Stock Exchange Blames Data Dissemination For Outage

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London traders lost valuable trading time after the London Stock Exchange experienced a five-hour outage

The London Stock Exchange has admitted that a data dissemination issue was to blame for the collapse of trading on its UK cash markets on Friday morning.

Speaking to eWEEK Europe UK, a LSE spokesperson confirmed that a data dissemination issue was the culprit.

“The problem was identified at 7.54am this morning, and the market was paused at 8.03am (which means that no trading was going on),” said the LSE spokesperson. “It resumed 12.15pm on Friday. The problem was a real-time data dissemination issue – i.e. pushing out real time data and prices for traders.”

New System

The five hour outage is embarrassing considering that the LSE only migrated its UK cash markets to a new Novell SUSE platform on Monday 14 February.

The new system was installed by the Sri Lankan developer MilleniumIT (acquired by the LSE in 2009), with the switch-over being hailed as the biggest technological change since the introduction of electronic trading in 1986.

“We are confident that this new platform will provide our customers with exceptional levels of performance, functionality, and capacity,” said Antoine Shagoury, CIO at LSE Group, in a statement at that time.

“We installed the new trading platform last Monday, but this is a game where you can never say never, and never have a totally foolproof system,” admitted the LSE spokesperson. “The idea is to always have the platform up, and get it up as quickly as you can when you know you have a problem.”

Despite this, it is understood that this is not the first time there has been a problem with the new system, after it reportedly failed to correctly close the market on Tuesday.

“That problem was only a very minor issue,” confirmed the spokesperson. “Last Tuesday auctions started 40 seconds late, so the auctions moved 40 seconds forward.”

Official Statement

“The London Stock Exchange Group confirms that its UK cash equity markets have now resumed trading,” said the LSE in an official statement. “To ensure an orderly market, the UK cash equity markets were today paused at 8.03am, and then halted at 8.33am, following identification of a real time data dissemination issue.

“Having identified the source of the problem and gained confidence in the remedial steps needed to restore market connectivity, the LSEG resumed continuous trading across its cash equity markets at 12.15pm, after an auction call.”

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience that today’s disruption to trading has caused our customers,” said Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group. “We have resolved the real time data dissemination issue and our UK cash equity markets have now resumed trading.”

Open Source Route

The decision by the LSE to opt for the new trading platform was part of a planned move to Linux, in order to bring the LSE in line with its Toronto exchange parent TMX.

The new system replaced the TradElect platform which was written in C# running on Microsoft systems. That platform comprised a .Net architecture running on Windows Server, supported by SQL Server.

TradElect was controversially upgraded by Accenture in 2007 at a cost of £40 million. A one-day outage resulted that caused a furore from LSE’s clients. Despite that, several more outages occurred with that system over the following two years.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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