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Handelsbanken Offers 21st Century Banking Services Using IBM and Red Hat Solutions


ARMONK, N.Y. and RALEIGH, N.C. -IBM and Red Hat , a leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Handelsbanken, one of the four largest banks in the Nordic Area, has achieved strong business continuity, security and cost-efficiency results by deploying virtualization technology using Red Hat Enterprise Linux on System z servers and IBM System z operating system, z/OS. The bank’s newly deployed technology solution will help maintain a highly resilient and secure network that scales based on business demands.

Today’s announcement comes at a pivotal time for Handelsbanken as the bank continues its path as one of Europe’s most innovative lending organizations with Internet banking features, such as unique branch office web sites and direct email addresses to each branch site for enhanced customer service. Handelsbanken joins the world’s top 50 banks that currently call upon the IBM System z server to run their banking transactions.

“Customers entrust us with their hard earned savings so it’s paramount that we select one of the industry’s most powerful and secure servers - the IBM System z,” said Roger Rydberg, technical manager at Handelsbanken. “System z servers are ’almost perfect’ because of its availability and performance. It allows us to keep up with business climate changes because we can add or eliminate capacity any time based on customer demands. We can even make changes easily without having to stop any services.”

“One of the main reasons for us to standardize our Linux environment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the ability to lower costs and use our IT personnel more effectively by leveraging the solution’s integrated virtualization functionality. We can now fully harness and utilize the knowledge and experience of our IT staff who manage our existing distributed Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems for our System z environment,” said Peter ter Laag, Central Data Department at Handelsbanken.

The bank’s virtualized environment has helped to lower costs by minimizing the need for additional systems that require more energy and space, translating into a greener IT infrastructure. The combination of Red Hat and IBM solutions has helped the bank move closer to meeting its greener computing initiatives.

To maintain business operations for Handelsbanken’s 660 branch offices across Sweden, Great Britain and the Nordic countries to run smoothly, the bank utilizes Parallel Sysplex IBM’s System z clustering technology and IBM’s availability and disaster recovery solution branded as GDPS (Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex). Parallel Sysplex and GDPS together allows Handelsbanken to run its System z mainframes as highly powerful “clustered” servers that move new work requests to the available resources so that even planned or un-planned outages in multiple and distant data centers have little to no impact on business operations. Known for its ability to share system resources with one of the highest degrees of efficiency among other systems, the System z mainframe can consolidate hundreds of virtual servers into a single mainframe - allowing customers like Handelsbanken to run critical customer transactions in the midst of executing other strategic IT projects. Handelsbanken currently runs GDPS version 3.5. IBM most recently released Version 3.6.

In addition to standardizing its Linux systems on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for its virtualization technology and benefits of scalability, performance and reduced costs, Handelsbanken also utilizes the System z operating system, z/OS, to perform ongoing simplification features and health-checking mechanisms. The bank’s infrastructure also includes extensive use of innovative policy-based networking services across multiple z/OS-based networks. Built-in automated reporting capabilities help Handelsbanken manage countless workloads and network traffic across its systems. Handelsbanken currently runs z/OS version 1.10, the latest release of the operating system.

“Most important for Handelsbanken is that we can achieve all the benefits of virtualized systems, while still maintaining a secure and flexible environment with high availability and reliability through Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These elements are extremely important to our business, especially when running transaction intensive applications. Red Hat Enterprise Linux on System z has helped us meet mission-critical needs for our organization,” said ter Laag.


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