Linux stars in Mission Critical
Linux is growing out of Unix's shadow and handling mission-critical tasks on its own. Check out its role at the NSE.THE National Stock Exchange (NSE) was one of the first exchanges in the country tointroduce instruments such as derivatives (which are similar to equity) where you trade infutures and options.NSE had a Unix-based system in place for equity trading, but felt the need for a more cost-effective risk management solution for its derivatives segment. The team working on theproject had to consider various issues. Real-time throughput was required to analyse traderisk factors. The team also had to ensure that the system wouldn't collapse under high loads.Linear scalability was another key issue.Says G M Shenoy, senior vice president of NSE.IT, "NSE was looking at large amounts of computation. There were more than 1,000 trading members and over 200 clearing members.Initially we were looking at around 50 trades per second, which would mean 100 value at risk (VAR-a term for risk analysis that has been defined and approved by economists)computations/second. Parallelism was the only answer."
A Linux cluster
After considering various options, it was decided to go for a Linux cluster computing solution,initially on an experimental basis. The development team decided to use a cluster of inexpensive Linux-based machines powered by Intel processors, and use MPIS (messagepassing interface standard) for clustering infrastructure, with a switched Ethernet 100 Mbpsnetwork. It was decided to use multiprocessor hardware to handle non-parallel componentssuch as data sharing.During this experimental period, R&D was conducted on the platform to ascertain therobustness of the system and to demonstrate the use of Linux for a real business applicationrequiring high-level floating point computations at high performance levels.The concept worked. From there on it was a matter of fine-tuning and putting it intoproduction.
The answer is Prism