Merrill Lynch Inks Deal With VMware

Merrill will deploy VMware's "virtual machine" software throughout its production environments and on more than 27,000 desktops.

Merrill Lynch & Co., a leading Wall Street brokerage and financial management company in New York, is deploying "virtual machine" software from VMware Inc. throughout its production environments and on more than 27,000 desktops.

Merrill and VMware have inked a deal that allows Merrill to standardize on VMware virtual machine software, which enables multiple copies of an operating system to run on the same hardware platform.

The agreement, announced on Monday, follows Merrills announcement last November that it was replacing all of the workstations used by its retail brokers and financial advisers with new Wealth Management Workstations built by Thomson Financial.

The new workstations are based on Microsoft Corp.s Windows XP platform and are faster and more reliable than the current ones, which are based on Windows NT and Windows 2000.

To help ensure a smooth transition, Merrill turned to VMware. John McKinley, the chief technology officer at Merrill Lynch, said the VMware virtual machine software for Windows helped the company solve a variety of challenging IT issues.

The company, using VMware Workstation, was able to migrate to Windows XP while running mission-critical legacy applications on Windows NT. "By embracing virtualization technology and standardizing on VMware for managing our software development environments, Merrill Lynch has seen a 40 to 50 percent cost savings," he said.

Merrill Lynch also consolidated the workloads of five servers onto one scalable, reliable enterprise-class server, saving money on hardware and maintenance costs as well as being able to streamline development and test processes in its production environment, McKinley said.

By continuing to consolidate the workloads of multiple servers, VMware is expected to save Merrill $2 million in hardware costs alone over the next five years, he said.

Diane Greene, the president and chief executive officer of Vmware, based in Palo Alto, Calif., said she looked forward to growing the relationship with Merrill as it "expands the places where our products are saving them time and money."