RealTime IT News

E*TRADE Goes Linux with IBM

NEW YORK -- E*TRADE Group Inc. made a splash at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo Wednesday as it revealed that it will migrate its entire customer-facing financial services platform to an open Linux environment including IBM Corp.'s eServer xSeries.

Josh Levine, chief technology officer of E*TRADE, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon together with William Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Server Group.

"The important thing for us is to provide the best service for our customers," Levine said, noting that the best way for E*TRADE to provide its customers with top-notch service is for the company itself to make money. That's where the decision to go with Linux comes in.

Levine said the company is likely to replace about 300 servers (possibly more), and going with a commoditized operating system allows the company to maximize cost efficiencies. Levine said E*TRADE's move to Linux is now four months old in implementation, and the company has already reduced technology costs by $65 million by reevaluating how it uses technology and moving to open source software. He added that the company expects to derive significant savings in the future as well.

"We've selected IBM as a partner to really work with us in moing our business to a whole new level," Levine said.

But, because the system will now run on open software, he also noted that IBM and other partners like Fujitsu will have to compete to keep E*TRADE's business.

"If you have an open operating environment, then customers can make a choice," Levine said. "Having artificial barriers drop away just lets us do what we need to do."

Embracing that, Zeitler said, "We expect to have to earn every decision that Josh makes."

Levine said the new Linux servers will replace Sun Microsystem servers running Solaris.