Morgan Stanley is running two years ahead of schedule in its ambitious Unix-to-Linux migration programme says Jeffrey Birnbaum, managing director and head of enterprise computing at the Wall Street bank's institutional securities division.
Birnbaum gave the progress report during a shared keynote address with Red Hat chief technical officer Michael Tiemann at yesterday's LinuxWorld event in New York.
Morgan Stanley began its migration to Linux in April 2001 with the aim of delivering improved performance at flat cost. The shift to Linux was seen as a way of moving data, applications and even operating systems away from expensive proprietary Unix machines and onto commodity thin client network servers.
Birnbaum says that by 2005 the bank expects to be running 80% of its systems on commodity machines, significantly ahead of the estimated timeframes at the start of the project. The full-scale deployment is expected to deliver double digit improvements in price-performance.
Tiemann puts the rapid progress down to the release of version 2.4 of the linux kernel, describing it as the first kernel ready to support a massive enterprise deployment.
He says: "While many TCO studies give textbook-style reasons why enterprises should expect 6x to 16x improvements by migrating from proprietary unix systems to linux running on commodity hardware, few have realised these results so rapidly, completely, and with as little risk as Morgan Stanley."
Also speaking on a panel discussion at LinuxWorld, Casey Merkey, product marketing manager for the Americas for front-office systems at Reuters, said the information group is close to rolling out the core components of its market data distribution platform (RDMS) on linux. Merkey says one customer has already put the beta software on a production system for testing. Merkey declined to name names, but both Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse First Boston have committed to Linux within their trading operations.
Reuters entered an alliance with Hewlett-Packard, Red Hat and Intel in May last year to provide RDMS on linux as well as the current Sun Solaris platform. It has already released a number of adapters and interfaces for the open source system.
Elsewhere at the event, Utah-based SCO released versions of its linux operating system for Unisys Corp’s ES7000 servers and ClearPath mainframes, in a move which further pushes Unisys into the open source camp.
Sun, too, has been active, demonstrating an early version of its "Mad Hatter" desktop linux PC for business users. The vendor says a beta version of Mad Hatter is due this spring, with general availability of the software in early summer.