Banco Mercantil Moves to Linux on IBM Mainframe

May 3, 2001

Venezuelan Bank is First Financial Institution with SUSE Linux

Caracas, Venezuela

IBM and Banco Mercantil today announced that Banco Mercantil is the first Latin American company -- and among the first financial institutions anywhere -- to implement Linux for the enterprise.

In the first phase of the project, Banco Mercantil has replaced 30 existing NT servers with a single IBM mainframe. Later, applications currently running on Sun and HP servers will be moved to the new Linux platform. In addition, the bank is using Linux mainframe Web applications to enable customers to check bank account information via the Internet. The mainframe's two cryptographic co-processors provide the high level of security necessary for sensitive financial data.

"Linux on the IBM mainframe allows us to consolidate in a very cost effective way," said Isaac Arismendi, IT Infrastructure Manager, Banco Mercantil. "In addition to these applications running on the mainframe, we have higher availability and reliability, and better performance. Consolidation also means that we have far fewer individual servers to administer."

The IBM mainframe, an S/390 G6, running a SUSE distribution of Linux will at first handle file servers, Internet domain servers and a firewall. Previously, these had each been running on separate NT servers. Banco Mercantil, using a specially designed hardware feature for Linux on the mainframe, the IBM Integrated Facility for Linux, was able to add Linux applications and system capacity without increasing overall mainframe software costs, making Linux the most economical way for the bank to consolidate.

"This landmark project is a breakthrough for Linux in the banking sector and is yet further evidence that Linux for the enterprise is here today," said John Morris, Vice President, IBM eServer z900. "The combination of Linux and the mainframe provides Banco Mercantil with the superior technology necessary to meet the demands of the uncompromising financial sector."

"The reliability and stability of SUSE Linux complement the needs of Banco Mercantil," said Dirk Hohndel, CTO, SUSE Linux AG. "SUSE Linux, with IBM's mainframe server, delivers a powerful, high-performing and economical solution for the banking industry."

The IBM mainframe is handling a mixed workload utilizing three logical partitions (LPARs) -- one for Linux, one for Domino for S/390, and one for OS/390. The OS/390 LPAR is running OS/390 V2.9, CICS TS V1.3, MQSeries V1.2 and Tivoli Framework.

For further information on SUSE Linux for S/390, please click here.

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