Mama is Open - why should clients care ?

Simply put - it represents a real chance to have a single market data abstraction that clients can commit to, resulting in significant benefits arising from code reuse, reduced support and better tooling when compared to supporting the multiple platforms that many organisations have today. In addition, they will be able to turn to a large number of vendors externally who are committing to OpenMama.

When NYSE Technologies released the MAMA and MAMDA code as an open source project, it agreed to make a serious effort to build a community of companies committed to supporting the project. This community included competitors large and small.

Given that these technology companies compete (in various ways) with NYSE, their decision to work with the Linux Foundation to create OpenMAMA is significant. For those of you who are not familiar with the Linux Foundation, it is responsible for the Linux Kernel, and is therefore used to dealing with large companies engaged in fierce co-opetition whilst working on a common code base.

As discussed in my previous blog ‘What OpenMAMA is not’ NYSE Technologies (aka Wombat) has not open sourced its entire feed handler and middleware business. If you are using or want to buy Wombat feed handlers (and clients do) it’s basically still a closed source product. Being able to debug the client API (particularly in the Java and .Net) is nice, but you cannot add your own middleware layers to the NYSE Feed Handlers. If you want to buy NYSE middleware such as WMW or Data Fabric it’s closed source. A number of vendors have alternatives but the NYSE products are all closed source.

With so much closed source code in real life deployments of OpenMAMA it is relevant to ask whether OpenMAMA is really open or whether it is just a way for NYSE to sprinkle some open source magic dust on their existing business. I strongly believe that OpenMAMA creates a new open market for market data vendors. The number of top tier investment banks and hedge funds that have committed to the MAMA and MAMDA API, and who will be able to use OpenMAMA products from any vendor is testament to this.

Many firms are making a significant bet with their money, on this being true by moving their market data products to OpenMAMA. This will provide clients with the option of using their MAMA and MAMDA applications to access Reuters and Bloomberg data feeds without using any NYSE products.

Of course, NYSE hope to make money out of the fact that we are moving to what is originally their abstraction. However, OpenMAMA has a critical mass of users and most importantly a proven governance structure that will allow multiple vendors to compete aggressively in delivering products and services to clients. This represents the client’s best guarantee of a return from committing to OpenMAMA as their real time data abstraction.