Friday, October 13, 2006

John Davies podcast on the current Investment Banking Technology Stack

In this podcast, taken from a keynote presentation given at TSSJS-Europe, C24 co-founder and CTO John Davies discusses the technology stack that is currently used by most of the investment banks. (Those of us who work in the industry have seen these trends, but it is good to get this type of info out in the open :))

Some of the highlights (in no particular order):

A typical stack
  • Excel (in his view is the only part of the Microsoft stack that is 'necessary' because it is the tool of choice by traders. Better not tell that to all of the people building rich .NET clients :))
  • Tibco/RV (as well as being high performance, it integrates well with Microsoft technologies)
  • MQSeries (aka MQ or WebSphereMQ), and often using JMS to interact with MQ rather than the native MQ API
  • A J2EE or more "light-weight" Java application server stack
Application Servers

WebLogic/WebSphere/JBoss are still heavily used but are on the way out. New projects must justify the use of an application server. If they can't justify an application server then they need to use a more light-weight stack such as Tomcat/Spring/Hibernate.

No more EJBs!

Entity Beans in particular have been "banned for years".

Open Source

It's not just the low cost that banks find attractive, its more that the source code is always available of needed - no worries about the company that makes the product going broke or stopping development/innovation/support of the product.

AMQ - Messaging will become a commodity

AMQ, a wire-level protocol which a number of vendors are cooperating on, is set to commoditize messaging - and break the back of Tibco and IBM who charge lots of money for RV and MQ licenses! JP are already running two implementations of AMQ internally. RedHat will ship AMQ implementations with its operating system packages.

Databases are dead - Long live the database!

Your traditional relational database - Oracle, Sybase, etc - are on the way out. Memory is so cheap that finanacial systems are now loading a database into memory at the start of the day and dumping the modified data back out at the end of the day. Mr Davies was very careful to point out that these were in-memory databases and not caches, but didn't go into details about how integrity was preserved if the server power failed.

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