IBM brings Linux to Wall Street

IBM Corp. said Tuesday it will work with the technology provider for the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange to move several applications used by traders and stock brokers to the Linux operating system.

The Securities Industry Automation Corp. (SIAC) and its subsidiary Sector Inc., long-time IBM customers, have agreed to move an application called Artmail to the Linux platform. Artmail is used by the two stock exchanges to deliver daily activity reports, as well as distribute billing and commissions to Wall Street stock brokers and traders.

Artmail, which was built in part with IBM software, is moving from 180 Sun SPARC servers to a single IBM mainframe running Red Hat Inc.'s version of Linux, IBM said. The eServer zSeries mainframe will make use of IBM's Virtual Machine technology, which allows a single server or mainframe to operate as if it were running hundreds to thousands of "virtual servers," according to Scott Handy, director of Linux marketing at IBM.

"This is really a change in the computing landscape," said Steve Solazzo, vice president of marketing and sales at IBM. "Linux is beginning to emerge as a very attractive operating system."

SIAC, a joint partnership between the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange, said it has already migrated two Artmail components to Linux that enable the company to deliver files and reports directly to brokers and traders as e-mail attachments, said Gerry Sztavnic, the head of middleware applications for SIAC.

Sztavnic said the company will continue to move other pieces of Artmail to Linux through the end of the fiscal year. "Based on that implementation now we have a lot of plans to move a lot of our client-server applications over to Linux," he said.

The financial services industry is one of the first mainstream corporate markets to adopt Linux in mission critical applications, according to Gartner Inc. Analyst George Weiss. But although IT departments at the major financial firms support Linux, they don't seem ready to deploy it company-wide.

"I know there is huge interest in Linux," said Weiss, who covers the enterprise server market. "But most companies and organizations haven't felt they're willing to spring for it on a massive scale. Most companies are still looking to fill sweet spots."

IBM also announced Tuesday at the Linux World Conference and Expo two more customers that are building Linux computing systems. The U.S. Open Tennis Tournament said it is using Linux on its Web servers for its official Web site with help from IBM. The computing giant has also signed on Javelin Technologies Inc., a vendor of electronic trading software, to build some of its applications for the Linux operating system.

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