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ING Canada to Embrace Linux in Network Upgrade

Financial services firm ING Canada is now among the latest enterprise networks to embrace open-source operating system Linux as part of a wide-ranging plan to upgrade its Internet-based operations.

ING, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance products in Canada, said it has signed a multi-year deal with Armonk, N.Y.'s IBM , in which it will use Linux to streamline its Web services applications.

The deal also includes the use of IBM's WebSphere software development applications and IBM's latest zSeries mainframes. Among the goals is to enable ING's Canadian customers in Canada to view their insurance policies online for the first time.

ING has undergone a number of mergers and acquisitions in the past few years, leaving it with a patchwork of different platforms and networking protocols across its far-flung operations in 60 countries. The overlapping systems led ING to sign with IBM for a series of upgrades, including streamlining its Web applications by consolidating its Web services onto one mainframe running Linux.

IBM said the Linux/zSeries mainframe combination is the key to the bank's goal to be ready to scale its network capacity up or down depending on market fluctuations or customer demand.

The companies said IBM zSeries mainframe systems running Linux would be used to support many of ING's applications, as well as maintenance and enabling services to sustain the company's growth in Canada.

The deal also includes an on-demand component. ING said it would create virtual servers that will supply as little or as much processing power as needed to respond to fluctuations in user demand.

"By supporting all business areas of our company, the proposed approach will allow us to offer better services to our distribution networks and to reach out more effectively to the four million people who rely on us to protect their assets," said Jean Pierre Ratelle, ING Canada's senior vice president of strategic marketing.