Merrill Uses VMware in NT/XP Switch, Server Consolidation

January 6, 2003 This coverage originally appeared on ComputerWire:

VMware Inc. today will announce that brokerage Merrill Lynch has just become one of its largest customers as it rolls out the company's VMware Workstation virtual machine partitioning middleware on 28,000 broke workstations. The move is part of a transition of those workstations from Microsoft's Windows NT and Windows 2000 platforms to Windows XP and from an in-house set of applications to a retail broker application that Merrill Lynch is bringing in from Thomson Financial.

Rather than painfully upgrading all of those desktops from Windows NT/2K to XP and from the in-house to Thomson applications all in one fell swoop, Merrill Lynch has decided to equip its new broker workstations with the VMware partitioning software so a single machine can support both the old and new applications and allow brokers to jump back and forth between the two as they learn the new system. The move to XP, which Merrill Lynch's techies say is more reliable and which obviously has more features, and the relatively easy transition that VMware will give brokers will reportedly save the brokerage house millions of dollars as it does its upgrade.

Merrill Lynch also will apparently be consolidating the applications running on several hundred industry-standard servers that sit behind these broke workstations onto bigger servers that will be equipped with the serve versions of VMware's partitioning software. According to reports, Merrill Lynch hopes to save $2m in hardware costs over the next five years by consolidating its Intel server farm onto four-way and eight-way Intel boxes using VMware GSX Server and ESX Server. The reduction in serve administration, software, and other costs could amount to tens of millions of dollars over the same term.