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Open Source for Mission Critical Systems: 5 Lessons

Open Source for mission-critical enterprise needs vision and focus, says Sanjib Sahoo of tradeMONSTER

In the best rated talk of the night, Sanjib Sahoo, award-winning CTO at tradeMONSTER, was a featured keynote speaker and panelist at Computerworld’s Open Business Conference 2014 in San Francisco on May 6.

The keynote, “The New Reality: Mission Critical Open Source in the Enterprise,” highlighted Sahoo's approach to using Open Source, stating it to be the new reality for mission critical enterprise. tradeMONSTER, a leading online trading firm runs its trading platform on primarily Open Source stack and still achieved 99.99 percent uptime in the last 5 years while constantly innovating with mobile, web and other trading tools.

“Trading systems face challenges today to deal with scalability, reliability, latency and many such areas,” said Sahoo. So why did he chose Open Source? Sahoo says, “Initially it was cost, but we continued with it for flexibility, agility, control and for fostering innovation."

"With the current string of glitches and outages in the trading world, not a lot of trading systems will dare to put their mission-critical business primarily on Open Source technologies. However, tradeMONSTER is an exception," said Sahoo in correspondence with Wall Street & Technology.

TradeMONSTER focused on core architecture first. The team created an abstracted architecture such that it does not depend on a particular open source software and change/migration is relatively easy. Sahoo also believes in cross-functional rotation within the team and has developed a skill matrix of people knowledgeable about all open source technologies within his IT team.

This Open Source approach was risky and there were challenges. Sahoo explained his approach and stated 5 key lessons that he learned from his Open Source experience used in building mission-critical trading platform of tradeMONSTER.

1. Don’t treat Open Source as Real Open. Use as Read only. Sahoo mentions that modification or patching creates problems for version updates and compatibility issues. He says extension is better and gives programmers advantage to read the code and extend it for using it in the codebase. He also encouraged organizations to contribute non-mission critical parts of the code that uses open source.

2. Open Source is “free” but not without an investment. Sahoo says organizations trying to build mission critical business on Open Source should invest on a talented workforce and a team that understands the different open source technologies. That helps in building in-house expertise. “The millions of dollars that you save in licenses, invest some on smart people” said Sahoo.

Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio

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