Sun Microsystems provides new technology platform for the Spanish Financial Futures Exchange

Sun Microsystems is the technology provider chosen to renew the equipment providing access to the Spanish Financial Futures Exchange's (MEFF) MEFFS/MART platform. The project commenced in May 2004 and has been live since July the same year. MEFF is a fully electronic exchange for the negotiation of futures contracts and options on fixed and variable income securities.

The renewal project undertaken by MEFF, with Sun Microsystems, involves the installation of 200 Sun Fire V60x and 7 Sun Fire V210 servers running the Solaris operating system on x86 technology. Given the capabilities of Sun technology and the improvements made to the MEFF communications network, the new Spanish futures market's platform can handle up to 800 messages per second. This is considerably more than the 250 supported by the previous platform, which was based on Compaq equipment with SCO and SGI and its proprietary operating system. The changeover to the Sun platform has improved MEFF's costs and enhances competitiveness, speed, security, relia¬bility, ruggedness and scalability.

The new platform connects the 100 MEFF members (leading banks, financial agencies and securities firms) with the MEFF Data Processing Centres in Madrid and Barcelona, improving the service provided to the over 500 traders negotiating options and futures on this electronic exchange.

"Before deciding we ran several performance trials and finally chose Solaris on Sun x86 servers as they provided the best option in price competitiveness, speed, security and reliability. Another important aspect that was taken into consideration was the fact that this configuration is already successfully operating in the market"

- Andres Rodriguez, Data Processing Manager, MEFF.

MEFF needed a robust platform that was flexible enough to support the growth forecast for the coming years. The project required a secure and reliable platform that was also powerful and scalable, since MEFF is experiencing considerable growth in the number of transactions it handles on a daily basis. The increased demand for this type of financial security is due to the constantly growing number of traders and the increasing degree of automation involved.

With the new platform, MEFF is capable of handling over a billion euros per year, with 2.3 million outgoing and 658,000 incoming messages per day on the central host with a mean response time of 0.10 seconds from the moment the order is entered at the terminal until it is confirmed. Likewise, MEFF required a system guaranteeing the security of all the operations involved in the negotiation of future contracts and options on fixed and variable income securities.

The old servers were replaced gradually with Sun/Solaris over a two-month period to avoid service cuts, which could have had an important business impact on a platform where over 4,000 million euros are traded every day.

Implementation and migration from the previous platform took place as scheduled, with no system shut-downs, on time and according to the pre-defined configurations. The goal for the future is to continue to supply new members and the 500 traders currently trading on MEFF.

This significant increase in capabilities guarantees that MEFF and its members will be more than capable of handling the increase forecast in the number of transactions to be handled throughout the working life of these servers.

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