OpenMAMA Offers Open-Source Messaging

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Financial services firms and the Linux Foundation announce OpenMAMA messaging API

The Linux Foundation has announced that several leaders in the financial services industry have joined forces to announce OpenMAMA, a new open-source project to deliver a high-performance messaging interface that can speed time to market for new applications.

The foundation said Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, EMC, Exegy, Fixnetix, J.P. Morgan and NYSE Technologies will form the steering group to collaborate on OpenMAMA, a high-performance Middleware Agnostic Messaging API (MAMA) that provides a common, consistent layer over a variety of message-oriented middlewares.

Neutral framework

OpenMAMA will be hosted by The Linux Foundation, which provides a neutral framework and governance infrastructure on top of which communities can innovate. The OpenMAMA Project announced version 1.1 of OpenMAMA on 31 October.

According to the Linux Foundation, until now there has not been a common open-source API that connects multiple transports to applications. The move to high-volume, low-latency messaging in multiple market has created the need for an open-source project and standard. The OpenMAMA project will provide a way for companies to collaborate across industries and accelerate adoption of this common API for any architecture.

As a middleware-agnostic project, OpenMAMA enables users to embrace new middleware technologies and applications as the market changes. It also helps organisations speed time to market for “event-driven” applications and ensures high performance, both in terms of throughput and message latency, according to foundation officials.

In a 31 October blog post, Michael Schonberg, director of high performance messaging at NYSE Euronext, said:

“The initial release which is available today consists of the MAMA C API for Linux only; however, rest assured that we intend to open the entire MAMA code base including C++, Java (JNI), and .NET bindings as well as Windows and Solaris support over the next few months. We will provide the additional components and functionality incrementally with the goal of completing the process in the first quarter of 2012.”


“The open source development model is powerful,” Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, said in a statement. “By collaborating on the OpenMAMA project, companies can accelerate technology advancements while adapting to industry changes. By providing support and infrastructure for important projects like OpenMAMA, we can help advance Linux and open source software.”

The financial services industry is often recognised for developing advanced technologies that accelerate complex transactions. Linux has become the dominant operating system in this environment due, in part, to its ability to support the largest number of complex transactions in real-time, Linux Foundation officials said. For example, NYSE, which is the world’s largest exchange and runs on Linux, generates 1.5 million quotes and processes 250,000 orders every second.

Companies in financial services, telecommunications and high-performance computing (HPC), among other industries, are looking to open-source software and best practices to drive similar innovation at the middleware level.

OpenMAMA is complementary to the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), which JPMorgan Chase and many of the OpenMAMA backers also support. AMQP is a message-oriented middleware while MAMA is an abstraction layer that allows the same code to leverage multiple middlewares – potentially at the same time. If AMQP provides a MAMA bridge, then existing and new MAMA applications will be able to use AMQP as a transport without any code changes, Linux Foundation officials said.

Banks and hedge funds

The MAMA API was originally conceived in 2002 to enable banks and hedge funds to distribute market data throughout their ticker plants regardless of the underlying middleware. This resulted in reduced development times, lower costs and broader support for a range of interconnected systems and applications.

“By open sourcing our MAMA API and collaborating with so many of our respected peers on the steering group, NYSE Technologies is proud to help shape a capital markets community that can share the most innovative technologies from a range of service providers alongside its market participants,” NYSE Technologies chief executive Stanley Young said in a statement. “We know that this kind of collaboration can accelerate technology adoption and technical advancement in some very interesting ways.”

“Collaborative development is critical to accelerating market adoption of technologies that can benefit everyone – from the developers to the consumers of technology,” Doug Fisher, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Systems Software Division, said in a statement. “The OpenMAMA Project will help foster strong adoption of a common messaging API starting in financial services followed closely by other industries, such as telecommunications and high-performance computing.”

OpenMAMA joins a variety of other projects hosted by the organisation as part of Linux Foundation Labs. Companies that participate on projects hosted at The Linux Foundation use collaboration to advance Linux and open source technologies. A new course offered by The Linux Foundation titled “Practical Guide to Open Source Development” helps companies understand this process.

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