Reuters has forged an alliance with HP, Intel Corporation and Red Hat to make Reuters Market Data System (RMDS) available on Intel-based servers running Linux, the open source operating system.
RMDS, Reuters next generation of market data system, represents the evolution path for the company's massive installed base, which is currently using either the Reuters Triarch system or Tibco's TIB Market Data Distribution System. With these two previously competitive solutions representing the overwhelming majority of installed market data platforms among large financial institutions worldwide, this new announcement could have major significance for trading room technology professionals.
Previously Reuters had pursued an open systems strategy for its market data systems - ie Unix - with Sun Microsystem's Solaris operating system being the predominant flavour of Unix installed. If Reuters is able to migrate a significant proportion of its customer base onto Linux, it will be a major victory in proving the resilience of the open source operating system to support business critical computing.
The move allows financial institutions using Intel Architecture (IA) and Linux to reduce the cost and improve the flexibility and performance of their market data platforms, say the companies.
Reuters' says that its decision to support RMDS on Linux comes in response to the growing interest and deployment of the operating system within the financial services industry. Clearly, adopting a lower cost operating system and hardware platform will also make the overall RMDS package more price competitive to financial institutions.
Tom McDonald, executive director at Morgan Stanley, commented: “Linux on Intel is an important evolutionary platform for Morgan Stanley. Support for this platform from Reuters is important to our efforts and is strategic to Morgan Stanley.”
While following a lead given by its customers, Reuters may well have to tread delicately in its relationships with other technology vendors. Sun Microsystems previously enjoyed a lucrative business providing its Solaris-based servers to run Reuters various market data systems. Now that Solaris appears to be off the menu and Linux seems to be the preferred platform, Reuters has ignored Sun's recently announced decision to ship its own Linux servers. Elsewhere in its business, Reuters also has a close relationship with Microsoft, to whom the appearance of the cuddly Linux Penguin is always distinctly unwelcome.
The four companies will now jointly participate in the porting, testing and optimisation of RMDS on IA with Linux. The service will run on Intel Xeon processor and Intel Itanium processor family-based servers from HP. A version of RMDS on this platform is due to begin testing in the third quarter of this year. While a statement from Mike Sayers, Reuters chief technology officer (CTO), references potential support for other Linux platforms, this is only in due course, in the short term at least HP, IA and Red Hat Linux appears to be the primary platform for RMDS.
Reuters Consulting, working with HP Services, will provide customers with a range of migration services, including initial review and application audit, development of Linux application architecture and migration, through to ongoing support.
Mike Sayers, Reuters CTO, said: “Our customers see RMDS on Intel-based servers and Linux as an important way to reduce their costs of operation and improve their service, so it was quite natural that we should bring the two together. The support Linux enjoys from a broad range of hardware vendors also makes it an excellent fit with Reuters policy of open systems. We are pleased to bring the Linux version of RMDS to market first on the HP, Intel and Red Hat platform. Working with these industry leaders will ensure that RMDS on Linux provides the stability, performance, and integrity that our customers have come to expect from us.”