Category: WarStories

Working Hard To Be Lazy

   From about 1974 until the late 1980s, I was responsible for maintaining Market Data System II, the mainframe system which gathered and reported trades on the New York Stock Exchange. This system was based on OS MVT Release 11 and was heavily customized/modified by IBM, with the promise to support it forever. In addition to a modified OS, IBM coded components to handle non-standard hardware and memory, as well as the infrastucture to support ‘applications’ modules.
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How I Saved The West

In 1987, the NYSE had several computer systems in operation. The oldest and most critical one was the Market Data System known as MDS-II. This system gathered trading information from the Trading Floor and drove the traditional ticker tape as well as distributing the trade data over higher speed synchronous lines. Of the various systems, MDS-II was the only one which was absolutely critical to trading. While failure of the other systems was an inconvenience, failure of MDS-II halted trading completely, resulting in a lot of lost revenue for NYSE and its member firms.
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