SAN FRANCISCO (06/21/2000) - SunGard Data Systems Inc., a major provider of software to the financial industry, is developing a version of its products that will run on forthcoming 64-bit software and hardware from Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., the companies announced Wednesday.
SunGard is writing versions of about 10 software applications for Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor, which is due in the second half of this year, and for the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows, which is due in the same time frame.
The first of the applications, a trading and risk assessment application called Panorama, is already complete, the companies said.
The decision to support the 64-bit platforms was driven in part by the move to decimalization that will happen in the stock market later this year.
Decimalization will allow investors to trade in smaller, 1 US cent increments, which could lead to a dramatic increase in the number of trades financial institutions have to process, said Mack Gill, director of alliance programs for SunGard, which is based in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
Increasing use of the Internet to make trades, a rise in around-the-clock trading activities and mounting pressure to settle trades more quickly were also factors in the company's decision, Gill said.
"We're very interested in harnessing the horsepower of IA-64 and the 64-bit Windows operating system to address some of these key industry trends," Gill said. Itanium-based systems running Windows will bring additional computing power and scalability over the 32-bit platform available today, he said.
In particular, the 64-bit systems will have greater "memory addressability," meaning they will be able to process bigger chunks of memory at once and also will offer greater processing power, representatives from Intel and Microsoft said.
SunGard's decision is something of a win for the two computing giants, which hope to find a home for their 64-bit products in the kind of high-end computing environments where much of SunGard's back-end software is used. Such environments are dominated today by Unix-based systems from the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.
"Clearly, the range of applications that can be addressed with Microsoft's operating system and Intel architecture-based servers is broadening over time," said Ed Muth, a director with Microsoft's financial industry group.
While the focus of today's announcement was on Windows, SunGard may also port its software to other 64-bit operating systems for Itanium, Gill said. Such OSes under development include versions of Linux and Monterey, a Unix variant being developed by IBM Corp. and others.
SunGard's software is used by financial institutions worldwide to process more than 2 million trades each day, Gill said. About 70 percent of all trades on the Nasdaq stock market flow through SunGard systems, he added.
Today's announcement was made at the Securities Industry Association's Technology Management Conference and Exhibit taking place in New York.
SunGard can be contacted at +1-610-341-8700 and on the Web at http://www.sungard.com/. Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, is at +1-425-882-8080 or http://www.microsoft.com/. Intel, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-765-8080 or via the Web at http://www.intel.com/.