Boston -- Speaking at the InfoWorld CTO Forum here, Merrill Lynch's chief technology architect, Rick Carey, said that the financial services company is taking a contrarian's view on the use of Web services.
Rather than focusing its energy on exposing services across the Internet, the New York-based company has built Web services that expose CICS transactions on a mainframe. And it has used its own proprietary XML, dubbed X4ML (XML for Merrill Lynch), to achieve that end.
Carey said that Web services enable Merrill Lynch to do three things: expose CICS transactions as Web services, reduce software licensing costs by running Linux on the mainframe, and migrate its Web hosting to mainframe systems.
Indeed, Merrill Lynch runs some of its Web sites, namely departmental-level sites, on the mainframe, which gives them all the stability they need. "Actually, in the end it's cheaper," Carey said. While other companies and vendors talk about Web services across the Internet, Merrill Lynch is using them internally, Carey added. "I'm talking to you about Web services on the mainframe," he said.
Carey continued that Merrill Lynch needs to take this approach because CICS is a core component of its business and, in fact, the company runs more than 23,000 different CICS programs. "We've got to rationalize our investments. We've been spending $4 billion a year for years. We need to get more out of it," Carey said, explaining that Web services can help with that.
He urged CTO Forum attendees to begin building Web services, and to begin with UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration). "If there is one area you can take your best and brightest and get them to focus on it's [UDDI]," he said. "I'm not talking about exposing things over the Internet. Do it internally."
Carey was clear, however, that Web services are not a panacea. "Web services, from our experience, has been painful. We're pushing the vendors. I'm not sure the vendors are listening because they're all focused on [delivering Web services across] the Internet," he said.
The shortcomings of Web services, according to Carey, are lack of security and reliable messaging. "I can't, as an architect, allow transactions across HTTP," because it is not secure or reliable enough, Carey added. "I want to see transport independence. I want to be able to use something like MQ. We've got to have transport independence."