Monday, March 21, 2005

Wall Street looks to Linux, grid, and services-oriented architecture to up performance

Execs from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Merrill Lynch said they've experienced price-performance improvements by up to a factor of four when they replaced Unix-based systems with those based on Linux. "We're converging on Linux and Windows," said Marc Baumslag, chief technology officer of liquidity and risk technology at Merrill Lynch. "All signs are that Linux is here to stay."

Linux has been crucial to the success of J.P. Morgan's derivatives-trading business, said Scott Marcar, head of technology for global emerging markets. Linux powers about two-thirds of the CPUs that run J.P. Morgan's business of trading derivatives, such as futures and options contracts.
In addition to moving to Linux, J.P. Morgan has linked servers with as many as 3,000 CPUs in a grid-computing project called Compute Backbone, which performs complex risk calculations to support the derivatives-trading business. The company charges internal users less than a dollar per CPU per hour to tap into the grid-computing system using a similar utility-computing-based approach that Sun Microsystems unveiled last fall. "The focus is on getting unit costs down as low as possible," Marcar said.

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