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CoreOS Enables ISE to Use Containers for Options Trading

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted December 2, 2015

NEW YORK - In the financial capital of the world, containers aren't yet king, but they might be - one day. At the Tectonic Summit here, Robert Cornish CTO and Paul Morgan Systems Architect at the International Securities Exchange (ISE) detailed how they are making use of CoreOS and containers in the latency sensitive and performance demanding options trading environment.

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Morgan explained that when he started at ISE several years ago, they had a data center in New York and one in New Jersey, with applications built and deployed by hand. That situation has now changed, with a third data center now online in Chicago as well as the use of CoreOS and containers.

"We realized that 40 minutes to build a new host was too slow," Morgan said. "We handle over 2 billion transaction and 150 million messages a minute ISE coreosin a typical day, so we needed a way to turn over infrastructure more quickly."

Morgan said he first learned about Docker containers in 2013, which got him both excited and mad. He was excited about the agile packaging and deployment model, but mad that it would add another layer to his environment.

"We didn't want to manage complexity; we wanted to eliminate complexity," Morgan said. "Later that year we learned about CoreOS."

CoreOS packages a container runtime along with its own CoreOS Linux operating system. Morgan said ISE thinks of CoreOS as "invisible infrastructure" that frees up time for his group to work on revenue-generating projects.

The stack ISE uses also involves the use of WeaveWorks on the networking layer to enable IP multicast. For authentication, ISE makes use of database-driven authentication for every boundary. Additionally, ISE leverages two-factor authentication technology from Duo Security. Configuration automation is done at ISE via Puppet.

Not Just About Performance Improvements

Morgan emphasized that with the CoreOS container approach, ISE is now able to perform 50,000 transaction a second with under 200 milliseconds of latency.

It's not just about performance, it's also about optimization. Morgan said ISE has been able to reduce its IT spend by more than 25 percent since 2011, thanks to the use of container, orchestration and automated configuration tools. He added that workloads can run on any infrastructure, providing even more efficiency.

ISE's journey to CoreOS and containers has gone through several steps, involving a move away from OpenVMS. After OpenVMS, ISE adopted Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which is now being displaced in parts of the infrastructure. Morgan noted that ISE's Chicago data center is now running all CoreOS.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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