Barclays Bank is to provide Web-based electronic banking for its 13,000 top corporate customers.
Barclays' IT director Alex Stevenson said the Electronic Delivery Channel (EDC) project gives real time Web-based banking services via a browser. More than 13,000 of its top clients will go online by the end of the year. Barclays aims roll it out to more than 100,000 corporate customers during the next two years.
"The sort of transactions we are talking about are heavy duty and mission critical for our clients, so it has to be real time and it has to be reliable," Stevenson said.
A specialised NT workstation can be installed at the customers' premises, or the clients can access their accounts from a secure Internet Web page. Upgrades are available on the workstation version to allow different users in the company's finance department to gain access.
Both the Web-based and the workstation versions will connect to a Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) at Barclays. The MTS applications will then link with a Tandem Himalaya server running the Nonstop operating system to provide access to Barclays' main banking systems and to external payment systems such as Chaps and Swift.
The entire transaction process will be heavily firewalled and encrypted although Barclays is keeping quiet about the security details.
"We selected NT because we wanted the presentation layer and the processing layer to be comfortably controlled by the same operating system. What we have is a very simple system for our customers to operate," Stevenson said.
He added that the Tandem/NT set-up will provide additional security as it separates the Web and the database functions of the network. Stevenson added that, during the trial, NT proved scalable and fault tolerant but he did not feel it was mature enough to do the whole middleware operation just yet.
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