German cooperative bank Mainzer Volksbank eG wanted to reduce spending on its IT infrastructure without compromising on availability, stability or performance. To achieve this, the bank migrated its business applications to IBM Power Systems servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. With the SUSE solution, Mainzer Volksbank saves EUR 100,000 a year in IT costs while ensuring smooth operations with 99.999 percent system availability.


Mainzer Volksbank eG, a cooperative bank headquartered in Mainz, Germany, operates 34 branches across the region, serving more than 260,000 customers. The bank offers a wide range of banking, credit and insurance services, employs around 1,000 people and reports total assets of EUR 5.5 billion.

The Challenge

Technology plays a vital role in helping Mainzer Volksbank to deliver superior customer service and keep ahead of fierce competition. The bank operates a number of systems in-house, including IBM DB2 databases and business analytics and intelligence applications. Maintaining always-on availability and fast response times for these systems is a key priority for Mainzer Volksbank’s five-strong IT team.

Bernhard Hübner, System Architect at Mainzer Volksbank eG, began: “Although not mission-critical, our business analytics and intelligence are extremely valuable tools, helping us to ensure that we can react flexibly to changing market demands and stay ahead of competitors.

“In the past, we operated in-house IT applications on IBM z Systems servers running z/OS. With software licensing and server maintenance, the average cost of running the environment was over EUR 160,000 a year.

“Like many IT departments, we are constantly under pressure to reduce costs, and could no longer justify running such an expensive hardware and operating system combination. We wanted to move to a more cost efficient platform, but we were not prepared to sacrifice system availability or stability—something that IBM z Systems is renowned for.”

“There was really no alternative to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in our eyes—it offered exceptional stability, and we knew we would be able to rely on top-quality support from SUSE.”

SUSE Solution

To reduce the cost of its IT infrastructure, while maintaining high levels of availability, stability and performance, Mainzer Volksbank decided to deploy IBM Power Systems servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

“After making the decision to move to IBM Power System servers, selecting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as our operating system was an easy choice,” recalled Bernhard Hübner. “We chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server because it would help us lower costs while providing all the features we needed for reliable operations. There was really no alternative to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in our eyes—it offered exceptional stability, and we knew we would be able to rely on top-quality support from SUSE.”

Working closely with IT partner Computacenter, Mainzer Volksbank successfully migrated over 500 applications to two geographically remote IBM Power 740 servers. Bernhard Hübner said: “The implementation went very smoothly, ensuring there was minimal impact on the business.

“With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM Power Systems, it was possible to migrate workloads from IBM z Systems without compromising on availability or stability—something we had not previously thought possible. Thanks to the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server High Availability Extension, we achieve 99.999 percent system availability.”

The Results

Today, Mainzer Volksbank runs all of its business intelligence applications and IBM DB2 database server on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and has completely retired its IBM z Systems environment.

The new platform is proving to be much more cost-efficient, as Bernhard Hübner said: “Running our applications on IBM Power Systems servers with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server saves us EUR 100,000 a year in software licensing and maintenance costs.”

As well as providing a solid foundation for the bank’s business applications, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server also offers easy management. By taking advantage of built-in configuration tool YaST®, Mainzer Volksbank is able to automatically configure its machines and install applications, cutting time spent on system administration and contributing to lower maintenance costs.

Bernhard Hübner concludes: “With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we have gained a super-stable operating system that plays a significant role in ensuring smooth operations, all while slashing operating costs. We are very happy with the SUSE solution, and are confident that it will remain at the heart of our IT strategy for years to come.”