Australian stock market delayed by computer crash

Australian financial markets opened more than an hour late yesterday after the Australian Stock Exchange's (ASX) national computer network collapsed. According to an industry source, the ASX system came undone just prior to the opening of the day's trade and there are already threats of class action suits against the Exchange by disgruntled punters who were financially burnt by the outage.

Australian financial markets opened more than an hour late yesterday after the Australian Stock Exchange's (ASX) national computer network collapsed, ComputerWorld has learned.

According to an industry source, the ASX system came undone just prior to the opening of the day's trade and there are already threats of class action suits against the Exchange by disgruntled punters who were financially burnt by the outage.

"We're investigating the problem at the moment," said Paul Chapman, the ASX's national manager, trading systems and market operations, of the cause of the crash. "We believe we've identified [the problem] but until we've confirmed that through testing, it would be premature of me to say [what prompted the shut-down]."

Chapman said the crash saw the Exchange's entire 1,200-strong workforce locked out of the system until it opened 75 minutes late at 11:15 AM. "All the users -- everyone on the network was affected," he said. "We have a hot standby machine. The problem that occurred -- which as I said, we believe we have identified but we have not proved it by testing yet -- manifested itself in a way that it could have been related to corrupted hardware or corrupted memory. I don't believe that was the cause now but at the time we obviously had no knowledge," he said.

"We have a hot standby machine, but because of the nature of the problem -- the two machines share disks -- rather than just start running on the other machine, we felt it was safer to restart seats because we weren't sure where the problem was. We didn't [re-route the system] to Melbourne, but we restarted the application in the hot standby machine because of the lack of information we had at that time about the nature of the problem."

Chapman said the outage had no effect on the ASX's highly-publicized network upgrade, as this project has just been completed.

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