EDGAR plans a holiday

EDGAR plans a holiday

Over Thanksgiving, IT team will replace filing system's guts

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The Securities and Exchange Commission's modernization team will not be relaxing over turkey, stuffing and football during the Thanksgiving holiday. Instead, a team of 50 employees will complete the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system's Internet upgrade.

SEC will shut down EDGAR on Friday, Nov. 24, for the first time since its installation in 1992.

Users will soon file online, SEC's Rick Heroux says.

'We will start working at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and run 24 hours a day until Saturday morning'in shifts, of course,' said Rick Heroux, the commission's EDGAR modernization director. 'On Saturday around noon, we will make the go or no-go decision to continue with the cutover or revert back to the old system. Saturday through Sunday night we will continue with the cutover.'

The commission chose the November weekend for the migration because SEC typically receives only a few hundred filings on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

On a peak day, EDGAR has received up to 10,000 filings, Heroux said.

In May, the commission launched a modernized user interface, EDGARLink, created by subcontractor PureEdge Solutions Inc. of Concord, Calif., using the Extensible Markup Language. TRW Inc. is the prime contractor.

When fully implemented this fall, EDGARLink will let users submit filings by dial-up modem and via the Internet. Already, users and the public can tap the Internet to access information that has been filed with SEC. But until now, companies required by law to file financial information with the commission could not do so via the Internet.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the modernization team will upgrade the Receipt and Acceptance Subsystem, which Heroux described as the pipeline for Internet filing.

The subsystem consists of receipt, validation, acceptance, parsing and dissemination applications, he said. The back-end upgrade of EDGAR will complete the commission's transition of the system to the Internet.

'In November, we are changing the guts of our system,' Heroux said. 'This is the core of our process.' As part of the effort, the EDGAR modernization team will migrate most of the code now running on a cluster of fault-tolerant servers from Stratus Computer Inc. of Marlborough, Mass., to a server farm in SEC's Virginia operations center.

The new server cluster includes Sun Microsystems Enterprise 4500 servers, one each for the EDGAR database, an internal search engine, and the Receipt and Acceptance Subsystem. A Sun Enterprise 420R will be the Web server. The center also houses a mix of Pentium PC servers running Microsoft Windows NT that will host functions such as workflow management, filer notification and security.

The modernization team must write 400,000 lines of code to prep for the Thanksgiving weekend upgrade, Heroux said.

Although the team will try to port as much code as possible, he said, there is very little that can be ported directly from the existing servers. 'What we can't port we will rewrite in C and Java,' Heroux said.

App gets facelift

TRW already has begun rewriting 50 percent of EDGAR's parser application, he said. The parser application, custom-written in C, sifts through electronic filings line by line to strip out information such as company name, file type and filing period, and store it in a Sybase Inc. Adaptive Server Enterprise relational database.

The three-year, $22.5 million EDGAR modernization began in 1997. The main goal has been to reduce the burden on the thousands of companies that use EDGAR.

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