BNZ Buy-Line hits snag in move to NT

The migration of the Bank of New Zealand's Buy-Line e-commerce service from Unix to Windows NT is proving more difficult than expected. The bank's project manager for e-commerce, Russell Briant, confirms that bugs in the port have taken so long to iron out that 'we've put some people up on the old Unix system as an interim solution'.

The migration of the Bank of New Zealand's Buy-Line e-commerce service from Unix to Windows NT is proving more difficult than expected.

The bank's project manager for e-commerce, Russell Briant, confirms that bugs in the port have taken so long to iron out that "we've put some people up on the old Unix system as an interim solution".

Briant told Computerworld in May that the bank had nearly completed the migration of Buy-Line from SCO Unix to NT. He admits the port wasn't as simple a task as originally envisaged, but says customers have not suffered.

Brian Christianson, programming manager at the Internet Group (Ihug), says his company asked the BNZ to place his company's real-time credit card authorisations, which are used both for online subscriber sign-up and Ihug's new Super-Store, back on Unix after the NT solution didn't arrive as promised. "We certified all our software about three weeks ago on the Unix server and they said, okay, now we're going to whack an NT box in and it'll all be up and running in a couple of days," says Christianson.

"About the middle of last week, I said, this isn't good enough, we had a working solution and you took it away. Can we have it back please?

"[Buy-Line] works really well — they just obviously have problems with their port."

Briant says he certainly couldn't put all the delay down to the NT process. A systems audit had recommended changes to the HP servers used, and the integration of a working terminal system and X.25 support to NT platform had also complicated the process.

Those new features have not been added to the Unix version of Buy-Line, which will be decommissioned once NT is running soundly, says Briant.

The BNZ cited the availability of a better encryption solution on NT as one of its reasons for migrating to NT, but Christianson says that is not quite true. "We're running the same encryption solution — the difference being that on NT you can get a standalone piece of software that you stick on the NT box that does the encryption. With Unix, we've had to go out and purchase [Check Point's] Firewall-1. That's a better solution in my opinion — any machine behind our firewall can do a secure transaction with the BNZ. But it is the same encryption technology.

"We put the firewall in and that took about half a day. We're running both — we've got an NT server for e-commerce and we're running a Unix server for authentication and that kind of thing. Our Unix server went in really easily — and the NT people had a lot of problems. It's the nature of the way the encryption's being done on the NT box. It slots into the TCP stack and there's no firewall as such — the packet goes through the encryptor facility. But the net result's the same — you have a secure transaction."

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