E-Trade Moving to IBM Linux-Based Servers

LinuxWorld keynoter IBM VP William Zeitler will also stress the way Linux and the open movement are transforming e-business and e-business infrastructures.

NEW YORK -- IBM will on Wednesday will announce a significant customer win for Linux: that E-Trade, the online personal financial services company, will be moving its entire architecture to IBM Intel servers running Linux.

As part of his keynote address at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here on Wednesday afternoon, William Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive of the IBM Server Group, will announce that E-Trade is migrating workloads currently running on Sun Microsystems Inc. servers to an IBM eServer xSeries environment running Linux.

The move toward Linux is part of E-Trades strategy to reduce IT costs by migrating to an open, standards-based architecture, and it is expected to enhance E-Trades Web site performance and stability, while providing up to three times the user capacity of its current infrastructure, an IBM spokesman told eWEEK.

Zeitler will also use his keynote to stress the way Linux and the open movement are transforming e-business and e-business infrastructures, and how this openness effectively brings to an end forever the ability of a vendor to use a proprietary platform to retain control over customers, Ross Mauri, vice president of eServer development for IBM in Armonk, N.Y., told eWEEK in a briefing ahead of Zeitlers address.

The model of computing has changed over time, but the last few years has shown that that part of computing history is over and the open movement will be the driving force now and in the future, he said.

Linux is a key player in that open movement, and Zeitler will show how industry-by-industry its customers are embracing the operating system, Mauri said. "We are engaged now with 2,500 major clients around the world who are putting Linux into their infrastructure, from those doing traditional Web serving to large supercomputer engagements, genomic research analysis and financial institutions," he said.

Customers giving testimony to their Linux adoptions will include Pixar Animation Studios and Salomon Smith Barney, Mauri said, adding that IBM is using 800 Linux servers on its own e-business infrastructure running the company. "Some of that is the IBM Web site, and Linux use is growing -- within our own infrastructure we are eating our own cooking," he said.

The latest announcements follow news at LinuxWorld in San Francisco last August that the Securities Industry Automation Corp. had moved its Artmail application from Sun SPARC servers to Linux on an IBM zSeries mainframe.

Artmail delivers daily activity reports to Wall Street brokers and members of their firms on their respective buy and sell transactions. It now uses a mainframe environment running Linux virtual servers on IBMs Virtual Machine technology.

120K Linux server wins

Another victory for IBM, Mauri said, was that it recorded 120,000 competitive Linux server wins in 2001. It also recouped most of the $1 billion it invested in Linux in 2001 through sales of Linux-based hardware, middleware, services and software, he said.

"Our view that the future was about openness, that Linux was one of the key players and that it was worth investing in and the returns would come has been validated. It has played out even faster than we at first imagined," he said.

One way Big Blue is looking for momentum around Linux is to find out where the next generation of technology leaders is coming from. IBM last year ran the Linux Scholars Challenge and this week will be announcing the 25 winners from 14 countries. Zeitler will announce that the winners were chosen from 1,400 entries from 669 universities in 64 different countries, which exceeded expectations. "These are the leaders of the future, and the Linux momentum is clearly far along in universities around the world," Mauri said.

Fastest growing OS

IBM is also looking to businesses as a measure of Linux adoption. Recent data from International Data Corp. showed that distributed copies of the Linux operating system grew 24 percent in 2001, making it the fastest growing operating system for the second year in a row.

"Even in a down economy Linux continues to accelerate and outstrip the other operating environments," Mauri said. IDC now estimates that by the end of 2002 some 9 percent of corporate IT budgets will be spent on Linux-based and -enabled systems.

"This figure didnt exist last year, and in 2002 it will stand at 9 percent. That tells me a lot about what will happen in 2002 as customers vote with their money," Mauri said. IDC also estimates that Linux will have a 32 percent share of the server market by the end of 2002, which is greater than its 27 percent estimate for 2002 made last year, he said.

In his keynote, Zeitler will also examine the issue of where this open platform is going, and about how IBM believes the Internet as a computing platform will grow and involve and that the next big step will be grid computing.

While the focus thus far has been on academic and university usage of grid computing, this will evolve into the commercial world and become the major way companies share resources internally and between themselves: "Zeitler will stress how IBM sees this as the next big step forward that the Internet enables for us. Were really excited about where grid is going to take us," Mauri said.