Bisel Bank was born around 1994 as a merging of many small banks. It is now one of the largest banks of Argentina with more than 160 branch offices (and plans to open many more) running in-house software, which will be replaced after the year 2000 with a commercial offering.
The central office runs on a Sun Enterprise 5500 server running Solaris 2.6 (with a similar one as a backup server), and all data is stored in an Informix Online 7 DSA database. The applications, written in JAM and ESQL/C, work quite well.
The branch offices use SCO UNIX and a mixture of Progress, ESQL/C and JAM/Informix applications. It all started when we had to consolidate about eight different systems from different banks. The JAM/Informix and Progress applications running on UNIX boxes won the battle against the other contenders, including some AS/400 hardware and software.
The software is developed and maintained by a group of programmers who continuously have to modify running programs or make new ones from scratch. We have to manage much “traffic” to and from the main server. To do this, we implemented a version control system for the programs using RCS (revision control system), and a system to send them to the main computer.
After the requirement for a new program or change in an existing one has been met and the new or changed program is finished, the program passes through a set of testing and authorization stages before it moves into the production environment.
When all is okay, the programs are sent to the central office or to an automatic distribution system (as required), which sends the modifications to all the branch offices overnight. This system was implemented using rsync (on a Solaris server), so the amount of data transferred over the network is kept to a minimum.
Finally, Linux makes its triumphant entrance. It all began when I came to this bank as a formal employee in November 1997. Being a Linux user since kernel 0.99, I believed that Linux deserved its place in this bank scenario.
I decided to install a Linux server to use as a test box. First, I used this equipment to test several software packages, then when I was satisfied, I moved the software to the Solaris environment. SCO was out of the question for testing purposes, because it was the old SCO 188.8.131.52, which makes it difficult to port software for it.
I began using the Linux box to test products such as Samba, rdist, rsync, Apache Web Server, PHP/FI, PHP3, MSql, MySQL, Solid Server, Solid Web Engine, VNC, Squid and even Informix SE for Linux. Much of this software is being used now at the bank on either the Solaris, SCO or Linux platforms or a combination of them.
I implemented various projects, such as designing and implementing networks using Samba; RCS for source code; an Intranet for manuals, documentation and internal procedures; automatic distribution of applications using rdist, which was soon replaced with rsync to save transfer time; a couple of backup procedures over the network; and even some tests with Java and JDBC to access database servers.
One day, a new project came about: build an application to use the Intranet to send programs to the production environment. What I wanted was to have complete control over where a program is at every moment.
First, the programmer writes a new program or a modification to an existing one using RCS (with a front end designed to ease the programmer's work) to keep control of the versions. Then he or she must tell someone the program is finished, so someone else can have a look at it and make the appropriate tests before passing it to the production environment.
This is done by logging in to the “Sistema de Pasaje de Programas” system and entering the name of the program. At this point, the program is ready to receive an authorization to be sent to the testing environment. Once the authorization is granted, it can effectively be sent to the testing environment.
After all the necessary tests are passed successfully, the program is ready to go to the production environment. This is done by a similar process. In the first stage, the program is left “ok” to be passed, so it requires another authorization, then the final pass to the production environment.
All these authorizations and passages are recorded in a database, so we can know exactly where one program is in every moment, i.e., when it has been authorized or passed to which environment.
All is done with a web-enabled application in which a record is inserted into the database, so the person in charge of the authorization finds it on a list on his screen when he checks whether there is something to be authorized. Then, this record is updated with the current user, date and time, so the person who makes the actual pass finds it on his list. It's easier to actually use than to explain in words. The application can also be sent to another testing environment with large quantities of data to make more extensive tests.
This system is hosted on a Slackware Linux server with 16MB of RAM, 1GB of disk space and a 133MHz Pentium processor. It has an Apache web server and a Solid database. It usually has an uptime of 60 or more days without any kind of problem. The HTML pages were made using a PHP3 build as an Apache module. This system was designed as a test for the Solid engine, which proves to be quite good—I recommend it. Because of the release of Informix SE for Linux and the use of Informix by our organization, I am reengineering the whole system with Informix SE or Informix OnLine, and it will be fully operational by the time you read this article.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide