Exchange decided to move away from its Microsoft .Net-based trading platform, TradElect. Instead, they'll be using the GNU/Linux-based MillenniumIT system. The switch is a pretty savage indictment of the costs of a complex .Net system. The GNU/Linux-based software is also faster, and offers several other major benefits. The details provide some fascinating insights into the world of very high performance — and very expensive — enterprise systems. ... [R]ather than being just any old deal that Microsoft happened to lose, this really is something of a total rout, and in an extremely demanding and high-profile sector. Enterprise wins for GNU/Linux don't come much better than this."

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498 comments

Awesome. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662369)

Now how about my desktop?

Re:Awesome. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662415)

Now how about my desktop?

Buy a Mac.

Re:Awesome. (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662419)

Now how about my desktop?

Might I suggest teak? I suppose you could go with faux finished MDF if you are on a budget, but teak is beautiful and will last forever. Then if you have any money left over, nothing says "I have arrived" like a porcelain fountain.

Re:Awesome. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662455)

Now how about my desktop?

Might I suggest teak? I suppose you could go with faux finished MDF if you are on a budget, but teak is beautiful and will last forever. Then if you have any money left over, nothing says "I have arrived" like a porcelain fountain.

But if he wants to put his computer on or near his desktop, I'd skip the fountain.

Re:Awesome. (0, Offtopic)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662643)

Sure, skip the fountain, head down to Mike's Marbleopolis, and pick up a marble column. You could buy this one. Or that one. Or this one. (It's from a recurring series of SNL skits starring Scarlett Johansson.)

Re:Awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29663101)

But where will the stock exchange go now for their daily dose of evil?

De Icaza Responds (4, Funny)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662397)

De Icaza Responds [slashdot.org] :

Nooo, wait, come back. I found a way for people ditching Windows to keep using Microsoft technologies..

Re:De Icaza Responds (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662469)

Actually from what I have seen .net is a good development environment. Mono has produced some very nice software for the Linux desktop that lots of people use. What I didn't get from this story was just what they where using for the development system?
I doubt that it is all in c or c++ so maybe they are using mono.

Mod parent ^ please. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662683)

...and you are sooo gonna burn in hell for that one (and, err, so will I for laughing my ass off at it).

Good show!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662411)

1 for the good guys.

How fast (4, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662417)

did Microsoft take down their triumphant "case report" on the original design-in?

Still there (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662625)

Hehe:) For those that are interested, they still have a InfoElect case study [microsoft.com] from 2006 posted on their site, which I believe was the the precursor to TradElect.

Re:Still there (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662689)

Heh.. I *love* this:

Benefits

One hundred per cent reliable on high-volume trading days

Umm, yeah [guardian.co.uk] .. for various definitions of the value "one hundred", right?

Re:Still there (2, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662815)

Microsoft prefers the computer percent: 1/128

Re:Still there (5, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662931)

Actually, in retrospect, I supposed they *are* being truthful there..

It says 100% reliable on high-volume trading days... so any day where it doesn't work won't be a high-volume day (because it doesn't work, there won't *be* any volume)

In other words, this is marketspeak for the redundant phrase "when it doesn't work, you won't be able to use it".

More important than funny (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662771)

"Enterprise wins for GNU/Linux don't come much better than this." Enterprise wins like this are happening all the time for Linux and other free software options. What makes this unique is MS touted LSE running their system as a huge win for their solution. The fact it gets ripped out a year latter for Linux is marketing gold if free software needed to market.

Re:How fast (2, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662775)

did Microsoft take down their triumphant "case report" on the original design-in?

While I'm not sure if .NET / Windows is the appropriate platform for a stock exchange, I find it humorous how quickly so many want to bask in the glow of this, using it as proof of something, when I'm fairly certain that it was discarded as proof of nothing when the LSE first went the .NET route. Now we have some completely and utterly unproven vapourware, supported by some fictitious numbers, and people are using it conclusively, when really it should be more along the lines of "yeah...we'll see...".

The LSE sounds like it has very incompetent technical leadership, and this sounds very pie-in-the-sky-ish. So now in return for selecting this Sri Lankan company, they get 100% ownership (???) of some speculative wish. Great. .NET is a fantastic development environment, and it is fantastic for virtually any size websites. Probably not so great for real-time trading, though throw enough specialization at it and you can get whatever you want out of it.

Re:How fast (4, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662895)

As one other note, while OSS fanatics (I'm quite keen about OSS, but not quite a fanatic) go apeshit about this - This was more "switched from Accenture to running it `in house' in the form of a large team of low-paid talent in Sri Lanka" way more than it was "abandoned .NET for Linux! Rah rah rah!". The fact that people are hilariously so focused on the latter while missing the former speaks to how incredibly myopic people can be.

Re:How fast (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662975)

The LSE sounds like it has very incompetent technical leadership, and this sounds very pie-in-the-sky-ish. So now in return for selecting this Sri Lankan company, they get 100% ownership (???) of some speculative wish. Great. .NET is a fantastic development environment, and it is fantastic for virtually any size websites. Probably not so great for real-time trading, though throw enough specialization at it and you can get whatever you want out of it.

Wait, Microsoft + Accenture built a piss-poor platform. As you may recall, Accenture is a giant in the consulting business. Their combined efforts failed miserably.

Linux is the OS of most large trading systems. This has been covered on slashdot before.

MilleniumIT has a proven product in deployment in several exchanges. Their product is not pie-in-the-sky. It works. They've had several big wins in the past decade. They've been collaborating with Intel on optimizing their platform. Their transaction processing times are an order of magnitude better than LSE's current system.

So, I'm not sure what your angle is... are you trolling? Astroturfing? Or just spouting knee-jerk reactionism without any kind of basis in reality? A quick googling might have helped you out a bit.

Re:How fast (0)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663081)

Wait, Microsoft + Accenture built a piss-poor platform. As you may recall, Accenture is a giant in the consulting business. Their combined efforts failed miserably.

Accenture and the other big consulting companies have a horrendous track record [yafla.com] for building failed projects at a very high cost. The moment someone says "let's hire Accenture to build this" is the moment the costs go up dramatically.

MilleniumIT has a proven product in deployment in several exchanges. Their product is not pie-in-the-sky. It works. They've had several big wins in the past decade. They've been collaborating with Intel on optimizing their platform. Their transaction processing times are an order of magnitude better than LSE's current system.

LSE isn't going to run setup.exe (sorry ./setup.so), they're going to have to do some large-scale integration work and customization to make it work with their system, and the "pie in the sky" element is that one of the reasons they decided to acquire this company is because now they have stars in their eyes about the great things they are going to do.

And as far as the trading time, again: Wait until its integrated. Lets revisit this in 6 months.

So, I'm not sure what your angle is... are you trolling? Astroturfing? Or just spouting knee-jerk reactionism without any kind of basis in reality?

Gosh, you got it all covered there. I guess you provided a savage indictment of my post. Or maybe I'm actually a realist, and see a lot of people doing a hilarious happy dance far too prematurely. That's what she said!

Schadenfreude (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663033)

While I'm not sure if .NET / Windows is the appropriate platform for a stock exchange, I find it humorous how quickly so many want to bask in the glow of this, using it as proof of something, when I'm fairly certain that it was discarded as proof of nothing when the LSE first went the .NET route. Now we have some completely and utterly unproven vapourware, supported by some fictitious numbers, and people are using it conclusively, when really it should be more along the lines of "yeah...we'll see...".

It's not necessary to be cheering for any replacement to take guilty pleasure in watching Microsoft step on their highly-advertised crank here.

It's just a VM (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662453)

.Net is just a specification and a bunch of languages. There is an open source implementation of .Net itself and certainly many open source projects written in C#. "Rejects windows for open source" would have been a more appropriate headline. I hope they still use some kind of language with bounds checking and type safety, given the dangers of buffer overrun exploits in a national stock trading system.

Re:It's just a VM (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662655)

If you're trying to shave run time on complex functions down to sub millisecond times, I would expect that bounds checking, type safety, and thread safety are low on your concerns. One would hope that they validate all input and ranges before the data gets to the critical calculation portion, but I would not be surprised at all if they dropped all modern safety features in favor of every bit of performance available.

It should also come as absolutely no surprise that a C++ pointer based linked list running native locally on the OS performs faster than a .Net Generics List running as CLR in the .Net run-time environment.

-Rick

Re:It's just a VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662709)

If you're trying to shave run time on complex functions down to sub millisecond times, I would expect that bounds checking, type safety, and thread safety are low on your concerns.

-Rick

Pretty much.

I can just see the engineering team walk into the board meeting:

EGR> Well, the Microsoft system gives us six nines up uptime without failure.

MGMT> What about the Linux system?

EGR> The Linux system gives us six nines as well, and is X percent cheaper and X percent faster.

MGMT> Well, being a layman, the choice is crystal clear.

Re:It's just a VM (2, Informative)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662823)

It should also come as absolutely no surprise that a C++ pointer based linked list running native locally on the OS performs faster than a .Net Generics List running as CLR in the .Net run-time environment.

This is incorrect, just like the rest of your message. A list in a high-level language is almost always faster than a linked list in C++, because it is array-backed. The whole list is in one contiguous block of memory and iterating it means incrementing a pointer sizeof(int) bytes each iteration. Iterating a linked list on the other hand, means jumping around in memory following pointers for each iteration. Which is much slower and induces an enormous cache penalty.

This is basic stuff and just shows how futile using low-level languages is when people don't even understand why linked lists are slower than array lists...

Touche! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663049)

Good call. I haven't worked in C in almost a decade now and reversed the concepts in my mind.

I would still expect that interactions with an array stored in a block of memory being directly accessed in C++ with out bounds checking would execute faster than interacting with a generic list in .Net.

A generic list, even if it is array based, is going to be on the stack an array of pointers to other points of the stack and the heap.

Sorry about the confusion, my bust.

-Rick

Re:It's just a VM (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662829)

I agree. I suspect this may very well been an issue of scalability. We're talking about a system that has to manage a helluva lot of transactions in very short time frames. This is an area I would not a million years ever think to throw Windows into, particularly on top of intermediate layers like .Net.

I'm not so sure this is an indictment of Microsoft so much as an indictment of their management and IT team.

Re:It's just a VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662909)

Seconded.

I used to work for Reuters as SAN operations, including support of their realtime trading application, and trust me when I say that when you're pushing tens of thousands of trades a second, with a slice of the cash for each, every last millisecond is worth a lot of money to you. If your transactions take even half a millisecond longer each, you'll notice the difference to your bottom line.

Re:It's just a VM (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662925)

It should also come as absolutely no surprise that a C++ pointer based linked list running native locally on the OS performs faster than a .Net Generics List running as CLR in the .Net run-time environment.

I would be quite surprised actually. In C++, whenever you write to a pointer, compiler has to discard a lot of variables cached in registers because you could have been pointing to one of them for all it knows. Besides, a JIT compiler can take into account:

1. Your exact processor model and instruction set, for example i386 vs x86-64 or SSE1/2/3.
2. Weather or not your lists tend to be empty, one node or multiple nodes on average, to make the corresponding branch of "if (p->next) != null ..." faster
3. Possibility of inlining your calls to system and 3rd party libraries for which the exact code may not be available until runtime.

Re:It's just a VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662999)

I would not be surprised at all if they dropped all modern safety features in favor of every bit of performance available

Surprised? No. Disappointed? Yes. Buy a faster computer. This problem is solvable by throwing money at it, not by writing code that contains weird bugs.

Re:It's just a VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662901)

"London Stock Exchange Rejects Slow Application For Faster More Feature Rich Alternative" would be a correct headline. But that wouldn't satisfy the slashdot crowd.

Unix has dominated this sector for years... (4, Informative)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662477)

Why is this news? Sun/Solaris dominated the high-end financial sector for ages...any exchange/trading house/equity firm/etc that is using Windows is insane IMHO. Linux is just the most recent unix platform to show up in the sector, it's not revolutionary...

Re:Unix has dominated this sector for years... (5, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662719)

...it's news because Microsoft bragged on .NET being in the LSE for a couple of years, pointing to it as proof that they were enterprise-ready and such.

Then at about this time last year, the TradElect system (which was the .NET bits which ran the LSE) went 'splat', taking the London Stock Exchange down with it.

The relevant info should be sitting right there in TFA.

Re:Unix has dominated this sector for years... (2, Interesting)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662745)

Why is this news? Sun/Solaris dominated the high-end financial sector for ages...any exchange/trading house/equity firm/etc that is using Windows is insane IMHO. Linux is just the most recent unix platform to show up in the sector, it's not revolutionary...

Were there any open source solutions being used in there before?

Re:Unix has dominated this sector for years... (5, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662749)

any exchange/trading house/equity firm/etc that is using Windows is insane IMHO

You mean like an exchange that was the cornerstone of MS's advertisements for 2 years? About how .NET was so scalable, it was used in the exchange, and SQL Server was so wonderful, it was used in the exchange...

Well, it was the cornerstone of advertising until the exchange had a few day long technical outtage a year or so ago.. That left people in the dark, and they had to suspend all trading for a few days.. suddenly, the ads stopped.

Re:Unix has dominated this sector for years... (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662849)

Why is this news? Sun/Solaris dominated the high-end financial sector for ages...any exchange/trading house/equity firm/etc that is using Windows is insane IMHO.

Its news because, in fact -- whether or not it was "insane" to do so -- the London Stock Exchange was relying on Windows, .NET, and other Microsoft products: "As part of its strategy to win more trading business and new customers, the London Stock Exchange needed a scalable, reliable, high-performance stock exchange ticker plant to replace its earlier system. Roughly 40 per cent of the Exchange's revenues are generated by the sale of real-time information about stock prices. Using the Microsoft® .NET Framework in Windows Server® 2003 and the Microsoft SQL Server(TM) 2000 database, the new Infolect® system has been built to achieve unprecedented levels of performance, availability, and business agility. Launched in September 2005, it is maintaining the London Stock Exchange's world-leading service reliability record while reducing latency by a factor of 15. Its successful implementation, with support from Microsoft and Accenture, shows the London Stock Exchange's leadership in developing next-generation trading systems." (source: Microsoft [microsoft.com] .)

Windows7 Launch Party Convo Killer (5, Funny)

MightyMait (787428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662479)

I guess this would be a bad topic to bring up at a Windows7 launch party.

Wall Street (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662487)

Didn't the New York Stock Exchange move over to Linux because Microsoft couldn't provide a good, low-latency RT kernel? They begged Microsoft, wanted to stay with Microsoft, and Microsoft couldn't provide them with a solution.

Not the way I remember it (2, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662671)

Didn't the New York Stock Exchange move over to Linux because Microsoft couldn't provide a good, low-latency RT kernel? They begged Microsoft, wanted to stay with Microsoft, and Microsoft couldn't provide them with a solution.

I could be wrong, but IIRC the NYSE has never been a Microsoft shop for the hard-core trading systems. They may have wanted to switch to Microsoft from the previous big Unix iron, but Linux won out.

However, Microsoft got added to the DJIA as a consolation prize.

Out of context theator (0, Redundant)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662511)

The article is individuals who state that the TradElect software is slower than the Chi-X software. The highly biased author then extrapolates that .Net is slower than "GNU/Linux-based software".

They are also talking about trading a $65 Million piece of software for a $30 Million plan to write a piece of software.

The author is highly biased and inflammatory. MS's .Net framework is NOT the answer in every situation, but it is a solid platform for Windows/Web based development.

I'm all for ragging on crappy software, business practices, taxation, etc... coming out of Redmond, but honestly, pissing on the .Net framework because someone developed an application that was 2.3 milliseconds faster at a custom task is a bit asinine.

-Rick

Not out of context (5, Informative)

ameline (771895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662619)

How disingenuous.

While it is 2.3ms faster it is also compared to 0.4ms (vs 2.7) making it 6.75 *times* faster.

Sub ms latency in trading is a critical requirement for this application and .net on windows just wasn't up to the task.

As a performance expert, this doesn't surprise me. In my opinion, current .net implementations are fundamentally unsuited to hard RT.

Re:Not out of context (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662883)

This is not my area of expertise, but it strikes me that for these applications, the rule of thumb for decades has been to get as close to the iron as you can. There are just way too many layers of abstraction in Windows and .Net, and damned little control over what goes on under the hood. With a Linux kernel, if you need very high RT performance you can cherry pick your hardware, compile the kernel and various other supporting apps with that in mind. I would imagine that they've also moved to Oracle here, and I don't give a crap what the Redmond shills say, I wouldn't put MS-SQL in that kind of environment for all the kickbacks in the world.

Missed the point... (2, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662893)

How disingenuous.

Hardly. My complaint isn't about the TradElect software's performance. It was slower. But why was it slower? Is the implementation crap? Could it be redesigned to run faster while still running from the .Net framework? Or is it the inherent lag of running inside a sandbox that prevents it from executing as fast as the "GNU/Linux" solution?

My complaint is that the author is roasting the .Net platform as compared to "GNU/Linux". That is like comparing the performance of Java to OS/2. One is a programing platform, the other is an OS.

The author quotes from the article valid complaints about the TradElect system, and then extrapolates that due to the valid concerns LSE has with TradElect, that the .Net platform is inferior in all regards. Although he never explains what programming platform he believe .Net to be inferior to.

That said, if I were working on a system that depended on sub millisecond execution of complex functionality, I probably wouldn't go with .Net either. The fact that you are running inside a VM-like sandbox explicitly means you are going to have worse performance than a natively compiled and executed application.

-Rick

Re:Not out of context (2, Informative)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663053)

If you think applications like this are examples of "hard RT", then the "RT" you refer to doesn't stand for "Real Time".

What about Windows as platform? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663073)

My own experience with Windows 2000 indicates that the OS does not reliably provide latencies in the lower ms ranges. The project in question was a software-controlled device where the software was supposed to do various tasks with frequencies from some 10 Hz to 1000 Hz. In practice, the software (written in Borland Delphi) frequently missed its time windows.

Since the desktop and server versions of Windows are not that different, it seems plausible that Windows was the culprit rather than .net "as such".

Re:Out of context theator (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662633)

I'm all for ragging on crappy software, business practices, taxation, etc... coming out of Redmond, but honestly, pissing on the .Net framework because someone developed an application that was 2.3 milliseconds faster at a custom task is a bit asinine.

Um.... Trading times are very important:

http://www.hplusmagazine.com/articles/ai/singularity-already-happening-goldman-sachs [hplusmagazine.com]

2.3 millisecond gaps are what are causing issues with the current stock exchanges and that the major financial organizations are being investigated for exploiting this:

Re:Out of context theator (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662757)

Um.... Trading times are very important:

I never said that they weren't. I said that denigrating one programming platform as a whole based on a single metric with a huge variety of implementations was asinine.

Lets say you and I both develop a trading system. Mine is PHP based, yours is C++ based. My transactions occur in 1ms, yours take 2ms. Should I therefore argue that PHP is faster than C++? No, because it would be idiotic to make such an assertion with out explicit knowledge of both implementations. And even with such knowledge, one could only meaningfully argue that one is faster than the other at that specific task.

That said, if I were working on a system that depended on sub millisecond execution of complex functionality, I probably wouldn't go with .Net either. The fact that you are running inside a VM-like sandbox explicitly means you are going to have worse performance than a natively compiled and executed application.

-Rick

Re:Out of context theator (3, Interesting)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662959)

If you're over 300 kilometers away from the server, a one-way transaction will take more than 1 millisecond at the speed of light anyway. If millisecond gaps were that important, you'd hear about global disparities directly related to distances from the stock exchange servers.

Re:Out of context theator (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662673)

Its not asinine. These people make millions per hour. They literally count downtime in seconds. People are fired for 10 minute glitches. If you told a trading place "it takes 2.3 milliseconds longer", they would do the math, realize that over their volume, its a significant cost, and not use the product.

Actually, (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662713)

Instead of the $60M software product, they bought a $30M software company which had produced a competetive product. They get the code, the customers, developers, desks, servers and office space, and the managers and executives too.

That's completely different from what you said.

Likewise,

...because someone developed an application that was 2.3 milliseconds faster at a custom task...

2.3ms faster is very significant when you're starting from a base of 2.7ms. Something like six to seven times as fast.

Re:Out of context theator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662741)

Indeed, and nobody else posting here seems to know what platform the NASDAQ runs on ;).

Re:Out of context theatre - Do the Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662751)

Hello Rick,

The new application is not just 2.3 ms faster, it is 7x (700%) faster than .Net (0.4 ms vs 2.7 ms).
That is a huge increase in speed (wish your OS was 7x faster?).

If the LSE has totally messed up, then their customers will let them know.
The same thing with Microsoft - their customers are speaking very loudly, rejecting .Net, Vista, etc.

Re:Out of context theator (5, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662785)

You are incorrect, they are trading a $65 million dollar piece of software for a $30 million COMPANY. They bought the MilleniumIT company that had ALREADY IMPLEMENTED a trading platform. They bought the company for the platform, and now they control the development of the platform going forward in house. They are not trading one IT consultancy for another, as they now OWN the software and the company that built it.

However, they state the platform they bought ALREADY achieves 6 times the performance of the piece of software built by accenture (.4ms vs 2.7ms transaction times).

While I agree that this is more of an indictment of Accenture's apparently shoddy work than of .NET itself, the fact that they've had 6 years (the article states the TradElect software/project was started in 2003) and $65 million dollars thrown at the problem and haven't been able to make the software perform better does raise some eyebrows about the underlying technology as well.

Re:Out of context theator (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663071)

Someone please mod this up (I used all my points already).

MilleniumIT has an established product in deployment in several exchanges. Their transaction times have been demonstrably faster than the POS that MS/Accenture developed on .NET framework.

Fuck.. There is so much knee-jerk reactionism here by people with no knowledge of the subject (and with no desire to even do a quick googling) that it just makes me sick.

Fortunately, I like being sick, which is why I keep coming back to slashdot.

Although, to be fair, it's also quite possible that what we have here are leftover MS astroturfers from the earlier anti-MS article. That would explain a lot, but maybe I'm just being paranoid again.

Re:Out of context theator (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662977)

The once-common floppy disk drive seeks track-to-track at 3 milliseconds. A system seven times faster will feel like when you traded your floppy disk for that first hard drive. Zow!

What does .NET have to do with anything? (0)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662537)

As ironic as this is given Microsoft's big LSE advertising in the past, if they're having trouble with their current set up it's the fault of whatever programmers wrote it and not of .NET. Hopefully they'll have some better programmers working on it this time.

Re:What does .NET have to do with anything? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662763)

if they're having trouble with their current set up it's the fault of whatever programmers wrote it and not of .NET.

The performance of the runtime environment has no impact on performance of the custom software? You're not actually claiming .NET is a good choice for every problem, are you?

Re:What does .NET have to do with anything? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662933)

I don't know the first thing about the stock exchange so I won't presume to know what is required to code one efficiently. If .NET was suitable for this platform, the programmers botched it. If it wasn't suitable, then the programmers still botched it by making a stupid environment choice.

Re:What does .NET have to do with anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662765)

Wow, another ignorance statement by a Slashdot know-it-all. Never wrote a real-time system, have you? You sound like those Java morons who think all languages are interchangeable.

Re:What does .NET have to do with anything? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662921)

As ironic as this is given Microsoft's big LSE advertising in the past, if they're having trouble with their current set up it's the fault of whatever programmers wrote it and not of .NET.

This is just as true as saying that the utility of the original system for which the LSE is seeking a replacement is a testament to the skill of the programmers of the particular system, and says nothing about the .NET environment (and Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2000, and all the other "infrastructure" technologies that were used to support it.)

Microsoft, OTOH, wasn't shy about using the deal to trumpet the strength of those components, so clearly, by Microsoft's own standards, that system losing out to a system which abandons Microsoft's infrastructure says just as much negative about the utility of Microsoft's infrastructure technology as the initial adoption said positive about it.

OK. Let's be a bit careful about "cost" - "quality (3, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662553)

TradElect platform, supplied by Accenture, has finally been answered: yes, it will. This hardly comes as a surprise â" the issue of the platformâ(TM)s speed and efficiency as well as Accentureâ(TM)s support has been a hot topic for the market in the last couple of months.

Accenture? Not exactly a low cost vendor there. Meaning, much of the "costs" of this .NET system is Accenture's high fees.

âWe want to address the entire suite of products and MillenniumIT gives us that scale.â(TM) Indeed, its offshore development centre â" âa hotbed of top graduatesâ(TM) â" with 94 per cent being top-class alumni from Sri Lanka and around the world, including MIT in the US, caters for such magnitude of scope.

Offshoring. They're going with a cheaper, although quite smart, set of folks.

Furthermore, he describes LSEâ(TM)s experience with .Net as âvery positiveâ(TM).

Ok, this looks more like changing vendors and implementation. They also want âfor more control, less costs, and the ability to build and innovateâ(TM).

This really isn't a damning of Microsoft and its technology. This is about going with a cheaper vendor and a software platform that gives them more control to suit their needs.

Re:OK. Let's be a bit careful about "cost" - "qual (4, Informative)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662647)

If you had read the earlier articles on the TradElect fiasco, you would have known that it was basically written and designed by Microsoft itself. Accenture had a very heavy involvement in the project straight from Redmond.

So yes, this is an outright condemnation of the quality of Microsoft's products.

Mart

Cheaper labor in Sir Lankan? (1, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662559)

It sounds to me like the change was due to a lower bid from a particular Sri Lankan company and not really about technology primarily.

Re:Cheaper labor in Sir Lankan? (4, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662639)

You didn't read the article did you?

It was cheaper for them to buy the WHOLE COMPANY that had built this technology, than it was to continue running/maintaining a .NET application. The .NET application was built and maintained by accenture, who can just as easily hire cheap devs in india or sri lanka as any other outsourced IT consultancy.

Also, they specifically state multiple times that the .NET solution would not scale to meet their needs, the quoted stats are 2.7ms/transaction in .NET and the linux app performs the same transaction in .4ms... So the linux system can handle 6-7 times the transactions on the same hardware...

They are talking about scaling up from 100 million transactions a day to 5-6 billion, so, yeah having to buy 6 times less hardware will probably save them some cash.

Re:Cheaper labor in Sir Lankan? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662935)

The fact that they are buying the company just underscores the financial motivation. Sounds like a great deal for the Sir Lankan owners too - if the project fails it's the new owner's problem - their money is already in the bank.

Re:Cheaper labor in Sir Lankan? (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663111)

The software is already built. The article states that LSE had a selection process, started with 20 vendors/platforms, shortlisted 4 of those, and brought those platforms in and ran them in a test environment for a period of time and then selected MilleniumIT as the winner. Yes, they have to transition their production systems to the new system, but the software is already written, and is already being used on other exchanges. There is mention made in the article of other exchanges that are running this software and how they are worried now that a competing exchange owns the technology that they are using.

So while the project could still fail in the transition period, there is a much smaller risk of failure since the software is already built.

Re:Cheaper labor in Sir Lankan? (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662685)

It could be that the cheaper labor, who can create a good enough product, does not have the resources to acquire a fully licensed MS platform. Instead, they may have grown up with older computers running Linux and open source tools. One can image a motivated student, who has been told that unlicensed software is stealing, and stealing is wrong, might choose to learn cheaper tools. One can also imagine a company, wary of the costs of a MS development solution, and able to hire local developers who are not MS only developers, might choose a cheaper route. The status quo right now is that low cost labor is most likely to know MS solutions, os if one wants a low cost solution, then MS is the way to go. The traditional problem with *nix is that the labor has a reputation of being expensive, arrogant, and difficult to manage. Maybe that is changing now that many kids are playing with low cost solutions, and do not have the experience of being the tyrant in the ivory tower.

savage idictment of .net? (4, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662571)

i read the article and found this.

while TradElect is based on Microsoftâ(TM)s .Net technology. The choice of the latter, which has raised quite a few eyebrows in the market, is defended by Lester. He claims that LSE is coming off TradElect not because of the .Net technology itself (although its trading speed is 2.7 milliseconds compared to Linux-based Chi-Xâ(TM)s 0.4 milliseconds), but âfor more control, less costs, and the ability to build and innovateâ(TM). Furthermore, he describes LSEâ(TM)s experience with .Net as âvery positiveâ(TM).

i will grant that the 2.7 ms benchmark is definately slower than .4 ms. However, i don't think you can benchmark the trading speed of .Net, only the trading speed of TradElect. Last time i checked msdn, there was no System.StockExchange namespace provided with the .net framework.

These articles sound more like MilleniumIT's just got a faster, nicer, cheaper product than TradElect. It sounds to me like Accenture failed, not .net

Re:savage idictment of .net? (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662675)

It's not a little bit slower, it is 6.75 times slower. That is a big performance deficit, not a small one.

Isn't it a bad app? (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662573)

From what I understand, it was the app that sucked. Why is this then a stinging indictment of the platform?

Because.... (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662779)

They had $60M to throw into development. There's a good chance it's as fast as they could make it.

Also, Microsoft gets to crow about the awesome power of their platform when they "win" these big installations. It's only fair we get to revel in it when they stub their toe on them.

Re:Isn't it a bad app? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662839)

Strictly speaking, it isn't. However, back before they made the change, the deployment of the app was supposed to be a ringing endorsement of the platform. It was one of the most prominent "get the facts" cases. So, although the relationship between the quality of the app and the quality of the platform isn't obvious in either direction, there is certain symmetry here. If the app's success was going to be an endorsement, and was hyped as such, its failure can plausibly be considered an indictment.

Re:Isn't it a bad app? (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663075)

From what I understand, it was the app that sucked. Why is this then a stinging indictment of the platform?

Because Microsoft used the app and its supposed superiority in the area it was deployed as a major case study in the strength of the Microsoft programming and platform components used in the implementation: the products called out in their case study include the .NET Framework, Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio .NET, Microsoft Operations Manager, ASP.NET, and Visual C# .NET (I may have missed some.) A quote: "In a highly competitive environment, the London Stock Exchange is gaining a considerable cost advantage over its competitors by using the .NET Framework and Visual C# .NET." (source: Microsoft [microsoft.com] .)

If it says something about the platform when you are getting the sale (because it outperforms the preceding implementation), then it also says something about the platform when the Exchange looks to replace you with something that outperforms your implementation.

More of an indictment of Windows than .NET (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662575)

Maybe I missed the part about what language and such is being used on the Linux side, but the complaints seemed to be entirely on the latency issues with Windows Server. Who is to say that when Mono is a bit more mature it wouldn't have been able to hold its own if used on a well-configured Linux box?

Re:More of an indictment of Windows than .NET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662777)

I wonder if they were using the default Windows kernel or if they had one tweaked for a RT system. Most Desktop kernels really aren't suited to RT development as the scheduler tends to try to minimize response time by going with a round-robin type scheme(there are priority levels in there, but the scheduler is most interested in limiting response time and making sure no process gets totally starved), whereas RT kernels tend to have a lot more logic in them when it comes to priority levels, deadlines(and the cost for missing the deadlines) etc. I don't really think that the default Windows kernel is really up to task for something like this.

Performance is neither here nor there (4, Insightful)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662579)

Having read the article, and having traded equities on the London Stock exchange and Borsa Italiana for twenty years, I must say that I believe that the declaration that it was not a performance issue is correct.....to the point that I suspect that no amount of performance gains on Microsoft's part would have turned the scales.
Stock Exchanges are not national monopolies anymore, even if the few remaining big ones are gobbling each other. Controlling the technology involved is much more important than a slight performance hit. The London stock exchange scores a double hit on this one, since not only it will own the system, but the internals of said system will be open source, freeing it for example from limitation of sale to third parties by the US government. And anyway, when an istitution that big uses only Microsoft inhouse, is like having another stakeholder on your back, with an agenda of its own, like having you switch soon to the latest and greatest of its Server suite, if only for its publicity value. By doing the move, LSE is back to setting its own pace. I wish I could do the same on my desktop in the office.

Re:Performance is neither here nor there (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662681)

I wish I could do the same on my desktop in the office.

Out of curiosity, why can't you? Are you stuck with a Windows only software package? (I'm not asking rhetorically. )

Re:Performance is neither here nor there (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662827)

Unless it's his office, he'll use what he's told. His IT department will administer the box, including anti virus, network permissions, rebuilding from an image if/when the hard disk dies etc. They're not going to spend 4 days downloading, installing and configuring random crap for every employee just so they can feel at home!

Re:Performance is neither here nor there (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662907)

  I think you've nailed it: Why would any country want technology for it's core financial markets that is already open-source to instead be held in check by a foreign company?

MS just can't garner the trust for large-scale mission-critical deployments yet, at least in the financial sector. That outage was a painful lesson. They have plenty of other clients though.

Re:Performance is neither here nor there (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662951)

MS just can't garner the trust for large-scale mission-critical deployments yet, at least in the financial sector. That outage was a painful lesson. They have plenty of other clients though.

I gather from the article that their only other client is the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

LSE Acquired the Dev Shop (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662589)

As much as I do really believe that Linux is the right choice, the summary is not accurate. The London Stock Exchange acquired a Sri Lankan dev shop who will write the exchange software and the outsourced dev work is suddenly made a whole lot cheaper.

Re:LSE Acquired the Dev Shop (4, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662919)

You are not accurate. The LSE bought a dev shop that ALREADY BUILT A TRADING PLATFORM, that is being used today in other exchanges. The platform in question ALREADY achieves 6 times the performance of their existing platform (built by accenture), and has MORE FEATURES.

And they are moving from an outsourced dev model to an in house model, as they now own the devs and the software. Sure they devs are still in Sri Lanka, but Accenture could just as easily hire people in India or Sri Lanka to get the same cost savings.

oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662661)

Thank You Very Much

It's not a win, it's a better fight. (0)

DCFC (933633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662663)

It's more complex than this...

Firstly, the costs will go up, not down.
That's because they don't trust the new solution to deliver, so for quite some time they will run both developments.
*If* the systems is good enough then they migrate, but the LSE track record on technology is either funny or shameful, but certainly I would count them picking your system as an "endorsement" of the same order as being Bernie Madoff's accountant...

Next of course, it is not an open source solution, Oracle is not open source, trust me on this.

The critical term here is latency, the LSE wants as much algotrading as it can get, and a barrier to this has been the fact that Accenture has been "helping". (Imagine Bernie Madoff having a system built by the Goa'uld,, powerful, evil but ultimately doomed). It will not shock any Accenture watchers that the CIO of the LSE had been an Accenture employee.

So what we have is a more interesting thing, a competition between a partly open source system and .NET.

It is possible, maybe even likely that the .NET solution will be beaten, but that has not happened yet. MS can be expected to fight back, pride intersects with commercial interests here, Oracle is no more friend of MS than Linux.

I am no fan of MS, but it saddens me when open source fanbois distort facts to make it look like they've won, even when the real story offers an opportunity to beat their "enemies" in a more conclusive way.

Re:It's not a win, it's a better fight. (1)

cjcollier (115316) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662731)

I am no fan of MS, but it saddens me when open source fanbois distort facts to make it look like they've won, even when the real story offers an opportunity to beat their "enemies" in a more conclusive way.

Well put, sir.

Re:It's not a win, it's a better fight. (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662865)

the LSE track record on technology is either funny or shameful, but certainly I would count them picking your system as an "endorsement" of the same order as being Bernie Madoff's accountant...

Perhaps you see it that way, but Microsoft clearly disagrees [microsoft.com] .

Re:It's not a win, it's a better fight. (4, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662881)

Uhh... I've never seen this level of RTFA and.. man this is slashdot where that is the norm.

the LSE ALREADY ENTERED A PURCHASE AGREEMENT TO BUY THE COMPANY that ALREADY BUILT A TRADING PLATFORM THAT IS BEING USED TODAY IN OTHER EXCHANGES! The deal closes in the next week or 2. The article says 95% of the "Non-Refundable" parts of the deal have already been transacted. Neither the LSE nor Millenium IT (the Sri Lankan company that is being purchased) is walking away from this deal.

You don't spend $30 million dollars and purchase a company if you aren't moving your software to that platform. The article states they already had a trial phase and brought in originally 20 platforms, shortlisted 4, ran those for a period, and MilleniumIT won. They then decided to purchase the entire company. This process is much further along the road than you seem to think.

Linux doesn't preclude .NET (1)

cjcollier (115316) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662707)

I bet they will use Mono to ease the transition. If they've already got a huge codebase written for .NET, wouldn't it be insane to throw it away?

Re:Linux doesn't preclude .NET (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29663103)

I bet they will use Mono to ease the transition. If they've already got a huge codebase written for .NET, wouldn't it be insane to throw it away?

The problem appears to be, in part, latency induced by the number of layers above the bare metal that are involved, so I'm not sure Mono would get much improvement. They apparently threw away the existing COBOL-based system in favor of a complete reimplementation for .NET back in 2005, so if they did that again it wouldn't be entirely unprecedented.

More like Microshaft. (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662805)

In other news, company buys another company and uses that companies resources.

Actually.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29662903)

The switch is a pretty savage indictment of the costs of American programmers.

Offshoring to Sri Lanka also helps shaves costs (1, Troll)

Bandraginus (901166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29662955)

Newsflash! Ditching a custom Accenture solution for an offshore offering from Sri Lanka cuts costs! News at 11.

Look guys, I'm a Microsoft basher along with the best of them (I'm a Solaris administrator), but it seems to me like most of this cost savings is delivered by offshoring and ditching a major systems integrator.

(Discloser: I also used to work for Accenture).

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