While analysts and journalists were busy contemplating the implications of the Compaq-Digital deal, recently swallowed Tandem was announcing its extended reach into back-end e-commerce and Web solutions and an integrated, open computing environment it is labelling E2000.
Tandem Internet executive Tim Wild, along with Quokka Web specialist John Bartram, a former Whitbread challenger, painted a picture of Web use which would provide a "total immersion experience".
"You'll see total sports immersion via the Web - so complete it will be the next best thing to being there," says Bartram.
The Whitbread site was offered as an example of Tandem scalability, using a mixture of Tandem and Compaq hardware running Windows NT for most of the processing.
The site had originally been designed to handle a few hundred thousand hits a day but had found itself having to cope with upwards of a million hits every two hours, requiring a radical - and seamless - expansion.
In addition to providing race information, the Web designers also organised a virtual race, with 4000 teams competing in the event and in some cases forming their own syndicates around the world.
But while the Whitbread gave Tandem the opportunity to highlight its non-stop technologies, its principal focus was on how its technology could be used to handle unpredictable growth for those heading into e-commerce.
Applications on offer included iTP Payment Solution, an end-to-end software solution for Web-enabled electronic payments using the secure electronic transaction (SET)1.0 protocol. While this embodies a wide range of back-end solutions, from the consumer point of view a browser-based product called iTP Wallet will initiate the transactions.
Merchants and banks will be able to customise iTP Wallet to suit their needs.
Another product, iTP Virtual Store, will enable financial institutions, ISPs and other communications companies to implement highly scalable commerce site hosting.
For those who didn't think the Web was ready for major Web purchasing, Tandem worldwide marketing vice-president Patrick Smyth had an answer: he had just bought a car in the US, and he approved of the way it had freed him from the tyranny of high-pressure sales people.
Compaq's director of strategic marketing, Brad Anderson, offered the E2000 initiative as Compaq-Tandem's standards-based integrated solution.
Included in the partnership is Hewlett-Packard, which helped to develop 100Mb/s fibre-channel storage components.
Components of E2000 include:
• A system area network (SAN), optimised to connect servers in clusters, using high-speed ServerNet technology.
• The virtual interface (VI) architecture, based around an industry initiative led by Compaq, Microsoft and Intel, to standardise the interface between operating systems and the SAN interconnects.
The three-tier E2000 architecture ranges from the desktop to enterprise servers.