News Release

AXA Technology Services Selects Cisco MDS 9000 as the SAN Switch for its Global Storage Consolidation Program

Signs Exclusive Purchase Deal through IBM Global Services
Jul 15, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. - July 15, 2003 - AXA Technology Services, the infrastructure service delivery arm of the AXA Group (NYSE:AXA), has begun deploying Cisco MDS 9000 Family of storage area networking (SAN) director- and fabric-class switches as part of a broad, strategic storage consolidation program in six of its "IT Competency Centers" around the world, Cisco announced today.

Using a combination of Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer directors and Cisco MDS 9216 Multilayer fabric switches, AXA has begun consolidation projects in the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, with plans to deploy nearly 2,000 SAN switch ports in the first year of program. As the projects in the remaining centers (in Belgium, and Australia) complete over the next six years, AXA will have deployed more than 8,000 SAN switch ports, making this the largest planned Cisco MDS 9000 implementation to date.

"Meeting the various, stringent demands of an IT project of this scope and size required us to turn to solutions that would help us achieve maximum operational efficiency," said Leon Billis, CEO and president of the AXA Technology Services. "AXA selected the Cisco MDS 9000 Family because its industry-leading availability, scalability, security, and management features are shared across its entire product portfolio, allowing us to build highly intelligent and reliable SANs under a common architecture."

The AXA global storage consolidation program is an integral part of the company's Infrastructure on Demand (IOD) initiative, a $1 billion technology services agreement AXA signed earlier with IBM Global Services. The initiative's goal is to enhance the performance and efficiency of AXA's global computing infrastructure, which includes server, mainframe, and storage infrastructures.

As such, AXA purchased the Cisco MDS 9000 switches through an exclusive deal with IBM. The product delivery through IBM is consistent with the Cisco "OSM Active" strategy, by which the Cisco salesforce works actively to help customers understand the advantages of the Cisco MDS 9000 while the OSM (original storage manufacturer) retains its primary solution-distribution role. The AXA win is also the latest in a long line of successful engagements between Cisco and IBM, which has provided customers a single point of contact, proven technology solutions, and end-to-end integration services.

"Our existing global strategic alliance relationship with Cisco enables IBM to provide customers such as AXA with seamlessly integrated e-business solutions," said Donald G. Fitzpatrick Jr., vice president, IBM/Cisco Strategic Alliance. "Combining Cisco's strengths in Internet infrastructure, including storage area networking, with IBM's world-class integration services, means customers can be assured they are receiving proven technology solutions that are backed by the leading companies in their respective industries."

The Cisco MDS 9000 has been shipping to customers through IBM since March 21, 2003 as part of a global reseller and support/services agreement. Cisco and IBM today announced they have expanded this agreement to include the availability of the Cisco MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module through IBM and its business partners. This module, which supports both iSCSI and FCIP storage transport protocols, will deliver lower cost points and business-continuance functionality to enterprise SANs (read IBM's announcement).

"Cisco designed and built the Cisco MDS 9000 as a premier SAN switch in every respect," said Luca Cafiero, senior vice president and general manager of the Switching, Voice, and the Storage Technologies Group at Cisco. "Large-scale adoption among customers such as AXA is validation that we have succeeded."