Trade Me upgrades to .Net 2.0, trials solid state memory

The upgrades come as site founder Sam Morgan is signalling an aggressive push into classified advertising segments

New Zealand’s biggest website is planning a big year of upgrades, following its move to Microsoft’s .Net 2.0 this month.

Trade Me’s head of technology, Jon Macdonald, says the main Trade Me site shifted onto .Net 2.0 on 9 January, after a pilot of the technology was conducted on some of Trade Me’s smaller sites. The move is one of many Macdonald plans for the first quarter of 2007.

Trade Me has also set up a back-up datacentre in Auckland, which it tested in early January. The site will shortly run Trade Me for more prolonged periods while the Wellington team tidy up the company’s core systems.

The upgrades come as site founder Sam Morgan is signalling an aggressive push into classified advertising segments traditionally dominated by newspapers. Morgan recently told the Sunday Star-Times he expects Trade Me’s growth this year to come from the employment and real estate advertising categories.

Macdonald says other new technologies are also being investigated and pilots conducted with the aim of helping ease Trade Me’s enormous loads. One such technology is solid-state disk memory produced by Texas Memory Systems. One unit is being shipped right now and will be evaluated for use on high-traffic devices, says Macdonald. If successful it could replace the existing Hewlett-Packard disk storage system being used for some applications.

Macdonald says traffic “hot-spots” need lots of disks, but this is done to improve I/O speed rather than for storage purposes. Texas Memory Systems specialises in solid-state “RAM SAN” systems that, it says, can eliminate I/O waits and accelerate application speeds.

Trade Me also plans to investigate whether it should move to a more plain vanilla clustering technology from Microsoft, to replace its existing Polyserve installation.

Polyserve is being used for two main data sets, says Macdonald. It manages SQL databases across multiple machines well, but is not so good at managing Trade Me’s image repositories. The site contains millions of small images of the products being bought and sold, and serving these has proved “pretty arduous”, he says.

Trade Me and Computerworld are both owned and operated by Fairfax.

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