Recruiter looks at dumping NT for Unix

Internet recruitment service The Executive Network (TEN) is considering an operating system migration just three weeks after launching.

TEN, launched on August 25 in Sydney, links specialist recruitment agencies in the areas of banking and finance, accounting, IT, engineering, legal and marketing, providing executives with an online pool of 15,000 to 20,000 worldwide positions to consider.

Geoff Ebbs, strategic IT consultant for TEN, told Computerworld the company is considered reviewing IT platforms in three months, with the view of migrating from Windows NT to Unix.

TEN's IT environment comprises an Oracle8 database server and Microsoft Information Internet Web server (ISS), both running Windows NT and a metadata database storing client information.

Dedicated leased lines run between TEN's servers and Australian Business Access (ABA), a secure commercial transaction provider. There are secure links between TEN and First Data Resources Australia.

According to Ebbs, the environment has been built for an expected population of two million executives and more than 300 consultants.

"We expect thousands of commercial transactions a week and hundreds of thousands of information events each week," he said.

"We expect to get to that level of performance within 18 months."

Ebbs said the existing platform was installed with a planned review in three months.

"We expect to review the hardware and software platforms we have up and running now based on performance and scalability," Ebbs said.

Although a decision is yet to be finalised, Ebbs suggested the company is considering moving the Oracle server to Unix to provide increased security.

He said the level of security and protection of intellectual property was a key concern for TEN.

In addition to secure links and dedicated lines with the banking transaction network through First Data Resources Australia, Ebbs said TEN is using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) between its servers and providers. Clients are identified by user names and passwords and are monitored within the system.

"There were a number of options for doing secure transactions. Nearly all the banks have an offering, but we went with ABA [because] of price and usability," he said.

Data storage and accessibility was also a concern when building TEN.

Ebbs said TEN wanted to create an environment where clients could control their intellectual property and data could be monitored and maintained.

"One of the problems of internet applications is they attempt to cut out the middleman. They try to automate the whole process," Ebbs said.

"We believe this is not going to work in the long term."

TEN's metadata search engine, developed in conjunction with The Metadex Group, an Australian development house now part of TEN, allows clients to search each other's information without having direct access. This means confidential details are protected.

Ebbs said unlike a traditional data warehouse, where all information is stored together, TEN's metadata system stores the original data where it is and stores relevant information centrally.

Ebbs said other organisations deploying metadata systems include the Australian Communications Industry Forum and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

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