Linux use doubles in financial organisations

Growing support for Linux has been the single biggest technology change in financial organisations over the past twelve months, say researchers

Support for Linux in the traditionally conservative world of financial services has more than doubled in the last year according to the latest market intelligence.

Support for open source technologies from mainstream suppliers such as IBM and Sun has boosted the number of financial institutions using Linux from 27 percent last year to 58 percent in 2005, according to a report from financial technology researchers Finextra.

In fact the growing support for Linux has been the single biggest technology change in financial organisations over the past 12 months, say the researchers writing in the Financial Technology Strategies 2005 survey.

The researchers attributed the substantial increase to the investment banks, asset management firms and exchanges in question looking for operational efficiencies while also trying to drive down costs. There was also a greater confidence in the suitability and stability of the technology due support from a broad range of vendors.

Other findings from the survey of 92 financial organisations included more focus on Web services and new architectures over the coming year as legacy platforms and infrastructure are replaced with emerging technologies such as grid computing and blade servers.

However compliance with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley continued to be a drain on IT budgets. In 2004, 60 percent of the organisations surveyed claimed regulations were merely an extension of existing systems but this year less than half of respondents held that view.

"The sheer weight of the compliance burden and the systems integration challenge it entails has put a reality check on the ambitions of institutions responding to this year's survey," the report concluded.

Despite compliance worries, organisations were generally optimistic about 2005 with around 85 percent of respondents claiming their IT budgets will be larger year-on-year. Those organisations expecting a budget rise this year put the increase at an estimated 24 percent.

"This continues last year's trend when budgetary growth first began to reverse the cutbacks forecast by our 2003 projections," the report claimed.

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