London Stock Exchange's Linux move hits trouble

The London Stock Exchange's move to a new low-latency trading platform based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has met with a few hiccoughs - but the LSE claims the platform isn't to blame.

Following the first use of the Millennium Exchange in anger earlier this week, a glitch resulted a delay of almost a minute to the end-of-day trading. While that might not sound like much, when the whole point of the new Linux-based platform was to reduce trading delays by a matter of milliseconds, it's a bit of a disaster.

While that problem has yet to repeat itself, traders are complaining of other issues with the new platform. Some, including wire service Reuters, are seeing phantom figures where stock values are reset to zero just before an update. Others are complaining of 'stale' values being presented instead of live data.

The LSE, however, feels that the move to the new platform is proceeding smoothly - and that any problems its customers are experiencing are pretty much self-inflicted.

"A couple of market data vendors have experienced some specific issues aligning to the new Millennium Exchange platform and we are actively working with them to help resolve their issues," the Exchange said in a statement. "All other trading customers and vendors are successfully trading on the new platform, benefitting from Millennium Exchange’s superior functionality and speed."

"This was a complex migration and the LSE worked with all of our 400+ member firms and vendors over a period of 15 months to ensure third parties were ready for the go-live," the Exchange continued - suggesting that any partners that are having problems integrating into the new system should have paid more attention during the 15-month trial period.

While any move to a new system - let alone one of the complexity of the London Stock Exchange - will be met with glitches and hiccoughs, this is a testing time for the new platform. With many in the finance industry looking to the Millennium Exchange as a proof-of-concept that shows the suitability of Linux for such mission-critical use, the LSE - and SUSE Linux owner Novell - will be keen to iron out the last few niggles as quickly as possible.