At SIA, Algorithmics unveiled its RiskWatch application for Intel-based workstations and servers.
Ironically, Algorithmics has been running RiskWatch on Linux for almost two years as a more efficient way to take the application on the road to shows such as this year's SIA Technology Management Conference, notes Bob Boettcher, director of strategic product marketing at Algorithmics. Yet, at the time, the vendor did not offer the option to clients. During the demos, customers took notice and began asking for the option to run their risk applications on the Linux platform. As a result, Algorithmics decided to support the open source operating system and offer it as an alternative to the traditional UNIX option, Boettcher says. He adds that lower cost and greater processing power are two other reasons why Algorithmics decided to go forward with the Linux initiative.
"The price performance of the Linux Intel machines is anywhere from three to five times greater than comparable traditional UNIX processor. It's probably about $80,000 for an Intel Linux platform, where some of the traditional UNIX vendors are three to four times that," says Boettcher. In terms of performance, the Linux platform is also a more effective way to integrate market and credit risk because the processing can be spread out among the individual platforms, rather than taking place in one large processing box.
While Algorithmics does not as of yet have any North American clients, they have already tapped into the Latin American market, specifically focusing on pension fund managers in Brazil--the first Linux user south of the border being Previ, the largest pension fund in Latin America with $25 billion in assets under management. In addition, Algorithmics has recently launched a service-bureau type ASP option for smaller pension fund managers in Brazil to outsource their risk management needs. In this case, the Algorithmics Brazil operation is running several large RiskWatch installations on Linux for users to download positions and receive back reports via an Intranet.The Brazilian ASP currently has seven clients. "We're one of the few, if not the only, vendor to support all of the unusual market conventions in Brazil," notes Boettcher. Boettcher says that he sees Linux as catching on in the financial services arena and anticipates new clients and current clients looking to integrate their market and credit risk through the RiskWatch application to the Linux platform.