Reuters To Run Market Data System On Intel And Linux

Move is designed to offer clients more power at half the cost.
In a move to provide its Wall Street clients more than twice the power at half the cost, Reuters said Monday that its Unix-based Reuters Market Data System software will run on Intel-based servers and Linux. Market Data System lets financial-services companies and banks integrate market data with their own services and deliver this content--orders, quotes, and news--out to clients. Reuters, which since 2001 has offered its software to clients to run exclusively on Sun Solaris, now will also provide a version designed to run on Red Hat's Advanced Server and Hewlett-Packard's ProLiant servers.

In addition to tipping its cap to the growing popularity of Linux and open-source programming, Reuters is also driving down the cost of its software. "Comparing Unix and Linux like-for-like, we found that we get two-to-five times the amount of throughput messages per second on one of the Intel boxes than a Sun Sparc box, at half the cost," says Casey Merkey, Reuters' Market Data System global Linux program manager.

In May, Reuters chose Compaq's ProLiant server line as the primary platform for its new Linux software, just as Compaq was merging into HP. The $5.7 billion provider of news and financial information says HP's prowess as a Linux vendor--HP says it sold $2 billion worth of Linux-based products last year--gave Reuters the confidence to stick with the newly merged company. The Red Hat version of Reuters Market Data System will run primarily on ProLiant's Pentium 4-based DL320 G2 and Xeon-based DL360 G3 and DL 560 servers. The company says six beta customers have been using the Linux software since October.

Intel says it was also instrumental in bringing Reuters Market Data System to Linux, having last year organized roundtables for investment firms to find out how they wanted to adopt Linux. "Companies told us they wanted Reuters to be part of their Linux environment," says Tom Gibbs, Intel's director of industry marketing.

This shift from RISC-based Unix to Intel-based Linux won't have a negative impact on the software's performance, says Giga Research fellow Rob Enderle. "The issue with Linux has been the level of risk," Enderle says. "If there's a problem with the operating system, it's harder for a CIO to justify its use because Linux isn't yet mainstream--but it's pretty close."

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