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NY Stock Exchange Moves To Linux

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the bye-bye-big-iron dept.

Unix 272

An anonymous reader writes "Even the old mainframe strongholds, the financial markets, are moving away from big iron. The New York Stock Exchange is one of them, as it's leaving the mainframe for AIX and Linux. They're doing it to save money; it seems that transactions are going to cost half as much on Unix and Linux as they did on the mainframe." The first phase of the transition happened last Monday.

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Meme wet dream (5, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160911)

In Soviet Russia, Linux-running, chair throwing, Beowulf clusters of shark overlords with laserbeams on their heads welcome you, you insensitive clods!

Cancel or Allow?

Wait, what are we talking about again?

Re:Meme wet dream (0, Redundant)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160953)

You forgot to say "I know I'll be modded down for this." 9/10.

Re:Meme wet dream (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161013)

You forgot frist prost...

Re:Meme wet dream (-1, Offtopic)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161289)

No, that's only necessary if it's not *actually* the first post. But yea, I had no idea that I'd make first post with that comment heh. I just saw "Linux" in the title and thought "bah fuck it, I got karma to burn". I've been saving that in a txt file for a week now :P

Re:Meme wet dream (1, Offtopic)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161257)

They're frikin laser beams, you insensitive clod!

TWNBWFM (0, Offtopic)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160945)

This Will Not Bode Well For Microsoft

Re:TWNBWFM (3, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161099)

Nothing to do with MS in this.

MS will be affected only when the wall street firms stop using MS Excel, and that may not happen in my lifetime unfortunately.

Re:TWNBWFM (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161151)

As long as MS's stock doesn't mysteriously start a slow, steady decline... Then they'll sue "thoes linux people" for obviously doing "something" with the software.
or something

Re:TWNBWFM (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161537)

Right idea, wrong exchange.

Re:TWNBWFM (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161107)


This Will Not Bode Well For Microsoft

Why? As far as Microsoft is concerned this is either a non-event (they weren't using microsoft before, they aren't now), or a slight move towards using Microsoft (going from a Mainframe to PCs moves them closer to the potential to use Microsoft software).

Re:TWNBWFM (1)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161113)

what the hell does this have to do with Microsoft? NYSE was never run with Microsoft software. Are you suggesting it doesn't bode well because they didn't choose to move to a Microsoft platform? Not sure I get it.

Re:TWNBWFM (4, Funny)

jstretch78 (1102633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161269)

No, he just wanted to use the word 'bode'.

Re:TWNBWFM (0, Flamebait)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162037)

Well considering the short message by the parent...

There has been talk for a long time about how if big companies start switching over to Linux that Microsoft will lose even more market share as other smaller companies get in their mind 'Hey we can do this too and tell Microsoft to go #*&% itself with their licensing fees'.

Not a huge deal since they did not use any Microsoft products before, but the fact that they chose Linux and AIX over Microsoft just goes to show that the financial sector wants security and reliability (Hey has Microsoft patented daily crashes yet?). I do not blame them for using Linux since uptime on them tend to be very high (sometimes in the order of years) and does not require a reboot every single time you make the tiniest most insignificant patch.

That ad about Windows on stock exchange (3, Insightful)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160955)

Anyone reminded of that ad about the guys printing the newspaper that says they use Windows because its more reliable and stuff? That wasn't for the NYSE was it? I see that ad all the time on Slashdot and roll my eyes every time :-p

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (2, Informative)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161039)

That was the London Stock Exchange

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (2, Informative)

Fifty Points (878668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161041)

That was for the London Stock Exchange

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161065)

The article made it sound like they were moving from some other form of Unix server. But it didn't actually state *what* server type they were moving from.

Then again, I typically don't think of MS as a mainframe os provider, usually I think of stuff like VMS, HPUX and AIX.

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161437)

Based on other parts of the article I assumed that it was an IBM mainframe of some sort; at ~1200 MIPS it must have been a fairly big one, although one assumes nothing too recent, or they probably wouldn't be spending a whole lot of money to replace it right now.

I'd be interested to know if someone has any information or more educated guesses on what they probably have.

(Humm ... wonder how they'll get rid of it. Everybody keep your eye on eBay!)

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161655)

(Humm ... wonder how they'll get rid of it. Everybody keep your eye on eBay!)


"This auction if for a picture of the NYSE server. The server in the photo works great and contains SS & routing #'s actually worth stealing. Let the bidding begin and GOOD LUCK!"

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (5, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161145)

Windows isn't more reliable ... but the programmers might be a little more sympathetic to user needs ...

"Okay, so how do I register the exchange of a convertible bond on Linux?"
"Er... why would you want to do that?"
"Um ... just trust me on this one ... people like them."
"Well, what's a convertible bond?"
"It's where the holder gets a fixed interest payment and then at maturity, has the option to get a fixed amount of cash, or a fixed amount of stock, his choice."
"That's stupid, you don't need that."
"Um, look, dude, people trade them, so the software has to handle it."
"Well, that's really just a bond attached to a stock option. So just enter it that way."
"Yeah, but in the financial world, it's one transaction."
"Okay ... so when someone buys one, register an 'option purchase' plus a 'bond purchase' by going under this menu ... then use this 'merge' feature ..."
"Holy **** dude, this is a common transaction, why do I have do go through all that every time someone buys a convertible bond?"
"Well, people don't even really buy them that much, do they?"
"I give up."

umm, not quite... (2, Funny)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161203)

"Okay ... so when someone buys one, register an 'option purchase' plus a 'bond purchase' by going under this menu ... then use this 'merge' feature ..."

should be

"Okay ... so when someone buys one, register an 'option purchase' plus a 'bond purchase' by piping these commands together on the command line... then use this 'merge' feature ..."

OK, yeah, that's a decade ago, but it still seemed funny to me.

Re:That ad about Windows on stock exchange (4, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161495)

the windows version just assumes if you select cash once to always do cash, unless you edit the registry key autoSelectMaturityAction to false

It's Ironic... (4, Insightful)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161671)

...that the OS so many think of as some kind of IP-lethal, grubby commie hippy project is now running a goodly part of Capitalism Itself. The worm has turned, and eats itself!

Moves away from big iron is more accurate (4, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160975)

The bulk of the savings seem to be coming from reduced hardware and maintenance costs by getting rid of the mainframe and the savings are the reason they are doing it.

Re:Moves away from big iron is more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161617)

Somewhere out there is a Michael Douglas-character in white shortsleeves and tie, stuck in traffic caused by a road repair crew. He's steaming in a car bearing the license plate DFENS, while slowly his world crumbles around him...

Re:Moves away from big iron is more accurate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161785)

Linux may prevent the next stock market crash !

They are not "moving to Linux" (4, Informative)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162109)

I know that it's optional around here to RTFA, but the original poster is wrong to title this entry as a move to Linux: this is a primarily move from mainframe to AIX on pSeries, with a few other tasks (FTP) being tossed to Linux like you'd throw a dog a bone. Using this lack of logic, it would be plausible to suggest that the NYSE is "moving to Mac OS X" because a few people in the advertising and marketing department use Macs for their jobs. I realize this isn't Rolling Stone magazine [slashdot.org] , but the lack of journalistic quality control here at /. is pathetic.

Re:Moves away from big iron is more accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162215)

Quite correct, the funny thing is that Euronext Liffe has been doing a much more significant move towards Linux from Solaris. And guess what it had nothing to do with licencing, it had mostly to do with he fact that they could run on HP kit that was more bangs for the buck...

Anyway alwais funny to see how /. can comment on IT in the financial world without having any clue what so ever...

Really? The NYSE? (5, Funny)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161057)

>>They're doing it to save money

Really? The NYSE aren't doing it purely support the FOSS community? Dang, and I thought I knew the NYSE better than that..

Re:Really? The NYSE? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162111)

well, Stallman told them they'd save money, and following Stallman is the same thing

hmm (4, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161059)

What about stability issues? I'd think that these machines would have to be a little bit more robust than linux is capable of being at the moment.

Re:hmm (0)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161137)

they are moving to Linux AND AIX according to TFA, I suspect the AIX might be fore the stability part, though I don't know. As much as I may hate it for other reasons, Linux can be pretty stable with the right hardware and configuration - I'll certainly give it that.

Re:hmm (5, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161265)

That's a good question, but on Wall Street, speed and latentcy are becoming more importantant factors than stabiltiy. That's the reason why most brokerages locate their primary data center in Manhatten, or co-locate with the NYSE. A crash that effects everybody equally is preferable to odd processing delays. No data is better than slow data is an old mantra in the trading feild, and even more important when trading is triggered electronically and milliseconds count.

Re:hmm (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161539)

what stability issues?

Good point. (2, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161803)

But then, if you run say RHEL 4 (2.6.9) or Slackware 10 on a nice piece of kit then you get AIX-like stability. It's when you use fancier, newer features (i.e. experimental filesystems) or more esoteric hardware that you can get yourself into trouble.
And even so, if they're clustering it then you'd expect they'd build in node failover and monitoring, so a hard freeze should trigger a watchdog and someone goes and kicks it in the head (if that isn't automated). And you log it, just in case a node is actually developing hardware failures.

We would assume they would test, test, test to identify the stable configurations before hand. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

Sex. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161069)

Fuck y'all.

Begin the invasion (4, Funny)

Spookticus (985296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161101)

Thats one small step for penguins, one giant leap for penguin kind. Now I can invest in Linux companies while I am doing it on a Linux machine and the transaction being processed by Linux :)

Re:Begin the invasion (1)

smithbp (1002301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161169)

There still might be something else thrown in the middle there, from your brokerage firm. These servers are simply going to be responsible for the transactions on the exchange themselves.

what was it on before? (3, Interesting)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161117)

ctrl-f tells me they didnt mention microsoft or windows. if it wasnt on *nix before, what was it on?

Re:what was it on before? (2)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161189)

Since it was most an IBM mainframe, most likely z/OS. Most discussion on here seems to focus on how this is bad for MS. The real loser in this is IBM. It proves that more enterprises are sick of paying for every single transaction that is run on the system, when multiple x86 servers can produce comparable performance without a transaction fee.

Re:what was it on before? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161385)

Are you serious? Read the article: "The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is migrating off a 1,600 millions of instructions per second (MIPS) mainframe to IBM System p servers running AIX and x86 Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) servers running Linux"

They're still using IBM servers and IBM's Unix (AIX) along with HP servers running Linux. This is not a loss by any means, there will be fresh new maintenance contracts for IBM plus the cost of the servers and training of employees on AIX.

Re:what was it on before? (2, Insightful)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161475)

True, but I'm sure that sort of contract is significantly cheaper than if they had gone with a new mainframe contract simpley because of the transaction fees. Also, this basically makes IBM a generic hardware provider; the NYSE could *likely* transfer these apps from AIX on Power to Linux on x86 if they were so inclined. Not trying to troll, you do bring up a valid point.

Re:what was it on before? (2, Informative)

dknj (441802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161915)

plus the cost of the servers and training of employees on AIX.

hint: get your aix cert and you will be in high demand for at least the next decade. NYSE is not the only place looking for experienced AIX admins, most major financial companies have a few AIX systems sitting in their dungeon. if you have experience, you will make a pretty penny.

the last three places i worked at that had AIX had a constant theme; managers were looking for a GOOD AIX admin and were willing to pay well into 6 figures for it. contrast to linux/solaris admin jobs that are barely crossing $100k anymore.

disclaimer: i live in a major metropolitan area

Re:what was it on before? (3, Informative)

mchinand (22369) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161241)

Here are some of IBM's non-Unix mainframe OSs. http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/os/ [ibm.com] . They could be using some other vendor as well.

Re:what was it on before? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161243)

ctrl-f tells me they didnt mention microsoft or windows. if it wasnt on *nix before, what was it on?

Presumably a mainframe operating system. z/OS probably.

Re:what was it on before? (1)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161651)

I had a job interview down at nyse about six years ago (and I'm glad I didn't get it - someone blew up the two towers next door about six months later). Part of their infrustructure is on OpenVMS/C++. I know these boxes were doing something highly critical, but I don't know exactly what. Since the stories aren't mentioning replacing these OpenVMS boxes, I would assume that some of the critical processing is still happening on these systems.

Re:what was it on before? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161695)

and I'm glad I didn't get it - someone blew up the two towers next door about six months later
you're kidding. was anybody hurt?

i'm going to hell

Transactions cost less by half ? (0)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161159)

SO my TDAmeritrade account will now only charge me $4.99 per transaction? What are you trying to say....

Licensing Fees (4, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161165)

In my brief experience with an IBM AS/400 (before it was renamed), it seemed like my old company was paying as much annual licensing and support fees as the system originally cost. The software we ran got more expensive as the system went faster. I never quite understand that pricing scheme, since the software didn't actually do anything NEW.

Good move for the NYSE.

Re:Licensing Fees (4, Interesting)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161443)

IBM will support your old hardware almost forever.

They don't enjoy it, though - they have to stock a zillion old parts for a zillion old architectures, they have to train new guys on stuff that was obsolete before they got out of diapers.

They gradually crank up maintenance fees to "encourage" you to upgrade to new kit that is easier to support.

Sure...for the "right" price.... (0, Redundant)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161907)

IBM will support old hardware, they'll just charge you a fortune for the privilege.

I suspect that this "maintenance cost" is one of the reasons for the change mentioned in the article.

Move to commodity PCs, increase redundancy, profit!

GAO says IBM won't do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162235)

Unless your definition of "almost forever" is considerably shorter than mine.

Here http://archive.gao.gov/paprpdf2/160369.pdf/ [gao.gov] is a GAO report that (among other things)documents IBM telling the US Federal Government that they will no longer be stocking spare parts for air traffic control mainframes that IBM installed only 13 years earlier.

Re:Licensing Fees (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161533)


The software we ran got more expensive as the system went faster. I never quite understand that pricing scheme, since the software didn't actually do anything NEW.

You bought the more expensive IBM OSs, those ones have less NOPs compiled in.

NY Stock Exchange Moves To Linux (4, Funny)

robably (1044462) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161167)

In case anyone needs to look it up, Linux is in Eastern Europe between Serbia and Romania.

Happy to help.

Re:NY Stock Exchange Moves To Bangalore (1)

Einstein's Bees (1103551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161849)

Coulda fooled me!
    I thought it was in India, just north of Bangalore.

Re:NY Stock Exchange Moves To Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161899)

dang! you missed the point! I always thought it was somewhere between Lithuania & Bordeaux!

we're DOOMED (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162011)

Wait, isn't that where Latveria [wikipedia.org] is located?

Career Opportunity (2, Insightful)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161171)

I think this is only the beginning of large migrations. To have both 3270 and Linux skills (along w/ DB2) right now would be a killer skills combo.

Re:Career Opportunity - for me? (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161791)

It's funny you say that but I've been administrating Linux/AIX for a year and I just had 3 months of 3270 training. Now I support MF applications JCL/COBOL/EZTRIEVE and AIX/Linux applications/scripts/perl...... how much an I worth?

Re:Career Opportunity (1)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162059)

Not really.

Other zOS skills are more useful, particularly the Sysprogging skills like JCL, console commands, rexx, TSO and ISPF.

The Linux skills to have in this area are the System Admin ones like bash scripting, setting up Apache and other server stuff, using ssh, etc.

Wonder if someone really dropped the ball. (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161173)

Well, the migration strategy seems interesting, although not especially surprising; they've eschewed emulation strategies that might incur a performance penalty in favor of some company that actually recompiles the old COBOL and IBM JCL code for modern architectures and does a lot of in-house QA (and, one assumes, has really good support...). They're using smaller IBM AIX servers to actually run the code in the new system, with the HP Linux machines basically doing all the I/O and general feeding of data.

I'm a little surprised that IBM didn't manage to sell them on a new mainframe, or at least on its own clustered solution; or that they didn't ditch IBM completely and go with somebody else (what I'd suspect if somehow someone at IBM had really stepped on the wrong foot).

There's not a whole lot of information in TFA about their old system, which actually sounds like it must be fairly neat; it's only described as a "1,600 MIPS mainframe" and then from context it's clear that it's an IBM of some sort. Another surprising thing is that they complain that the software licenses for it, among other things, are prohibitively expensive -- you'd think that IBM, in danger of losing a mainframe customer completely to commodity kit, would cut them some sort of a cheap-or-free deal on the software just to keep them around and on the support contracts. (I really gotta wonder if someone really boned this up; I mean, if you can't keep a mainframe contract at a place like the NYSE, really, what are you doing?)

Re:Wonder if someone really dropped the ball. (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161765)

I'm a little surprised that IBM didn't manage to sell them on a new mainframe, or at least on its own clustered solution; or that they didn't ditch IBM completely and go with somebody else (what I'd suspect if somehow someone at IBM had really stepped on the wrong foot).

Indeed. It's a bit of a strange migration. To pick another detail, why are they switching system management software at the same time? The Tivoli software they were using will manage Linux and AIX just as well as it manages mainframes. Throwing an extra software migration in to the mix just adds risk, surely?

(Opinions mine, not IBM's.)

Brighten your day! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161179)

Sunshine! [flyinglow.ca]

Word from Redmond is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161217)

Now I need a Microsoft license to legally buy stocks.

(c'mon, mod me up - that was funny)

quick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161229)

Short msft I guess?

Don't worry (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161571)

That feature will be in the msftsht.o kernel module. Should be hitting the production kernel repository... about... now...

 

In News Yet To Be Released News (3, Funny)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161247)

Microsoft says New York Stock Exchange infringes on Microsoft's patent "Letter C in System". Microsoft broad patent invoking the use of the letter C on a file system has some industry experts worried. "We were completely unaware that Microsoft had the rights to the letter c on any operating system. This is going to cost us enormously. We thought we would save twice as much money, but with this frivolous lawsuit pending, we stand to lose four times as much" stated an anonymous expert at the NYSE." Microsoft's shared plummeted after an irrate Linux developer injected a logicbomb code on NYSE servers.

The savings comparison seems misleading (3, Insightful)

Ace905 (163071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161259)

The article makes it sound like transactions are on a cost-per basis, "[Francis Feldman] estimates the move will halve the cost of transactions" -- does that make any sense?

I think the author of the article got into a tangent with him about how many transactions they do, and what their operating costs are and then incorrectly made the correlation that there is a cost-per-transaction from a computing stand-point. That can't be true. You don't insert fifties into the A: drive.

Look at it this way: If they make the big switch, and all of a sudden they can handle double-the-transactions per day - that would halve the cost of transactions. Only there's not going to all of a sudden be double-the-transactions. They're still working with the same number of transactions.

If they halve their staff, and they do the same number of transactions than that halves their costs. But what if tuesday is a slow day, and they only do 60% of their normal business? They're still paying for all the staff, electricity and third party support.

Am I wrong, or is it unlikely they can correlate a cost per transaction in this case?

---
This is completely free. [douginadress.com]

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161433)

I think the author of the article got into a tangent with him about how many transactions they do, and what their operating costs are and then incorrectly made the correlation that there is a cost-per-transaction from a computing stand-point. That can't be true. You don't insert fifties into the A: drive.

You're taking that way too literally. They're currently spending $X on managing transactions; the new system is projected to cost $X/2. The article doesn't have the precise cost-per-transaction details you're claiming are there.

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

Ace905 (163071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161591)

I'm just mentioning those two scenarios so that nobody responds with them calling me an idiot. The bottom line is (if I'm correct) you can't say you're halving the cost per transaction. That would be like saying you're doubling your output. Either phrase is misleading to a potential investor.

And while it's 'just semantics', in a financial article it's sort of the entire point.

You're still an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161893)

No, you're still an idiot. They're charging per transaction. Therefore, the cost per transaction is what matters. Their costs from IBM were performance based, and the number of machines in their cluster will grow with the increase in volume, so the cost per transaction is still a very good metric. Learn a little about finance, slashtard.

Re:You're still an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162081)

Parent makes some valid points, although his tone could stand some improvement. But I'd decided not to get into that in my first reply to you since, again, the article isn't even claiming the per-transaction advantages you're arguing about.

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161975)

if the number of transactions doubld, you would need more infrastructure to deal with hit

hence a correlation

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161455)

You don't insert fifties into the A: drive.
Huh. So that's why my computer keeps breaking down.

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161627)

First let me tell you I work at a shop that runs an IBM mainframe. We pay extra based on CPU utilization. So if your a little busier one day versus the other, you pay extra. In fact we spend hours and hours trying to make our Jobs run faster and lower the MF CPU and offload CPU usage to distributed platforms.

think the author of the article got into a tangent with him about how many transactions they do, and what their operating costs are and then incorrectly made the correlation that there is a cost-per-transaction from a computing stand-point. That can't be true. You don't insert fifties into the A: drive. -- Like I said, they pay per CPU cycle and based on a sliding scale of % utilized. Distributed systems like AIX or LINUX don't have this cost.

Look at it this way: If they make the big switch, and all of a sudden they can handle double-the-transactions per day - that would halve the cost of transactions. Only there's not going to all of a sudden be double-the-transactions. They're still working with the same number of transactions. -- Not paying per cycle to IBM for licensing will decrease costs substantially.

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

Ace905 (163071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161703)

Thank you.

I thought maybe the article was correct, but I didn't understand how it could be.

---
incorrect! [douginadress.com]

CPT is a common metric in financial industry. (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161641)

"Transaction cost" is a common metric in the financial-processing world; rather than just talking about cost-per-quarter, they take the cost of the equipment and then divide it out by the number of transactions they process.

It's not the greatest metric in the world, but it does provide some ability to compare "efficiency" across systems. But it's a little misplaced in all but the most predictable workloads, because it's not like your operating costs are really going to fluctuate with the number of transactions you process that day. The system is basically going to cost the same amount regardless; if you process fewer transactions, the CPT just went up even though nothing on the systems side changed. But for someone like the NYSE where the overall number of transactions is predictable, it's probably not a bad way to compare options.

More on CPT [ibm.com] . (Incidentally I think it was people looking to stabilize CPT that led to the interest a while back about 'metered computing,' where you'd outsource your IT stuff to someone and basically get a bill at the end of the month, and your bill really would reflect the workload that month, basically giving you a flat cost-per-transaction. Apparently this is very attractive to some people due to their accounting methods, although maybe not enough to sell them on it.)

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

SirKron (112214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161795)

Have you ever purchased stocks? They charge by trasactions and therefore they want to know their cost per trasaction so they know their their profit. If you had a factory and you made widgets, wouldn't you want to know your cost per widget? And yes, you are right, there are many factors that can skew your cost per transaction. But in the end all they want is to know if they are making a profit and where to cut costs to make a bigger profit.

Re:The savings comparison seems misleading (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161891)

Only there's not going to all of a sudden be double-the-transactions. They're still working with the same number of transactions.

Problem is, transactions are following same exponential growth pattern as... CPU speed... but faster.

all those reports... (1)

Grinin (1050028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161275)

Its funny because about a month ago I recall still seeing Microsoft ads that say "NY Stock Exchange" powered by MS SQL Server. "Stock Exchange saves money and gains stability with MS blah blah blah"

Re:all those reports... (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161507)

i'll bet that is one of those MS patents!

they patented using their software for use on the NY Stock exchange!

Re:all those reports... (1)

KingJ (992358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161725)

Would be even funnier if those adverts actually did mention the NY Stock Exchange, as opposed to the London stock exchange which featured in the ad.

NASDAQ (3, Informative)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161347)

The NASDAQ also uses Unix. They use fault-tolerant Unix boxes from HP (formerly Tandem).

NASDAQ is an M$ shop (2, Informative)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161859)

Actually, NASDAQ switched to Microsoft and SqlServer 2005 roughly 18 months ago [computerworld.com] . Nasdaq bills themselves as "the stock market for the next hundred years" -- I wonder how long they will stick with MS SQL Server?

Re:NASDAQ is an M$ shop (1)

sashapup (1025115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162233)

It used to be worse than that. The client systems that they sent to Stock Traders of any large-ish volume was SCO Unix prior to the MS switch. I used to dread the phone calls from the stock traders that I used to work with when that sucker would throw craps. oi.

To quote Keanu Reeves, "Whoa" (4, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161361)

To test Clerity, Feldman and his team collected some batch and CICS application code, sent it to Clerity and said he would be at Clerity's development center in 24 hours to see the results. Clerity passed.


Now that's service. I realize it's only compiling one code into another form but being able to take the code, compile it into what you need AND still have it work correctly in a 24 hour period is no easy feat.

If nothing else, other firms will look at this migration to an aix/linux platform and see the cost benefits of doing so. After all, if the NYSE has done it, it can't be a bad thing.

Will They be Passing Those Savings On? (1, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161381)

Would anyone be surprised if the exchange captured most of those cost savings for themselves?

I think another post is onto something:
1. IBM screwed up the relationship so badly that the NYSE is walking away.
2. IBM has some other, greater, revenue opportunity.
3. Something is going on inside IBM where the sales people can steal each other's customers.

Thin on details - Unikix has been around time (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161397)

Unikix has been around since the early 90's. Moving gobs of COBOL II, JCL, and JES2/3 over has been done and redone. The real challenge is what to do with CICS? CICS code can be pretty damn hard to port with the same performance criteria. A well built CICS system can approach an RTOS in real time transaction performance. But the architectural complexity is a hard problem to solve in another system architecture. For instance one way to get CICS to fly is to run it as a continuous communications task in its own LPAR. I don't know how you do that in AIX which tends to be more queue driven. But maybe they solved that problem.

And for you who have a question about AIX, that's an IBM product too so are the servers it runs on. So from a cost perspective they're still paying IBM either way. I suspect also that they're running a UDB/DB2 back end database already which is why they're moving to AIX - DB2.

This will be interesting. (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161457)

Trades executed on the floor of the NYSE are matched and sent by the mainframe to The Depository Trust and Clearing Corp., which clears and settles the trades. At night the mainframe handles batch processing and supports regulatory requirements.

I was once involved in a migration from mainframe to a distributed architecture for a billing and invoice system that would process 4 million transaction in an 8 hour period. It didn't work well; even with the hottest *NIX boxes available. The mainframe's performance was that superior. That was in 2000. I will be real curious if they get it to work and I hope someone posts an article here on the results when the time comes. (I'll forget all about this by the time it's implemented - I'm getting old.)

Re:This will be interesting. (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161517)

Oops! I am getting old! I meant 4 million invoices that had multiple transactions had to be printed.

Sweet! (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161525)

transactions are going to cost half as much on Unix and Linux as they did on the mainframe

And I'm sure they'll pass those savings along to the consumer. :-)

Didn't they ge the memo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161527)

Linux, infrindges bajillions of microsoft patents,
so they will have to switch back over and when they do they
wont be able to use xp as it wont be on sale but will be forced
to move to vista everywhere.

Why not Microsoft? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19161543)

I mean, the little box on Slashdot keeps on reminding me that the London Stock Exchange has achieved record reliability by switching to Windows!

Misleading Headline (2, Informative)

SpaFF (18764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161545)

Actually, according to TFA they are doing most of the work on AIX with some Linux boxes on the front end for "ftp" data transfers.

actually it's aix (3, Informative)

portscan (140282) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161595)

the trades will be managed by aix and linux will just be used for "ftp transfers on the front end." this would be bulk data transfers, not data feeds and all i/o as other might have suggested. i can pretty much guarantee you that the nyse is not processing trades and sending out live market data (to bloomberg, retuters, etc.) by ftp.

also, i am somewhat concerned by this move in light of the trading disruption at the end of february where the existing (mainframe, i presume) trading systems could not handle all the trades and the data feeds were way behind the actual prices of the securities. i know the nyse is a public for-profit company now, so it's silly to talk about "public interest" but shouldn't there be some regulation about the capacity of their IT infrastructure to make sure that their cost-cutting doesn't cause another 4% decrease in stock market value on an abnormally high trading day?

Linux is not a replacement for Mainframes (1, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161783)

Enough of the ignorant "Linux is the greatest!" drivel...

They made a bad financial desicion.

Any savings they think they made in the hardware, licensing and support costs will be lost many times over as soon as the system makes a small error or goes down.

This is the reason why financial transactions still use mainframes.

Mainframes [wikipedia.org] are unique in their integration and optimization between the hardware and the operating system they run. It gives you a level of performance, integrity and fault tolerance which cannot be achieved by taking generic hardware and sticking Linux on top.

They probably thought (ironically like the stockmarket does) that in the short term there is significant savings to be made switching the system to generic hardware and linux. In the long term however they will be faced with more expensive and frequent maintenance and upgrade cycles. Mainframes on the otherhand are scalable almost to infinity and you pay for the reliablity and maintenance upfront when you purchase the system.

What they could've done is buy a new mainframe and run their application level with virtualized Linuxes. After all this is what mainframes are good at.

Re:Linux is not a replacement for Mainframes (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161959)

I beg to differ. It's not 1997 anymore. Technology has changed since then and you can in fact get full fault tolerance with proper implementation.

Mission-critical stuff uses HP NonStop (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161853)

I thought it was well-known that the mission critical NYSE back-end database ran HP NonStop hardware and software (formerly Tandem). The NYSE has lots of systems...I'm sure they are moving some stuff to x86 Linux, but I really doubt they are replacing the NonStop systems with Linux.

Too bad... (2, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161947)

I worked at a world-wide bank that ran its entire operations on a pair of ES/9000 mainframes from IBM and, while insanely expensive, requiring a full-time staff of 12 people (for each machine), requiring a separate floor on the building, etc. etc., I have still never seen anything that came close to the horsepower these things had. They simply wiped the floor with everything else out there.

As an example, it calculated a person's balance by starting with their opening balance, then went down the vsam file, adding and subtracting amounts, till it reached the bottom and gave the total. This process was instantaneous, even given all the other things it was doing.

Sure there are better ways to do it, like storing the data in a real RDMS, using a trigger to update a "balance" field so it's a quick query instead of a lot of calculations, etc., but I wonder if so much of what we do is simply making the best of essentially a hardware deficiency; the baddest Intel-based Linux box probably couldn't do what this 20 year old mainframe can do, so we make it do the same thing but in different ways.

Working with the mainframe programmers, all Cobol folks, made me think always of that great Dilbert cartoon of the smug Unix guy giving Wally a nickel and saying "get yourself a real computer" ... these people did not worry about efficiency for the most part simply because the machine was so fast, they didn't need to.

So ultimately it's too bad that mainframes, for all their horsepower, really do resemble, to a certain extent, the moniker "dinosaur" in that their mammoth bulk simply couldn't get them out of the tar pits of cost and space.

The coda to this is that, once you've used JSO on TSO, every Unix command looks like it's written in the Queen's English by comparison.

As much as I like linux (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162185)

I never trust cost savings estimates by business leaders.

They get raises, bonuses and promotions based on cheery estimations and then leave before the full costs come home to roost.

Still- linux should be a lot less expensive so they have a chance of saving *some* money.
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