Banks are increasingly using PC servers instead of mainframe computers to handle data management functions, despite concerns about security, according to research by UK market data technology vendor CMS Webview.
Of the 50 financial data managers surveyed for the research, 61% reported that their banks had already moved from mainframes to PC servers in certain key areas.
However 73% felt that over-reliance on Windows-based systems could leave banks vulnerable to security breaches and, because of this, 86% would consider using an alternative operating system such as Linux (65%) which is also seen as more cost-effective.
Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) were concerned about the dominance of Windows-based systems and the lack of competition in the marketplace (33%), as well as about costs and lack of quality assurance.
According to the survey the move towards PC servers is a recent trend in investment banking - more than half of those surveyed (54%) say it's only in the last three years that PC servers have started to replace mainframes.
CMS says the move is driven partly by cost, but also by PC servers offering scalability as well as flexibility, which was cited by 74% of data managers as the most compelling reason for replacing mainframes.
A large majority of respondents (89%) said PC servers provided enough flexibility to enable them to react to changing patterns in user demand, while 87% felt functions such as data warehousing could be run on PC servers.
Commenting on the research, Bob Antell, chief executive, CMS, says: "Modern PC servers can handle comfortably the vast amounts of data in real time that global banks must process, store and analyse 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
"The results of this survey correlate strongly with our day-to-day experience of financial institutions increasingly being prepared to consider PC server based products."