Male C. Pig a.k.a. Svinopolist (piggymouse) wrote,
Male C. Pig a.k.a. Svinopolist

Another Case Study in Exchange IT Failure

More about exchange IT infrastructure and .NET-based enterprise software. The story below was happening in 2009 — very old piece of news indeed.

Computer World, September 2008

It should have been a great day on the London Stock Exchange. The U.S. government had announced on the Sunday before that it was coming to the rescue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Trading would have been extremely brisk, but then, at 9:15 AM GMT, the Exchange's software failed due to "connectivity issues." Six hours and 45 minutes later, the London Exchange, along with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which uses the LSE's trading platform TradElect, were finally back up.

That was no consolation to traders. As Reuters reported, "We have the biggest takeover in the history of the known world … and then we can't trade. It's terrible," one trader said.

So what really happened? I doubt we'll ever get a detailed, nitty-gritty explanation, but I have friends in London and… Well, let me just make the following points about TradElect. First, TradElect runs on more than a 100 HP ProLiant servers in several locations in London. These servers are running Windows Server 2003.

On top of this runs the TradElect software itself. This is a custom set of C# and .NET programs, which was created by Microsoft and Accenture, the global consulting firm. Its back-end databases, believe it or not, run on Microsoft SQL Server 2000. The goal was to maintain sub-ten millisecond response times. In short, it's meant to be a real-time system.

The programmers and serious database administrators in the audience can already see where this is going. Sorry, Microsoft, .NET Framework is simply incapable of performing this kind of work, and SQL Server 2000, or any version of SQL Server really, can't possibly handle the world's number three stock exchange's transaction load on a consistent basis.

Computer World, July 2009

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

Since then, the CEO that brought TradElect to the LSE, Clara Furse, has left without saying why she was leaving. Sources in the City of London's equivalent of New York City's Wall Street tell me that TradElect's failure was the final straw for her tenure. The new CEO, Xavier Rolet, is reported to have immediately decided to put an end to TradElect.

TradElect runs on HP ProLiant servers running, in turn, Windows Server 2003. The TradElect software itself is a custom blend of C# and .NET programs, which was created by Microsoft and Accenture, the global consulting firm. On the back-end, it relied on Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Its goal was to maintain sub-ten millisecond response times, real-time system speeds, for stock trades.

It never, ever came close to achieving these performance goals. Worse still, the LSE's competition, such as its main rival Chi-X with its MarketPrizm trading platform software, was able to deliver that level of performance and in general it was running rings about TradElect. Three guesses what MarketPrizm runs on and the first two don't count. The answer is Linux.

Computer Weekly, September 2009

The London Stock Exchange is dumping its TradElect core trading platform in favour of a system from Sri Lanka-based MillenniumIT, Computer Weekly can reveal.

The exchange has been looking to replace TradElect after recognising that it is no longer competitive in an increasingly congested market. It said it could either buy a system or upgrade the current one.

The stock exchange announced in June that it will replace TradElect, which was introduced two years ago and developed using Microsoft's .net framework. The project to design, build and implement TradElect took four years and cost £40m.

Of course, they simply stopped trading. They didn't abandon pre-execution verification completely, like RTS did today, mind you.

Tags: finance, technology

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