Booming Internet era presents new e-business computing challenges

by Yoshihiro Koshimizu, President & CEO, Hitachi Data Systems, ITAsia.April 2000 - With the Internet making its powerful presence felt across the globe and bringing to life the virtual 'global village',business computing has drastically changed.

by Yoshihiro Koshimizu, President & CEO, Hitachi Data Systems, ITAsia.

April 2000 - With the Internet making its powerful presence felt across the globe and bringing to life the virtual 'global village', business computing has drastically changed. A company's image is now often based on users' Web site experiences.

Traditionally, businesses had a buffer, such as a broker, between the user and the company to handle bartering between the principals. Now, transaction-oriented Web sites have replaced brokers, providing a direct link to the company and eliminating the buffer that once protected the company's image. Web site availability and responsiveness have now become measures of a company's image.

To further illustrate this point, in the age of this e-obsession, infrastructure matters. Slow sites are losers, and with users' microsecond impatience with Web sites that don't load immediately, no type of merchandise or multimedia flash will encourage them to hang in there. The point is, just adding a Web front end to your internal system doesn't mean you're ready for e-business. To survive in this Internet-dominated world, e-retailers must ensure the highest availability, capacity, and surge protection in their infrastructure.

The right hardware is certainly important, but the complexity and exponential growth also demand a battery of services specifically tailored for this brave new environment. That's why HDS offers a suite of five e-business services known collectively as the Hitachi iSuite, which is targeted at companies striving to reach 100% continuous availability throughout the enterprise. The iSuite is designed to help companies sustain and profit from unpredictable surges in e-transaction volumes, reduce the complexity of deploying tightly integrated Web-enabled applications, and ameliorate the high costs and difficulty of operating and managing many small servers.

A California-based HDS customer has reaped the business benefits of the iSuite and the Hitachi Skyline Trinium e-commerce servers by sustaining more than two billion Web hits per day and more than 40,000 hits per second. By executing simultaneous I/O operations in excess of 300,000 per second, the Skyline Trinium allows the company to conduct a greater number of revenue-generating e-business transactions.

While some business solutions provide 99% availability (87 hours and 36 minutes of downtime a year), better solutions offer 99.999% availability, which translates into only five minutes of downtime a year. HDS is providing customers with this assurance by guaranteeing $1 million that its Trinium server will forever be 99.999% available.

Accordingly, with the Internet inundating the workplace with massive quantities of information, CIOs must also focus on exploding storage requirements. Emerging and complex technologies, such as storage area networks, enable data to be efficiently distributed throughout the enterprise. This calls for open, non-proprietary storage solutions that span multiple platforms and can be centrally managed independent of the server, which avoids the need for extensive storage device changes. When all is said and done, the storage solution – as with servers and all the other components of a durable, efficient e-transaction processing system – must be invisible to the user while providing unlimited access to information, from any computer, anywhere, any time.