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The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

A-Team Insight Blogs

Old Friends, Familiar Faces, Some Surprises

I am posting this from the San Francisco Bay Area, and it just struck me that a couple of major players from these parts were recently the subject of posts on this portal.  What’s more, they are companies that – despite being once huge on Wall Street – I hadn’t expected to be covering in connection with the world of low latency.  I speak of Sybase and Sun Microsystems.

Sybase first.  At one time, Sybase sold its database to virtually every Wall Street firm.  A good many installations such exist, due mainly to the difficulty in migrating from one database to another.  But for several years now, the database hasn’t had much success in the financial markets – where it’s been well and truly beaten up by Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and even the open source MySQL.

True, Sybase did have something of a re-emergence through its Financial Fusion FIX messaging and banking business, but that kinda fizzled out when the high tech bubble burst.  Once a candidate for an IPO, Financial Fusion got buried inside Sybase corporate and hasn’t been let out.

Now, though, Sybase is making some waves again, partly with its Risk Analytics Platform and through the development of its high performance Sybase IQ analytics server, which it is pitching at algorithmic trading applications.  There’s a ton of competition out there of course, but it’s nice to see Sybase back with some relevant products.

Then there is Sun, a company that once epitomized Silicon Valley, and which surely owned Wall Street’s server business.  Then along came the x86 and Linux, and the ostrich-like company was out, just like Sybase.  It did make a lame attempt to “win back Wall Street” but that never really got past the marketing hype, so out it stayed.

It was a surprise, then, to see a Sun server (albeit powered by AMD chips) and its Solaris operating system as the subject of a benchmark report from Peter Lankford’s Securities Technology Analysis Center.  And even more of a surprise when Peter separately suggested to me that the combo had performed well.  A swallow does not a summer make, but maybe the Sun has not yet completely set.

So, what do you think? Do Sybase and Sun stand a chance of capturing past glory on Wall Street?  Is there too much competition this time?  Or did they never go away?  Leave your comments.

Until next time … here’s some good music.

[tags]sun,sun microsystems,sybase,financial fusion,aleri,quant house,stac,solaris,x86,linux,amd[/tags]

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