IBM courts finance market with new framework

IBM debuts a newly packaged framework for financial services

IBM unveiled on Tuesday a new package of pre-integrated software applications, called the Financial Markets Industry Framework, configured for the financial services market.

The package is designed for financial firms, such as a Wall Street stock trading company, that want to speed their processes, said Guy Tagliavia, who is IBM's director of Websphere front office and low latency messaging, part of the software group.

"It's all about speed. The key is to get this market data to the algorithmic trading applications as fast as possible," Tagliavia said. The industry is driving the speed of message transfer between two systems down to a matter of a few microseconds.

The framework is the latest addition to a growing number of pre-integrated packages that IBM has created for specific industries. The company has already developed frameworks for the fields of health care, petroleum, retail and government.

IBM's WebSphere application server will serve as the cornerstone of the offering. The framework will be able to ingest feeds from over 100 data feeds. A stream computing platform can then filter these feeds to look for specific events, or triggers.

The framework will also offer market surveillance and trade monitoring software, using IBM's Cognos business intelligence software, its iLog business rules management software and other applications. Over time, more applications, both from IBM as well as from partners, will be folded into the framework, Tagliavia said.

In the financial market, companies are fiercely competitive, and use software to gain an edge, Tagliavia said. "The financial market is constantly evolving. It is extremely dynamic: There is an arms race in this industry where customers are seeking the latest and greatest technology," he said.

Companies may renew their systems in as little as every two years. IBM is making the pitch that its platform, through its enterprise service bus, is easily extensible, and so can easily accommodate upgrades.

The framework can be built on either commodity servers running x86-based processors, or run on IBM's own System P Power-based servers. IBM could install the framework or it could be installed by other integrators, Tagliavia said.

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