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PRESS RELEASE

Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) chooses the Cisco Business Ready Data Centre solution

Italian banking group develop a disaster recovery solution to reduce operational risk

MILAN, Italy, January 10, 2005 - Cisco Systems® today announced that banking group Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), the oldest banking institute worldwide, will use Cisco's Business Ready Data Centre framework to create a network architecture, which will help reduce operational costs, improve flexibility and enhance business agility.

MPS will consolidate and interconnect storage resources at its two regional data centres in Italy using Cisco Systems integrated data center networking which will enable MPS to improve usability, availability and continuity of services. Cisco and MPS are collaborating with IBM on this project.

MPS's main data centre locations, situated 90 km from each other, have similar storage resources at both sites. The deployed storage area networks (SANs) in each data center are based on the Cisco MDS 9500 Series intelligent storage network switches which optimizes the storage of large data volumes held on open systems.

As a result of the latest development, the two data centers are now interconnected through the ultra-high-bandwidth DWDM technology (Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing) based on the Cisco ONS 15540 network platform for optical services. This supports a multiservice solution to efficiently transport voice, video, data as well as storage traffic between locations.

The DWDM infrastructure helps enable information to be replicated in a synchronous way between data centers to help support operational compliance. The high-speed optical network also helps minimize delays when replicating information over 90 km between the two IBM OS/390 mainframe and open systems environments. The solution also supports an overall data centralization project to improve information integrity which reduces the need for manual procedures to verify data security.

"High availability and business continuance, key elements of Cisco's Business Ready Data Centre architecture, help provide a platform for managing operational risk, which is becoming a key priority for many financial institutions," said Stefano Venturi, VP and general manager, Italy, for Cisco Systems in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). "Being able to create mirrored images of information stored in remote locations helps financial institutions to minimize operational risk, whilst helping build a more flexible IT infrastructure."

Announced by Cisco on April 14, 2004, the Cisco Business Ready Data Centre addresses the need for an intelligent network architecture that supports current data centre initiatives and provides a foundation for the next-generation data centre. Comprised of a three-tiered architecture, including: Foundation Data Centre Network Architecture - data, storage and optical; Integrated Intelligent Services - security, application optimization and manageability; and Embedded Storage and Application Services, the Business Ready Data Centre is based on an adaptive architecture that improves operational efficiencies, enhances business resilience and provides a transparent migration path for future applications.

Cisco technologies currently deployed in the MPS data centre solution include the Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Director switches and Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer Fabric switches to support the Fibre Channel SAN, as well as the Cisco ONS 15540 optical networking platforms for data centre interconnection.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, this year celebrates 20 years of commitment to technology innovation, industry leadership and corporate social responsibility. Information on Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

About MPS

Considered the world's oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena was set up by the State of Siena as Monte di Pietà in 1472, and has operated since then without interruption. On 25 June 1999, the ordinary shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena were listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. When measured on loan and deposit volumes, MPS is currently Italy's fourth largest banking group. Based on the classifications published in, The MPS Group ranks as the 47th largest banking group in Europe (The Banker -july 2000). Market share in Italy ranges around 7.0 percent. Further information can be found at www.mps.it.

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