LINK, the national cash machine network, has chosen a Compaq/Oracle PC solution in favour of Unix for a new data storage system.
The system, based on Compaq Proliant servers and the Oracle database running under Windows NT, makes LINK the UK's biggest user of an Oracle/Compaq/NT combination. It replaces a microfiche-based data storage system and is due to go live by Christmas.
John Gould, PC analyst at LINK, said it initially looked at a HP/9000 Unix server running Oracle but decided it was too expensive. CD-ROM storage was also considered but dismissed because it wouldn't allow data to be analysed.
Gould said benchmark figures from the Transaction Processing Council, showed that Compaq hardware outperformed more costly Unix systems running the Oracle databases. The cost of a Compaq-based system worked out at less than half that of HP, he added.
The Compaq/Oracle system includes a 60Gb database capable of storing one million transactions a day from LINK's 9,500 ATMs and handling 25 million new records a month. It runs Oracle 7.3 under Windows NT 3.51 on a Compaq ProLiant 5000 server. The hardware is configured with two 200MHz Pentium Pro processors, 512Kb cache and 256Mb of memory.
The ProLiant uses a RAID 5 disk array comprising 23 4.3Gb drives. About half the disks are used for storing data, seven are used for storing temporary files and two are mirrored disks for operating system files and the Oracle database.
Gould said preliminary tests on the server indicated that it can load 660 records in approximately one minute and query a specific card number in the database of 25 million records in "hundredths of a second".
LINK is also building a Web interface using Oracle Web Server 2.0 to allow member banks such as Abbey National and the Halifax to query the database via a dial-up connection into the LINK intranet.
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