London Stock Exchange crippled by system outage
September 15, 2008 2 Comments
On a day that would have seen extremely brisk trading volume due to news in the USA, the LSE was down for nearly the entire trading say. From Reuters:
LONDON (Reuters) – The London Stock Exchange (LSE.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) suffered its worst systems failure in eight years on Monday, forcing the world’s third largest share market to suspend trading for about seven hours and infuriating its users.
The problem occurred on what could have been one of London’s busiest trading days of the year, as markets rebounded worldwide following the U.S. government’s decision to bail out mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).
“We have the biggest takeover in the history of the known world … and then we can’t trade. It’s terrible,” one trader said.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which uses the LSE’s trading platform TradElect, also suspended trading.
“This halt today clearly has once again damaged (the LSE’s) reputation as a leading exchange, especially on a day like today, highlighting that it may have been unable to handle the volumes this morning,” added another trader.
But, it wasn’t actually the trading volume that caused the issue:
LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The London Stock Exchange’s (LSE.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) failure on Monday was down to a software fault rather than high trading volume and has now been resolved, the exchange told Reuters on Tuesday. “It was software-related, a coincidence, due to two processes we couldn’t have foreseen,” a spokeswoman said.
“We’ve introduced a fix and we’re confident it will not happen again.”
She said the fault was not due to high trading volume.
Now, I doubt we’ll ever get any real details on what actually happened. There’s some speculation that an errant application upgrade may have been at fault. Five nines is really difficult to achieve though, and it seems to me that most times you see high profile installs like the LSE that go with a 100% Microsoft stack it’s Microsoft marketing and dollars that lead to the decision – not sound technical recommendations. The NYSE may be feeling a bit better about their recent decision to move to Linux.