Banco Mercantil implements Linux across the enterprise

Banco Mercantil implements Linux across the enterprise

Venezuela's Banco Mercantil is claiming to be the first Latin American company - and one of 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," says 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.

"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," says John Morris, vice president, IBM eServer z900.

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.

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