Banco Mercantil Moves to Linux on IBM Mainframe

Caracas, Venezuela and Armonk, NY...May 3, 2001 —-- 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 S/390 in the enterprise.

In the first phase of the project, Banco Mercantil has consolidated the workload running on 30 existing NT servers into one Linux for S/390 image on a single IBM mainframe. Later, applications currently running on Sun and HP servers will be moved to the new Linux for S/390 image.

"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 is being used to support file servers, Internet domain name server and an LDAP server. Previously, these had each been running on separate NT servers. Banco Mercantil is using a specially designed hardware feature for Linux on the mainframe, the IBM Integrated Facility for Linux. Banco Mercantil was able to add system capacity for Linux applications without increasing overall mainframe software costs, making Linux for S/390 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 e(logo)serverz900. "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 for S/390, one for Domino for S/390, and one for OS/390 applications.

About Banco Mercantil
Banco Mercantil is one of the largest banks in Venezuela with 375 branches. Leading technology has over the past few years been a key force, allowing the bank to offer better services and compete with foreign banks.

Banco Mercantil owns Commerce Bank which has 10 branches in Miami, one in New York and branches in Curacao and Bogota. The bank is a member of the Servicios Financieros Mercantil, a holding company that includes Commerce Bank, Seguros Mercantil and Banco Mercantil de Suiza. Banco Mercantil recently acquired Interbank, a financial institution with 70 branches.

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