Wall Street Calls for Linux Support

The financial industry wants more help from software vendors when it comes to open source support

April 21, 2005

2 Min Read
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Lack of support from software vendors is holding up the rollout of Linux in financial institutions, according to attendees at the Linux on Wall Street conference in New York today.

It becomes a stumbling block,” says Aaron Graves, senior vice president for Linux at Citigroup, “Without all of those building blocks you can’t go forward with an implementation.”

Although he was unwilling to name names, Graves says software for the databases and directories supporting his company’s financial operations is a pain point.

Jeff Teisch, senior vice president at Brown Brothers Harriman, agrees that support is a problem. Teisch called on the industry to pressure vendors into converting their applications over to the relevant flavor of Linux. “There are a lot of vendors that run Linux on Intel Corp. [processors], but they have to support their application running on Linux on zSeries.”

Many financial organizations, including Brown Brothers Harriman, rely on IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) zSeries mainframe servers.Deborah Williams, group vice president at analyst firm Financial Insights admits that some software vendors need “a kick in the pants” from their major customers. “It takes a fairly significant groundswell for an ISV [independent software vendor] to think about porting [an application],” she says.

However, Williams acknowledges that ISVs exist in an extremely competitive environment where R&D can be a massive financial headache. Nonetheless, she feels that many are coming around to porting their applications.

Help may also be at hand from IBM, which clearly sees an opportunity to boost its own hardware business on the back of the open source phenomenon. IBM has already invested $1 billion in Linux, and is now hell-bent on bringing ISVs into the open source fold.

The hardware giant recently unveiled its eServer Application Advantage program, also known as Chiphopper, which aims to help ISVs port their existing Intel-based Linux applications over to IBM hardware platforms.

At least the industry’s message appears to be getting through. Sybase Inc., a key player in the financial markets, is working to extend the reach of its extensive Linux portfolio. Sam Lakkundi, Sybase’s lead architect, told NDCF that its Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) and Replication Server products already run on Linux on zSeries and the firm plans to add this functionality to its Enterprise Application Server offering.But Lakkundi adds that Sybase is governed by market forces when it comes to widening the scope of its product line. “It’s a market demand issue,” he says.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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