German Federal Finance Office installs new Linux mainframes


Author: Chris Preimesberger

Enterprise-level open source software keeps scoring win after corporate win on the international front, in quicker fashion than it is making progress in the States. The latest item comes from the German Federal Finance Office (Bundesamt fuer Finanzen, or BfF), which announced Tuesday that it has installed two of the largest Linux-based mainframes in Europe after an 18-month testing period.The new installations include an IBM eServer zSeries z990 running Linux and an IBM eServer zSeries z900 running both Linux and IBM’s z/OS, which acts as a backup system.

Testing of the Linux-based IBM eServer z990 system, which supports the authority’s email and Internet applications, began in 2002. The two IBM mainframes replace 30 Sun and Fujitsu-Siemens servers that run versions of Unix in a multi-tier platform, IBM spokeswoman Sandra Dressel said. The BfF intends to make significant cost savings by consolidating its IT infrastructure, IBM said.

SVA (System Vertrieb Alexander), an IBM partner, developed the new system, which is designed to support more than 120,000 users throughout the BfF
organization, in addition to about 700 local tax authorities across Germany.

IBM competitor Sun Microsystems was blasé about IBM announcement. “The IT industry is consolidating around two vendors — IBM and Sun — and we look forward to continuing to go toe-to-toe with them,” Larry Singer, Sun’s senior vice president, global market strategies told Reuters.

The BfF has huge importance in Germany. It manages the payroll of all public sector employees, taxation of German citizens with taxable income abroad, and taxation of Germany’s largest enterprises. It requires extremely high system
performance and reliability, as well as the management and cost benefits associated with server consolidation.

The BfF is the largest of the five German federal upper authorities, under
control of the German ministry of finance.

“This is just the first stage of a much larger implementation,” a BfF spokesman said. “So far, we are very happy with the results we are getting from the new servers.”


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