Monday, September 24, 2007

Linux and open source software pay off for PayPal

Linux and open source software pay off for PayPal: When Scott Thompson left Visa to take the CTO role at PayPal in 2005, the Web company's data centre surprised him. "Wait a minute," he recalls saying, "they run a payment system on Linux?"

"I was pretty familiar with payment systems and global trading systems, but I just scratched my head when I came here," Thompson says. With his history of working on IBM mainframes and large Sun Solaris systems, the PayPal approach to computing seemed alien, especially for a company whose core mission was dealing with money.

PayPal runs thousands of Linux-based, single-rack-unit servers, which host the company's Web-presentation layer, middleware and user interface. Thompson says he quickly saw the economic, operational and development advantages of open source and Linux technology. He now sees no other way to do it.

"When you're buying lots of big iron, as I did in other places I've worked, your upgrade path is $2 million, $3 million at a clip. You just had to buy big chunks of stuff to scale," he says. "Here at PayPal, our upgrade path is 10 $1,000 no-name servers, slapped into the mid-tier of the platform. And we just keep scaling it that way. It's unbelievably cost-effective."

Via Matt Asay.


Eric said...


This is one reason I am really looking forward to attending HPTS this year. Pay Pal is on the agenda along with several other companies using similar architectures.

The contrast is very interesting between IT architectures designed before the Web, and those designed for the Web. One of the things I'm very interested in, and we explored in some detail last February at the W3C Web of Services for Enterprise Computing Workshop is how better to bridge the worlds.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

I have noticed some charges on my credit card from Are they somehow PayPal related? Should I file complaints with Paypal?

Please let me know