December 17, 2002 This coverage originally appeared on American Banker Online:
Merrill Lynch & Co. is consolidating its computer systems for its file servers onto "virtual machines," which can run otherwise incompatible operating systems. Virtual machines will let employees "hot-switch" between older, incompatible programs and newer software, said John A. McKinley, an executive vice president and head of global technology and services. The affected servers will be dedicated to software development testing and support.
Merrill is also installing new trading software on 28,000 desktop machines. The old and new products are incompatible, but a "transition support tool" from VMware Inc. will allow them to coexist on the machines, mitigating risk during the deployment, Mr. McKinley said. Hundreds of servers will eventually be consolidated onto virtual machines, which could save tens of millions of dollars annually, Mr. McKinley said.
Merrill completed a similar consolidation three years ago with its storage area network.