18 June 2003
Sun Bundles up to FIX Financial Services Industry
Sun Microsystems has teamed up with two software companies to
offer low-cost financial information exchange (FIX) bundles for the
financial services community running on Intel-based Linux or Sun
Solaris platforms, it announced on Tuesday.
FIX is a messaging protocol based on XML that was developed for
the financial industry so users could conduct securities
transactions in real time. David Littlewood, director of financial
services for Sun, in Menlo Park, Calif., said that FIX is becoming
the de facto standard in this industry.
"The more people that use it, the easier it becomes for
different parties in the securities industry to communicate
together," he said. "So if you want to place a trade you can use a
standard messaging protocol because you can assume that the
exchange at the other end will receive messages in a FIX
FIX is commonly deployed in large securities firms that conduct
trades, called "sellers", such as Merrill Lynch and The Goldman
Sachs Group, but the same level of adoption has not been seen on
the buyer side, Littlewood said.
"The buyer side customer hasn't typically invested in technology
the same way the sell side has. They are typically looking for a
lower cost solution. They don't need the same scale and levels of
throughput the Merrill Lynches of this world require," he said.
That's why Sun has worked with two of its software partners -
B2BITS, based in London, and Financial Fusion, a division of Sybase
based in Concord, Mass. - to create low-cost FIX products, he
"The market dynamic that we're seeing is that people are looking
to get access to commodity hardware," Littlewood said.
Sun will be pre-installing B2BITS' FIXEdge or Financial Fusion's
GlobalFix Lite on its Sun Fire LX50 server, running Red Hat Linux
on an Intel Pentium III processor. Users can also buy the software
pre-configured to run on Sun's Solaris x86 Platform Edition, the
B2BITS and Financial Fusion are competitors in the FIX
"They compete openly, but for the purposes of this they've
actually both worked with us to provide a solution, and the price
for both is the same," Littlewood said.
In the near future, Sun also plans to offer the two software
packages on its Sun Fire v60x and Sun Fire v65x servers, with
either Red Hat Linux or the Solaris x86 Platform Edition.
If users intend to deploy up to four processors Sun recommends
they select Linux, but if they're looking for a more scalable
solution Sun says Solaris is the best choice.
These bundles cost $2,500 per month for a three-year lease
regardless of configuration.
"Sun has a strong presence in the financial space and there's
obviously an interest in Intel-based servers in the financial
space," said Gordon Haff, senior analyst and IT advisor at
Sun introduced Intel-based servers last year, but continues to
sell servers based on its 64-bit UltraSparc chips as well.
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