February 10, 2003


It's significant that enterprise-levl open source software keeps scoring win after corporate win on the international front -- in quicker fashion than it is making progress in the States. In just the last few months, there has been a steady stream of news stories about corporations and government entities coming to a crossroads decision, then ditching their old systems for new ones running various brands of Linux and other key components. 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 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. The new installations include an IBM eServer zSeries z990 running Linux and an IBM eServer zSeries z900 running both the IBM operating system, z/OS, and Linux.

The new system is designed to support more than 120,000 users throughout the BfF
organization, in addition to about 700 local tax authorities across

"The IT (information technology) 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 payroll of all public sector employees, taxation of German citizens with taxable income abroad, and the tax
management of Germany's largest enterprises. It requires extremely high system
performance and reliability from any platform, as well as the management
and cost benefits associated with server consolidation. SVA (System Vertrieb Alexander), an IBM partner, developed the new system.

Testing of the IBM eServer z990/Linux operating system, which
supports the authority's email and Internet applications, began in 2002.
Performance and reliability was further enhanced by the addition of the IBM
eServer z900, acting as a back up system for the workloads running on the
IBM eServer z990 Linux-based system.

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

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