April 06, 2009

Anthony Golia, executive director of enterprise computing at Morgan Stanley, told attendees at the High Performance Linux on Wall Street show this morning that his firm has been using Linux in a big way since 2001.

"We use it because it performs well on inexpensive, commodity hardware," Golia said. "That continues to be true and that continues to be a reason we use it."

Golia said Morgan Stanley likes the open source Linux operating system, for one thing, because whenever a bug emerges, "there's a large and diverse group of minds looking at how to fix it." Secondly, a history of how the Linux code was developed exists on the web and is referencable. Thirdly, "Morgan Stanley is not a software engineering company, but my corner of the world is, we've been contributing to bug fixes and enhancements and that gives us a warm feeling," Golia said.

Before 2001, Morgan Stanley had a mishmash of every OS available. Today, it still has a mixed environment that includes a vast array of Linux-based systems, even running for mission-critical applications. It uses Red Hat in production but constantly looks at other Linux offerings like Suse. Morgan Stanley is looking at using Linux for high-performance applications.

One area where Morgan Stanley uses Linux is to quickly configure and monitor vast numbers of servers, Golia explained. "One year ago, we had two to three thousand applications and a small number of Linux computers," he said. "We realized only four or five applications had a voracious appetite for servers, we figured we had to revamp the way we provision, and we came up with a unique way to configure and monitor servers using home-grown and Linux tools." Specifically, the firm uses software developed by CERNELFms (Extremely Large Fabric management system) and Quattor system administration software.

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