IBM must have quite a sales rep working the financial services sector in Korea. In the last two years IBM has sold a slew of System z10 machines into the Korean financial sector alone, 29 by my count, 35 if you go back to the end of 2008.
DongBu Insurance took four System z 10 machines this past spring in a $60 million, 7-year OIO deal previously covered here. At the very end of 2009 IBM won BC Card, the leading Korea credit card processor, from HP in a deal for another three System z10 machines. Read my BC Card case study here. The Kookmin Bank deal for 22 z10 machines actually was announced in early 2009 but the bank’s IT team showed off the deployment earlier this month. A couple of months earlier (late 2008) the Industrial Bank of Korea upgraded from the z9 to six z10 EC mainframes.
Kookmin Bank is, by far, the largest in terms of the sheer number of z10 machines. They are set up in a parallel sysplex for high availability and disaster recovery. The bank, which resulted from a series of mergers over the past decade, turned to the System z consolidate all of its different business units and position the bank for future growth and change.
So why is IBM making a big deal about Kookmin Bank now? Besides the 22 z machines, a big order however you figure it, this is all about market share. As IBM noted early last year, the company nearly doubled its System z share over this past decade according to IDC’s high-end server quarterly tracker. During that time, as IBM reads the IDC numbers, HP and Sun lost share.
Since then, however, the high end server market has been tough with IBM experiencing some revenue drops. Market shares of all vendors in the high end server market have fluxuated due to the recession, product line refreshes, and the disruption of Sun because of its acquisition by Oracle. Although Sun still is stumbling HP has been coming on strong. With IBM preparing to announce a new high end System z later this year and its recently refreshed POWER7 server lineup beginning to ramp up, expect the market share picture to continue to change.
Before the Kookmin deal in early 2009, the bank had evaluated systems and technology from IBM and other vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and TmaxSoft. As part of its evaluation the bank also carried out benchmark tests for its core banking application and database management systems on the z and UNIX platforms.
Despite the competitive benchmarking, IBM and the z clearly had the inside track. The bank’s IT director confirmed to me that the new z10 machines were an upgrade of its existing z9 platform and did not replace any incumbent non-IBM technology. As of April 2010, the bank’s IT hardware infrastructure (including HA/DR) consisted of 22 System z10 (9-way) machines, approximately 1200 servers from IBM, HP, and Sun, and 5.5 PB of storage from IBM, EMC, and HDS.
That’s a lot of hardware, but the bank handles a heavy workload. It manages 79 million transactions daily. As for the bank’s financials: in 2009 Kookmin had assets of 256.5 trillion (won) and average operating revenue over the past three years of 31.5 trillion (won). Note: in dollars, 10 South Korean won equal $0.01 US dollar.
The bank runs the core System z software stack: z/OS, DB2, CICS, the Rational product suite, and the Tivoli product suite. The bank does not appear to be running any non-traditional workloads on the System z via WebSphere or Linux on the z. The bank, however, operates a ton of distributed servers so it can cover those workloads outside the z.