October 06, 2005 10:04 ET

FirstMerit Banks on IBM Storage Virtualization

IBM Storage Virtualization Solution Helps FirstMerit Optimize More Than 10 Terabytes of Data

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 6, 2005 -- IBM today announced that FirstMerit Bank has streamlined its internal and Internet banking applications by implementing a solution built on IBM's storage virtualization technology, helping the bank save nearly $300,000 on technology costs, while at the same time supporting more than 1.6 million financial transactions per month.

FirstMerit Bank, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, serves more than 500,000 household and business customers and has amassed an enormous 10 terabyte repository of transaction records and financial data, the equivalent of about 10 million books. The bank, which has a growing customer base hungry for the latest in online, on demand banking technology, needed better performance and cost-saving technologies to update its aging infrastructure, support internal applications and business processes and move its Internet presence to the next level.

"When taking a snapshot of our banking infrastructure, we saw two key issues -- much of the server and storage space we had was not being fully utilized and then in other areas, various applications and transactions were causing a bottleneck," said Dave Samic, Senior Network Analyst, FirstMerit Corporation. "By installing an IBM storage virtualization solution at the forefront, we were able to spread the demands on the infrastructure and free up more capacity to deliver information and data as our customer base and their demands grew."

FirstMerit took advantage of its existing disk storage and added a layer of IBM's Virtualization Engine technology to improve performance and better utilize capacity. Using the IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller virtualization solution to create a tiered storage environment allows FirstMerit Bank to match the cost of its storage to the value of its data. With the implementation of the storage virtualization technology, FirstMerit Bank has the ability to combine the aggregated capacity from multiple disk storage systems into a single storage pool -- which then can be managed from a central point helping to dramatically improve utilization and simplify management.

FirstMerit's Storage Area Network infrastructure is comprised of an IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume solution managing IBM TotalStorage DS4400 storage systems connected to IBM eServer BladeCenters. Additionally, the Internet banking solution is tied into the company's main datacenter, which allows the bank's employees to access critical customer data as required.

"By implementing IBM's storage virtualization solution in conjunction with IBM blade servers and storage hardware, customers like FirstMerit Bank are realizing a significant decrease in technology and management costs through consolidation of physical boxes, increased utilization of system assets and the extended throughput that storage virtualization solutions help achieve," said Rich Lechner, Vice President, IBM Storage Solutions.

Information on Demand

The desire by businesses to access, manage and deliver information more efficiently is driving rapid change in the IT marketplace. Traditional low-tech, hardware-only approaches by proprietary vendors are meeting with resistance as companies grappling with new government mandates and business demands strive to capture and integrate information in a more seamless, real-time fashion across the enterprise. IBM's information on demand approach combines deep business insight with open standards, advanced storage systems, sophisticated systems management software and leading information management software to create efficient, cost-effective and flexible information infrastructures. Regardless of the industry, IBM helps companies transform data into insight to enable information on demand.

About FirstMerit Bank

FirstMerit Corporation (NASDAQ: FMER) is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with assets of $10.3 billion as of June 30, 2005, and 160 banking offices in 24 Ohio and Western Pennsylvania counties. FirstMerit provides a complete range of banking and financial services to consumers and businesses through its core operations. Principal wholly owned subsidiaries include: FirstMerit Bank, N.A., FirstMerit Mortgage Corporation, FirstMerit Title Agency, Ltd., FirstMerit Credit Life Insurance Company, and FirstMerit Community Development Corporation.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key IBM Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that help enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business on demand. For more information about IBM, visit For more information on IBM's on demand strategy, visit

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