IBM has opened a 'Centre of Competence' to provide advice and assistance for financial services customers interested in Linux.
Executives attending the centre's opening said potential cost savings are creating interest from financial services companies.
Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse First Boston are among the big-name finance houses which cited cost-savings a reason for moving to Linux.
IBM opened a similar centre for Wall Street late last year.
"The centre will provide real experience and real solutions for real business," said David Valentine, IBM's sales manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, speaking at the centre launch.
"We will stay very focused on financial services. There is incredible pressure on cutting costs in the financial services market, and some of the early Linux adopters gained staggering cost benefits."
Situated within IBM's South Bank building, the centre consists of meeting rooms and an open-plan room with computer hardware, screens and audio/visual equipment.
The room can be laid out in different ways for training, meetings, demonstrations and small porting tasks.
Technical staff, including third-party financial software vendors, can be called as needed.
Valentine explained that IBM could help customers drive out costs in different ways, such as through infrastructures using a blade approach, improving the efficiency of core processes, server consolidation and application consolidation.
Adam Jollans, IBM's worldwide Linux software marketing strategy manager, told vnunet.com that many companies had moved from Windows to gain greater reliability and consolidation.
"There are a lot of Windows NT users out there. Faced with the costs of redeveloping their software for Server 2003, some of them are considering Linux as a better long-term option," he said.
Shaun Davies, strategic business director for IBM systems at Computacenter, added: "Change is being demanded by customers to drive out business costs. Linux absolutely fits that."
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