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VNU Net: Geldof's firm [deckchair.com] switches to DB2 and Linux

Jun 23, 2000, 13:44 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark Samuels)

By Mark Samuels, VNU Net

Deckchair.com, Sir Bob Geldof's business-to-consumer travel website, has scrapped its original flight search engine tool, powered by Microsoft's Windows NT and SQL Server, in favour of a Linux version of IBM's DB2 Universal Database.

The move was prompted by both technical and commercial considerations, according to the 50-strong startup. "I've just never understood why anyone would want to use NT to run a web server," said chief technology officer David Gee. "There's the problem of having to constantly reboot whenever you make any changes."

"One of the attractions of Linux is that there's no fee, so we don't have to worry about licence implications and we can have as many applications running as we want," added Gee.

This desire for scalability prompted Deckchair.com's transfer from SQL Server to DB2. "We needed a database that scaled to big hardware, and SQL didn't. It is also possible to complete large amounts of transactions per second off DB2." The firm said its portal can now provide access to 140,000 travel sites and six million pages of content.

Gee also highlighted IBM's support facilities and the non-proprietary nature of the service relationship.

"I just didn't want to be tied in to anything proprietary. We just use it as a DB2 database at this point of time. And if we want to swap out, we can."

Several factors have enhanced the attractiveness of Linux and its associated applications for web commerce, according to Phil Payne, head of Isham Research. "Linux loads quickly, and you get tremendous flexibility. It also provides one standard platform that you can port to for applications and peripherals," he said.

Ross Mauri, vice president for Unix software at IBM, claimed Linux now powered nearly a third of the world's web servers, and that 40 per cent of Linux servers were used for net-related applications.

First published in Computing

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