Egg supplier switches from NT to a mainframe

A supplier to online bank Egg has switched from NT to mainframe technology to achieve a tenfold increase in scalability.

A supplier to online bank Egg has switched from NT to mainframe technology to achieve a tenfold increase in scalability.

Lisa Kelly

Secure internet payment systems company Earthport has announced that it is to replace Compaq servers running on NT with an IBM S/390 mainframe eServer.

Earthport has worked with Egg on the development of the Egg Wallet online purse which is due to launch this spring. It is also in negotiations with Egg about the use of its payments infrastructure for the Egg Wallet service.

Earthport’s old system could only handle 10 million e-wallets (holding customer information), but with the IBM mainframe it can handle up to 100 million.

“It now has the power to handle 70,000 credits and debits per second and potentially process up to 150 million transactions per day,” said Jonathan Baile, director of sales at Earthport.

He said that Earthport found “NT systems were not sufficiently scalable,” but added, “we still use Microsoft at the front end to interact with the systems.”

Baile said, “We have developed a 2001 solution. A back-end DB2 database and applications written in Java.”

Coleen Kaiser, director of software and ecommerce software research at investment bank Merrill Lynch said the use of mainframe technology by online companies was a sign of their success. “Developments starting from scratch often use NT because it is much cheaper than a mainframe, but the expense is that it is not that scalable. It is a small-company solution because it can’t handle that many transactions. Upgrading to a mainframe is a good sign that the company is becoming more successful because it needs more transaction processing power.”

Mark Tennant, Windows 2000 product manager said dotcoms did not need to choose mainframes for greater scalability. "If you look at the number of dotcoms going to Windows 2000 there are some very big names such as the online auction site They have the highest level of availability and the advantage over a mainframe platform is that it is far cheaper."

He added: "Windows 2000 is a lot more reliable than its NT4 predecessor."

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