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The Almighty Buck Hardware

Wall St. Trading Servers To Power Off-Hour Clouds? 208

Posted by timothy
from the keep-those-roles-separate-please dept.
miller60 writes "As cloud computing gains traction, some Wall Street firms running armadas of servers to power high-frequency trading operations are contemplating leasing out their excess computing capacity after the trading day ends at 4 p.m. 'Once 4:30 rolls around, we don't need those machines,' said one CTO of a market data firm. 'There may be an opportunity there.' A similar revelation led to the creation of the cloud computing operation at Amazon.com, which built its infrastructure to handle peak Christmas-season loads that lasted just a few weeks each year."
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Wall St. Trading Servers To Power Off-Hour Clouds?

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  • Is This Secure? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:41PM (#31766808)
    I wonder if this poses any security concerns or problems? Is letting 'cloud users' access the servers that run out financial markets really a good idea?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DJoffe (1747746)

      Is letting 'cloud users' access the servers that run out financial markets really a good idea?

      No.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) *
      We've already got Virutal Machine tech and several other ways of saying "Don't cross this line!" so unless it's implemented by an idiot I'd say we'll be okay.
      • Re:Is This Secure? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:50PM (#31766996) Journal

        But Virtual Machine's are only as good as they're designed. Even the most known and biggest vendor VMWare has had serious bug and exploits in their software. For one example see this [softpedia.com], which let an exe running in the guest OS exploit a vulnerability in the VM code to get code run in the host OS. A serious security risk, especially when were talking about Wall Street. Even getting an access to their internal network opens new possibilities.

        Just because of this I think it's a stupid idea. Even more so because the gain is not really that much, but it can be really destructive. Someone will find a way to exploit it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          IANASA*, but wouldn't putting the data servers (DB servers?) in separate machines and physically disconnecting the power before allowing access to the other machines be enough?

          * I Am Not A Sys Admin

          • Re:Is This Secure? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Hooya (518216) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:48PM (#31767962) Homepage

            You could have the exploit install something into the host OS and have it run when the regular stuff is back on and connected.

            • With PXE boot, or iSCSI, or just an automated imaging job, there is no reason for the "host OS" to be constant.

              In the first two cases, the 'host OS', and any 'local' programs would just be a blog of data loaded on boot by your compute machines from a networked storage system that would, presumably, be powered down or VLANed off during the night. Like pulling the physical HDDs; but a whole lot easier to automate.

              An automated re-image cycle at beginning and end of day wouldn't be as elegant; but would h
          • IANASA*, but wouldn't putting the data servers (DB servers?) in separate machines and physically disconnecting the power before allowing access to the other machines be enough?

            It wouldn't as a compromised machine would just need to wait until the db gets back online...

      • Re:Is This Secure? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Huh? (105485) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:59PM (#31767186)
        I could see this being useful as some sort of "private" cloud during off hours (i.e. selling time to banks for batch and accrual operations...etc), but allowing the unwashed masses access to the underlying infrastructure of something as important as financial trading just seems like a recipe for a security disaster.
        • These are not the computers that make up the underlying infrastructure of financial trading.

          These are the computers that other people use to tap into those computers for data and then make lots and lots of calculations on that data. The worst thing that could happen if you (Mr. Trading Firm) open up your after hours cpu cycles to joe-coder (or jack-hacker) is that they might be able to hack in and steal or front-run your model.

          Sure, it sucks for your company, but you were the one who decided to do it

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder if this poses any security concerns or problems? Is letting 'cloud users' access the servers that run out financial markets really a good idea?

      You pose a good question. The answer is: It's all in the implementation.

      a. What do these wall-street computers do? Seriously. Do these servers store data about stocks? Are they merely high throughput, low latency information distribution machines? In order to figure out if it's a security threat, we need these answers

      If no data is being stored on these machines, then I see no reason why they can't wipe the VM and let it load up some default image. From there, it can do tons of cloud computing stuff.

      But in t

    • As secure as not doing so? Probably not quite? Pretty secure? If implemented correctly.

      If this were just a matter of "Hey, let's give some random punters shell accounts on our major servers so they can run jobs at night!", it would be a transparently terrible idea. Bugs that allow an authenticated user with shell access to do unpleasant stuff to other users and/or the system aren't all that uncommon. However, particularly in modern Big Serious Setups, there can be significant fluidity and decoupling of "
    • by GraZZ (9716)

      Having worked in an electronic trading operation (brokerage side) I can already say that security is of very little concern in this kind of operation. Of the three corners of business operations, these systems need to be fast and cheap; quality concerns are secondary as long as you're not completely breaking the clients' trades.

      Arguably security isn't very important in high frequency trading. You're trying to get an order to market before it can react to something. Once the order is there, people already kn

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "Arguably security isn't very important in high frequency trading. You're trying to get an order to market before it can react to something. Once the order is there, people already know (a lot) about it."

        So making other people's order go through slower while letting your own orders get through fast is the way to make money out of it?

    • These Wall Street chaps know what they're doing! Their immaculate track record speaks for itself!
  • Security nightmare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UndyingShadow (867720) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:42PM (#31766830)
    This seems like a security nightmare waiting to happen. I understand everything would likely be virtualized, but it just makes me nervous that you would be able to rent time on servers that interact with the stock market, especially considering how panicky the market can be, and how badly everyone suffers when it does panic.
    • Cost to Society (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:53PM (#31767054)

      Yes. If Amazon went down tomorrow and never came back, society would be fine. If the stock exchange were taken over by malicious but hidden computer software for months, and then finally was taken down, the damage to society would be MUCH more severe. It's not just a way of exchanging everything, it's a way of establishing who owns what. If suddenly nobody knows who really owns every stock that's traded in the last six months, we've got a major frikkin problem. We shouldn't, maybe, but we do because money is an illusion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LostCluster (625375) *

        A stock-trading unauthorized program is the nightmare of financial IT so there's frequent checks to make sure that doesn't happen. If a financial company doesn't know what it owns, it doesn't know much at all.

        If something is being artificially inflated or deflated there will be people asking "Why?". A human rogue trader, trading with money that isn't his and doing something other than what the money's owner has authorized him to do is an international story when one happens. A software rogue trader wouldn't

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        the damage to society would be MUCH more severe

        Only if someone told society that it was gone. The stock market effects a few select people drastically, but really has little influence on our daily lives in and of itself.

        The panic and fear generated as a result of a market failure as people start hording for no reason other than CNN or FOX said the world was coming to an end are what causes problems.

        If it simply ceased to exist the world would change very little. Stocks are based on what someone thinks a s

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DigiShaman (671371)

          The stock market effects a few select people drastically, but really has little influence on our daily lives in and of itself.

          Your wrong. The stock market has a profound impact on everyone's lives throughout the world. While it doesn't impact us directly, it does through many other financial abstract layers. Everything from your IRA, savings, to corporate reinvesting which including hiring of new employees to expand a business.

          Have none of you learned from the Great Depression. Take away the stock market an

      • We shouldn't, maybe, but we do because money is an illusion.

        You mean how you can fold bills just right and tilt it and it looks like the president is smiling or frowning???

      • by Jenming (37265)

        The servers in question are not running the stock exchange. Rather they are owned by some bank to operate one of their trading strategies. That bank possibly could lose some money and if f it was a big enough amount of money it could effect the rest of the stock market, however its not like compromising the stock exchange as a whole.

      • by metlin (258108)

        You know, I almost half agreed with your comment, until I came upon that last sentence. Seriously?

        A dollar bill can directly translate into a can of coke; the $10 in your wallet directly translates into a DVD; the $300,000 in a bank account into a house.

        A representation of worth, perhaps. A convenient exchange mechanism/medium with other social, political, and economic constructs (e.g. fear, value etc) projected on to it, perhaps. But an illusion? Only a fool would think so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tanktalus (794810)

      There is no such thing as perfectly-secure. They could already be hacked today, this isn't changing that. It merely introduces a new attack vector: the VM sandbox.

      If the ROI is there, this can be mitigated. If they create a cloud using their existing hardware, and move their own apps into a priority cloud on that hardware, and sell the excess CPU time, then not only does an attacker need to figure out what VM they are in, and what, if any, vulnerabilities there are in that VM that they can exploit, they

  • Not a new idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:42PM (#31766834)

    Compuserve was founded by a life insurance company to make a consumer service run on their business systems with the expectation that the consumers would use it during non-working hours.

    When it comes down to it, nobody needs their clock cycles 24/7 at even load, even though that's what computers are designed to do. Shared services for the win!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)

      " nobody needs their clock cycles 24/7"
      What about computers the service cloud computing?

    • by Ironchew (1069966)

      When it comes down to it, nobody needs their clock cycles 24/7 at even load, even though that's what computers are designed to do.

      Except for the halt instruction, found in most CPUs, that drastically reduces power consumption while the CPU isn't doing anything. Running a computer at 100% load sucks up more energy, directly and indirectly (e.g. cooling). That's why I don't run x@home distributed computing at 100%; it wears down the computer faster.

    • by smchris (464899)

      No kidding. It was my understanding they all were. I was more of a GEnie man myself because it was cheaper -- which was GE's philosophy -- heavy on cheap because they were going for the off-hour gravy and hardly advertised. That said, the management did a great job with what they had into the 90s.

      Really, just interesting it took that long for the light bulb to go off on Wall Street.

  • heh...yeah. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:43PM (#31766862) Homepage

    $20 says this idea was cooked up by someone who heard about "cloud computing" on the radio while in his cushy office, signing official looking papers and making a big fuss about "revenue".

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dachshund (300733) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:44PM (#31766870)

    I sure hope Wall Street is utterly confident in the security of their operating systems, VMs, low-level peripheral firmware, etc. Because if they're not absolutely confident, they should treat all of those machines as potentially untrusted from the moment they open them up to the world. This holds even if they constantly re-image.

    When you're talking about the kind of money Wall Street stands to lose from a clever security breach, no amount of paranoia is too ridiculous.

    • Re-image? Yeah, I'm sure the NYSE "re-images" their clusters once a month because you know Windows always feels faster after a fresh re-image.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:45PM (#31766900) Journal

    Not to derail the conversation, but high frequency trading doesn't contribute much to the stock market's ability to set optimal prices.

    What actually happens is that high frequency traders squeeze in while prices are moving and they siphon off money. Neither the original seller, nor the original buyer gets the best price, and the high frequency traders make a mint.

    • by wjousts (1529427) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:55PM (#31767096)
      Exactly this. High frequency trading really perverts what the markets are for. Make a law that you have to hold a stock for at least a day (maybe even just an hour would work) and you might restore some sanity to the market as well as giving those traders who don't have server farms running advanced trading algorithms a fighting chance.
      • by Herkum01 (592704)

        I had thought about this for a few years and had two ideas on it. The first was like yours, the person has to hold onto the stock for a set period of time.

        The second was don't display any information about trades during the day, just accumulate orders. At the end of the day match up the buy and sell orders.

        They need to stop rewarding this stock exchanges on the number of trades and instead focus on providing stability for the fair pricing of stock for companies.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:27PM (#31767634) Journal

        Exactly this. High frequency trading really perverts what the markets are for. Make a law that you have to hold a stock for at least a day (maybe even just an hour would work) and you might restore some sanity to the market as well as giving those traders who don't have server farms running advanced trading algorithms a fighting chance.

        You'd only have to slow them down by a second (literally 1 second) to completely bring their business model to a halt.

        HFTs buy zero second data feeds from an exchange and some exchanges actually sell pre-zero-sec access.
        Meaning that the HFTs can see trades a few hundred milliseconds before they post, allowing the trader to sneak in and buy/sell.
        The SEC is looking to ban the practice, but hasn't gotten around to doing so yet.

        • by dintech (998802)

          some exchanges actually sell pre-zero-sec access

          I work in Europe doing exchange connectivity (using Wombat/direct connections) for a major investment bank and I've never come accross anything better than servers co-located at the exchange. I always imagined that anything "pre-zero" or different data would be illegal in the civilised world. Which exchange are you talking about? I'll talk to my traders and get them a connection...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jackchance (947926)

        Make a law that you have to hold a stock for at least a day

        That's an interesting idea. But it's obviously flawed. Let's say i buy some pharma stock at 9am. At 12 pm the FDA announces that they have found that pharma's main product to be dangerous. Should I not be allowed to sell?

        I would argue that derivative speculation and complicated leveraging packages are what make the market insane.
        Other people [bloggingstocks.com] have made similar [bizcentral.org] comments.

        • by metlin (258108)

          Seriously? You link to two posts - one by a blogger and another by someone from the American Trucking Association - on financial derivatives?

          Even people who've decried them (think Buffett or Taleb) have used them themselves. Leverage is a useful tool, especially when companies are trying to stretch the dime when they are low on reserves.

          Derivatives, speculation, and derivative speculation are merely natural progressions of an increasingly complex financial eco-system.

          What made the market insane are governme

          • Seriously? You link to two posts - one by a blogger and another by someone from the American Trucking Association - on financial derivatives?

            You are totally right to call me out. I had read a much better article , i think by Krugman, in the NYTimes but i couldn't find it in the 10 seconds that i tried.

            This is a bit better [nytimes.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) *

      Yep. Market regulations are all about a "level playing field"... no using information others can't get yet for trades. Just ask Martha Stewart.

      I really think a rate limit that makes high-frequency trading impossible is a good idea. Just like the TV ad goes, why do you want to sell something you just bought in an auction? Everybody in the room already said they wouldn't pay what you paid.

      • by dintech (998802)

        why do you want to sell something you just bought in an auction? Everybody in the room already said they wouldn't pay what you paid.

        Because the information available on stocks (market data, economic data, news, etc....) changes very quickly. All those thousands of financial intruments and economic indicators are all interrelated.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not really. Someone has to quote a bid and an ask all day long, quickly so you get your shares when you want. And with competition between high frequency players trying to extract a spread or rebate, you get some pretty tight spreads giving you a good execution price without you having to pay the hidden cost of the spread. Most heavy volume stocks are a penny wide.

      Second, no one can "siphon off" money without taking a risk. Prices moving don't imply "free money" for the taking and there is substantial r

      • I have never understood this desire for a continuous 1 cent spread. I think HFT use that argument to justify their existence. The market does not require it.

        Market makers set bid and ask prices, and when we trade stock, the market maker makes the spread. If HFT weren't there, market makers would probably make more money due to a wider spread, but I'd be okay with that since they are the ones REALLY providing liquidity.

        Second, no one can "siphon off" money without taking a risk.

        Bzzt. The whole point of HFT is to exploit microsecond-long arbitrage opportunities, w

  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:46PM (#31766910) Homepage

    Said the CTO who is now looking for a job.

    NYSE closes at 4:30. But there are other markets. And the data flows 24/7.

    There is no reason for these systems to have spare cycles.

    • Are you one of the guys that maintains those machines?

    • The servers that run the global markets are, well, global. There's no need for a trading firm to have resources in NYC after business hours, because the people and the computers that do things on the markets elsewhere are, well, elsewhere.

    • by keithpreston (865880) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:50PM (#31767008)
      Location is the reason these system have spare cycles. They build data centers across the street from the market so that they have the lowest latency access to the market (it matters for high frequency trading). A data center on Wall Street is useless for other markets.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        That has got to be the most expensive data center for m^2 on the planet.
        They don't care about power or heat it all would comedown to foot print.
        I bet IBM sells a lot of POWER cpus there.

        • by afidel (530433)
          Don't be so sure, the NYSE runs largely on HP DL585's running Linux. Their next generation systems appear to be running the Xeon 5500, so probably DL380 G6's.
    • by wjousts (1529427)
      I had a very similar thought. The obvious way to make use of the servers during hours when the markets are closed is to use them in other markets that are open. For example, trade the NYSE during the day and trade the Asian stock markets at night. Synergy!
    • by mystik (38627) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:00PM (#31767210) Homepage Journal

      These High-Frequency trading systems require sub-second responses from the market servers. They're usually collocated in the same structure as the marketing servers, and firms pay handsomely for that kind of space and network access.

      When that market closes, you don't want these machines trading overseas, the latency to reach those servers would negate the entire purpose of these machines.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NeumannCons (798322)
      It's my understanding that the high frequency traders need machines that are physically near to the market they're trading stocks on to minimize hops, lag, etc. and to chronologically beat everyone else who's trying to do the same. Everything is built to make transactions that can be executed almost immediately to take advantage of stocks going up or down before everyone else does thereby altering prices.

      I'm going to guess that trying to play that game for servers overseas where lag can be measured in seco
    • by toastar (573882)

      Said the CTO who is now looking for a job.

      NYSE closes at 4:30. But there are other markets. And the data flows 24/7.

      There is no reason for these systems to have spare cycles.

      So your going to try to make high frequency trades that require ultra low latency in Japan with your servers that are in new york?

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:53PM (#31767068) Homepage Journal

    consult with his technical people.

    What am I thinking, Of course not.

    • Especially since these are not particularly fast computers. They are optimized to do financial transactions - something which requires incredibly fast I/O, but generally only requires a single addition per transaction.

      So, if your cloud requires blindingly fast I/O, great (but then the NYSE would need to buy a bunch more disks). If your cloud requires some compute power, these may not be ideal machines.

  • I'm sure that there are lots of people who would like to run jobs on machines that normally process billions of dollars in transactions.

    Of course, a certain percentage of them are going to be probing for security holes so they can steal financial data, but no worries -- the government will bail them out, right?

  • destroy them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:58PM (#31767176) Homepage Journal

    I dream that this entire high frequency scam is declared illegal and all involved are placed where they belong with all of their property confiscated.

    Here is what happens when HFT is done: 2 parties agree on a price, the HFT meddles with in a way, that takes out money from the transaction, so the buyer sells lower and the seller buys higher. That little bit of difference is stolen by HFT.

    These are thieves, we are discussing here, understand that. So they found a way to make some profit on their infrastructure? Well, great for them. 4,000,000 transactions per second they are talking about for one shop. That's 4,000,000 thefts per second.

    • Re:destroy them (Score:4, Interesting)

      by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:02PM (#31767252) Homepage Journal

      so the buyer sells lower and the seller buys higher.

      - a typo obviously. Buyer buys higher and seller sells lower than anticipated. The HFT transaction takes the edges. There is no value for economy other than the bank account of the HFT transaction owner becomes bigger. They didn't care about what was bought, what was sold, they have no idea what is happening with what is bought/sold, they are taking money from participants who may, in theory, have done something productive with it. Of-course that's not what happens. Just understand, that many people who own mutual funds and other investments are the suckers in this game of stealing the penny from the 'tray for everyone', to put in Office Space terms, so that /. would understand.

      • I would argue that the stock market itself is unproductive to how a healthy business runs, the constant desire for growth is actually _unhealthy_ it inspires the constant pump and dump mentality of a business's employee's. You see this especially in the game's industry where entire teams are laid off and their skills go unused.

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          If you have a $100 and you are holding it in paper at home for 10 years, then it means that in this time you have lost at least half of the purchasing value of your paper, so your purchase power has gone down from $100 to $50. That is quite a fair estimate of inflation in normal conditions. Question is: are you OK with it?

          Due to the fact that there is always someone who is willing to do extra work to live better than the rest, some new money will be created from the value of the work that is done by these

          • by L3370 (1421413)
            coins...ok that sounds good. They become collectibles and precious metals typically outpace inflation. But do note, if you are buying gold now you ARE buying at a peak price. That is inherently risky.
            stamps...maybe
            Furniture????...I never knew love seats to be an appreciating asset.
            Energy and canned food? ok now you sound paranoid. We've been in economic slumps before, and I think we are strong enough to get back out. In the mean time, others will continue to make money off the atmosphere of fear.
            • by roman_mir (125474)

              Furniture that is collectible obviously. Stamps also can be collectible or not, same with everything.

              Whatever you are buying, my point is valid: this market is rigged and it will collapse, since it is based on free money that is printed by the Fed and that is loaned to financial firms at no cost, who turn around and play with it in various ways. The next 'bubble' is in Treasury bills (but it is all the same bubble, all the way back, the housing, the tech bubble in the nineties.) The point is that all of

              • by L3370 (1421413)
                This mentality has been seen before. The Great Depression brought on a generation of hoarders. They'd save their cash buried in the back yard, and have a basement full of canned meat, tin foil and a mountain of "collectibles" sitting in there garage. Items they can't bare to part with...because they might need it one day when the next Great Depression rolls by. Fast forward a few decades. Their cash wasn't sealed properly and half of it has rotted beyond recognition. Inflation took care of the rest. The ca
                • by roman_mir (125474)

                  What we are observing right now has not happened in human history before. The West sees its jobs disappear and move to the East while it is no longer the nation that saves and lends, it is in deep debt. This is not going to be like before because the setup is different. What is coming is a collapse of the dollar.

                • by sgt101 (120604)

                  Be careful with your statement "ALWAYS risen". It can be a long time (20 years after the last depression) before the rise happens, and when it happens it happens according to a stock market index; the assets in that index can be and are completely different from the assets that started off in it. How long do companies last? 80 years is very unusual.

                  So - by the time the "market" rises; the stock you bought is worthless, a world war has happened and all your assets are now priced in rembi and... oh - you are

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a former developer from a very successful HF trading firm, I can tell you that's not how it works. You are forgetting one crucial item, which is that there is a spread in the market. At any time, the price at which people are willing to sell, and which other people are willing to buy, is different. I'm willing to sell a share for $3, but you only want to pay $2 to buy it. (This spread is unrealistically wide to make it easier to illustrate the point). Unless one of us changes our mind and is willing to s

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        This sounds good, but you're making a number of economic mistakes:

        1) The trader T is virtually alone in the pre 1 second market, when compared with the size of the original market. Thus the original market has been split into two markets, one market for a small number of privileged players and one market for everybody (privileged and unprivileged players). That always leads to suboptimal prices. To get optimal prices in the market, it's necessary to coalesce these two markets.

        2) The idea that making an

  • by Quarters (18322) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @05:04PM (#31767266)
    I guess if an idea is 20+ years old the statute of limitations has run out and someone can use it again as NEW and EXCITING.
  • Can someone post a source for the claim that Amazon did EC2 because of Christmas time servers that are no longer in use during the year?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Can someone post a source for the claim that Amazon did EC2 because of Christmas time servers that are no longer in use during the year?

      You'll probably get sources, as Amazon said so initially. Of course that's best forgotten now as it has become an inconvenient fact.
      Notice how every Christmas their servers go down due to mysterious "hackers" poisoning their DNS server or what not. Every year - a different excuse, and every time - around Christmas.

      Basically, don't use Amazon if you have mission critical processing around Christmas, or even worse, if you expect a peak around Christmas.

  • It Depends... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FrozenGeek (1219968) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:01PM (#31768140)
    It could be secure, given the following constraints:
    1. The computers contain NO mass storage at all.
    2. The mass storage is external to the computer and is disconnected from the computer during cloud computing.
    3. The computer is rebooted from CD (or DVD) before and after cloud computing.
    Of course, the odds on those constraints being met are pretty low if non-technical types are involved.
  • These servers make a *ridiculous* amount of money for their owners/shareholders. Revenue from hosted services would be a drop in the bucket in comparison....no a single water molecule in a bucket. Leasing out their servers in the off hours would barely pay for the brokers cocaine-and-hookers slush fund. Hardly enough to warrant the effort and associated risk.

    It seems like a novel idea, but in the end I bet it remains just that.
  • ...said one CTO of a market data firm...

    Note that it wasn't the CTOs of the actual trading firms speaking. In reality, almost every cycle that's not being used during the trading day is being used either in trading on foreign markets when yours are closed or running stats to drive the next day's domestic trading. A "market data" firm? Yeah, I can believe that. Real trading companies? Not so much.

  • Is the Microsoft Azure cloud software available to install and run on these Wall St server farms during the off hours? I could see running the two separate installs on two separate fiberchannel SANs, and physically switching between them (plugging cables) and rebooting/reflashing to ensure none of either was left available to the other during the alternate operating cycles. A lot of Wall St server farms are optimized to run Windows, because otherwise the farm is too slow. If a local install of an Azure clou

    • by codepunk (167897)

      I work on trading systems and I can assure you that nothing we run is on Windows.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Well I write trading systems and all kinds of other line of business apps for some of the biggest hedge funds, banks and brokers, prime and otherwise, in Midtown Manhattan. And I can assure you that they're running lots and lots of that software on the Windows platform.

        Just because you don't do it doesn't mean they don't.

  • by bmo (77928)

    It's the original CompuServ business model all over again!

    We really have come full circle.

    --
    BMO

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