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
"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
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