October 10, 2006 07:49 ET

Nexxar Group Selects IBM Mainframe & Linux to Propel Business Growth

Sweeping the Floor of x86 Boxes, IBM System z9 Business Class Machine Is Crucial to the Acquisition and Private Label Strategy of This Early Stage Consolidator

ARMONK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 10, 2006 -- Financial services company Nexxar Group, Inc. is consolidating more than 80 x86 servers onto an IBM (NYSE: IBM) System z9 Business Class mainframe running Linux to help drive its strategy of acquiring businesses and winning new private label relationships, the companies announced today. Nexxar Group also expects to save 30% per year in related operating costs as a result of switching to the System z9.

Nexxar Group is an "early stage consolidator," meaning that its business model involves acquiring and integrating smaller firms.

The company is relying on the IBM mainframe's unmatched virtualization capabilities to quickly create a secure, custom-tailored computing environment for each "private label" relationship that utilizes Nexxar Group 's money transfer, money order, bill payment and check cashing services. In addition, the mainframe helps enable Nexxar Group's growth-through-acquisition strategy, which requires that the IT environments of newly acquired companies be integrated quickly and efficiently.

"When we need to add a virtual Linux image on the IBM System z9, it's as simple as 'cutting and pasting,'" said Wim De Ridder, Managing Director and CIO, Nexxar Group, Inc. "By contrast, in the x86 world, we would have to add a whole new physical server, plus the software, networking and attendant maintenance. Just as important, since the IBM mainframe was designed from the ground up to be a shared environment, it provides the kind of rock-solid security that we require."

The IBM mainframe streamlines maintenance substantially. The mainframe reduces 75% of the required headcount to maintain the operating environment in comparison with the x86 systems previously on the floor.

On the software side, Nexxar Group has selected IBM's DB2 database on z/OS and is running its core applications on the Integrated Facility for Linux, a specialty processor that optimizes Linux performance. The System z9 Business Class server's extremely high level of capacity utilization -- which can approach 100 percent -- is far superior to the overall utilization of x86 systems, De Ridder added, allowing Nexxar Group to much more efficiently use the server resource it purchases.

"The System z9 mainframe has solved Nexxar Group's problem, one that many growing companies face after they've started down the x86 path -- namely, how do you eliminate the resulting sprawl of servers, with their attendant flood of IT workers and skyrocketing software costs," said Jim Stallings, general manager, IBM System z. "The IBM mainframe offers powerful economic benefits that are delivering significant results for customers running a wide spectrum of new workloads, including Linux applications."

Nexxar Group is backed by FTVentures, a private equity firm focused on software and business services companies and a strategic partner of IBM's Venture Capital Group. FTVentures is Nexxar Group's largest investor and is one of more than 120 key VC firms the IBM Venture Capital Group collaborates with to identify and nurture innovative young companies like Nexxar Group and enable them to put the right solutions in place and successfully evolve their businesses.

"The IBM Venture Capital Group's unique partnership model has allowed us to leverage IBM's deep technical and business resources to help put Nexxar Group in a strong go-to-market position," said Mike Gurevich, technology advisor of FTVentures. "Our relationship with IBM's Venture Capital Group was integral in the planning, testing and deployment of the z9 mainframe at Nexxar."

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