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RHEL 5.1 breaks transaction processing records in financial services

Record-breaking transaction processing rates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) will fuel adoption of RHEL within the financial sector, says Red Hat VP Scott Crenshaw.

In late April, Red Hat Inc. set two new benchmarks in financial services: processing transactions in less than a millisecond with greater accuracy than previously recorded. The Securities Technology Analysis Center , an independent testing firm for the securities industry, obtained the results of running Reuters Market Data System 6.0 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 (RHEL) on IBM BladeCenter H hardware. Scott Crenshaw, the vice president of Red Hat's Platform Business Unit, talks about the impact of the test results for Red Hat's future growth in the financial services sector.

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What is the significance of these processing speeds for Red Hat?
Scott Crenshaw: In the financial services industry, the speed with which you get information is the difference between making money and losing money. It's hugely important. RHEL was 2.4 times faster than Sun and much faster than anything ever tested. With more capacity, the business runs better and customers are more satisfied. Second, the low deviation means more predictable results, with less additional equipment required to ensure accuracy. So you have more data, faster, which gives you competitive advantage and lets you save money on extra capacity for meeting a given service level.

How did you achieve this improvement?
In the financial services industry, the speed with which you get information is the difference between making money and losing money.
Scott Crenshaw,
VP, Platform Business UnitRed Hat Inc.
Crenshaw: It was based on RHEL 5.1. Red Hat constantly benchmarks and optimizes its operating system which lets us quickly identify bottlenecks and improve performance with thousands of incremental optimizations. Example innovations [that] delivered significant performance gains include improvements in the job scheduler, memory management system and the I/O subsystem.

How does fast performance affect IT managers and data centers?
Crenshaw: This is one more critical proof point for IT managers from all industries that to run more cost-effectively, they should migrate to Red Hat open source. The first few years, people wondered if we were as good as Unix, but the adoption curve and growth rate make clear that we crossed that barrier a long time ago. Now this provides evidence that we are the best bar none for mission-critical applications. Our performance is so strong that you can meet service-level targets and buy less hardware to do it. And by standardizing on Red Hat's open source architecture, you get significant operational efficiencies, reducing administrative costs and increasing security.

Open source has been slow to gain financial sector converts. How much business do you do in this area?
Crenshaw: Financial services' [adoption of Red Hat] extends back five or six years. [Financial services] was the earliest adopter of [RHEL]. Nearly all the major Wall Street banks are large customers of ours, and they are growing usage quite rapidly. The only Wall Street firm that isn't an RHEL user is Bear Stearns.

What operating system does Red Hat typically replace?
Crenshaw: Historically, a lot growth has been for new operations or displacement of Unix. Increasingly, Windows customers [are turning to Red Hat] for better performance, reliability and scalability. They want to avoid the blue screen of death.

How do your customers use RHEL?
Crenshaw: Broadly based. Transmitting market data, automated trade applications, core database applications, on x86, core mainframes, IBM System z and everything in between. The new trend is to build flexible pools of capacity that can be deployed moment to moment. Red Hat Linux Automation lets you build clouds of capacity for any application. Clearly, this is the new trend on Wall Street and other places.

How will these test results give you an edge?
Crenshaw: It's an additional validation of what the industry already knows, combined with the performance we are seeing on virtualization, enterprise resource planning and similar applications. It helps more people and organizations see why open source software should be part of every company's strategy.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Pam Derringer, News Writer.

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