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Reuters Catching Linux Wave

Financial information and data provider Reuters , catching the open source wave among enterprise users, is now offering major market data applications on Linux-based operating systems.

The New York-based Reuters announced Monday that its Market Data System (RMDS), a platform used by thousands of traders in the financial services industry, is now available on Intel-based HP ProLiant servers running Red Hat's Linux Advanced Server.

In an alliance with HP , Intel and Red Hat , Reuters called the switch from Unix operating systems to a Linux open source system the "first major commercial example of the open systems movement in financial services thus far."

The switch by Reuters from legacy, Unix-based systems to power the latest version of a major market data platform is expected to help its customers save on the cost of developing new clients and applications, especially as customers upgrade from prior RMDS systems. Older as well as other versions of the RMDS platform run on Sun Microsystem's Solaris servers built for Unix operating systems.

The RMDS platform helps customers integrate real-time market data and news and customize those applications for their internal trading systems. The system is used by most if not all of the major trading operations in the financial services world.

Reuters said the four partners in the alliance worked together in the porting of applications to the open source servers, including testing how RMDS performed on HP ProLiant servers running Red Hat Linux Advanced Server.

Evan Bauer, a former chief technology officer for a Wall Street investment bank, said Reuters is responding to pent-up demand among clients who want to upgrade major applications to lower-cost operating systems.

"Look at who's releasing major products in Linux," said Bauer, now a Principal Research Fellow of the Robert Frances Group. "All the tool builders are, the database companies are. In terms of someone taking a major product aimed at banks and brokerages, and to have a Tier 1 release on Linux, this is probably a first," he added.

"Increasingly, the financial services industry is deploying Linux systems because of the price/performance benefits over Unix/RISC, the ease of porting applications from Unix to Linux and the flexibility and lack of vendor lock-in of a Linux solution," according to Stacey Quandt, research analyst, Giga Information Group.

Casey Merkey, Reuters' global program manager for RMDS, said the dual processor machines necessary for the RMDS were ideal for porting the platform to an open-source operating system, compared to massive, multi-processor servers and legacy operating systems that are needed for larger enterprise applications.