Sybase and Andersen Consulting have begun a phased roll-out of one of the largest and most complex relational database projects in Europe.
The project is the result of the UK government's decision to replace the Contributions Agency's ageing mainframe-based National Insurance information system with one built on a client-server architecture.
The system, the National Insurance Recording System 2 (NIRS2), runs on a Sybase SQL Server 11 relational database. When fully operational it will hold the National Insurance (NI) details of every UK citizen.
NIRS2 records all NI payments made in the UK and calculates entitlement to benefits. It also bills and collects a type of NI contribution called Class 2 and maintains records for all contracted-out and personal pension scheme members.
According to Andersen, which is carrying out the implementation work, the system will handle over #40 billion worth of NI contributions annually and will contain records on 62.5 million customers. When fully implemented, it will support 5,000 users at the central Contributions Agency in Newcastle and over 100 local offices throughout the UK.
NIRS2 replaces an existing ICL mainframe system called NIRS1 that was developed in the sixties and seventies. The Sybase SQL Server 11 runs on Hewlett-Packard Unix T520 servers, each configured with four central processing units. The client software runs on Window PCs.
Ian Watmore, the partner at Andersen in charge of the project, said: "A key requirement was to design an architecture that was flexible and scalable enough to cope with increases in data volumes, work load and changes in government policy over its operational lifetime."
The system will initially handle 400Gb of data but is expected to grow to 800Gb by 2004. Over the next two years, Andersen will add two additional Sybase database servers and four application servers to accommodate further enhancements to the system.
Powersoft: introduces customer loyalty card
What's on offer
Powersoft, the RAD software arm of Sybase, has taken a lead from supermarket chains and introduced a customer loyalty card for developers. The PowerCard is available free to Powersoft customers and gives members "priority access" to special offers, developments and promotions. It is also running a private UK Web site for PowerCard holders, offering news, beta software, UK events, case studies, promotions, an interactive notice board and links to partner Web sites. There are no free air miles to be picked up with the PowerCard, but successful applicants will have a chance to win a trip for two to Sybase's 1997 European User Conference in Vienna in November, including flights and accommodation, both for the conference and for a holiday afterwards.
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