Stacy Cowley writes about a recent panel discussion in New York focused on the business case for open source software.
Still, in the year Merrill Lynch has been working with open-source software, the savings it’s seen have been on hardware costs, not software, he said. Replacing proprietary operating systems such as IBM’s AIX or Sun Microsystems’s Solaris with Linux have let Merrill Lynch trade pricey hardware for cheaper alternatives, but the products Linux is replacing are generally software vendors bundled in for free with the hardware, and maintenance and development costs are fairly analogous, Lefkowitz said.
Merrill Lynch is happy with the value it gets for the money it spends on hardware; where the company would like to drive down costs is on desktop software spending, Lefkowitz said. Toward that end, Merrill Lynch is beginning to evaluate desktop set-ups based on open-source software, with the eventual hope of running 20 percent of its desktop using open-source products.
At a recent financial services industry confab I attended, it was fascinating to see that the securities firms like Merrill Lynch are quite far along in their use of Linux in the enterprise while the banks haven’t even begun.