AS/400 Outshines Competition in e-Business

With e-business exploding and expected to grow into the next millennium, IBM’s AS/400 e-business mantra is quite simple--provide the best security and reliability on a platform that does not need additional servers to run an e-business operation.

Telecommunications giant WORLDxCHANGE (San Diego) is one of the latest examples of an industry leader trusting its e-business initiatives to the AS/400. When WxC decided to make its initial foray into the Internet Service Provider market, the company analyzed several vendors and eventually choose the AS/400 720e over Sun Microsystems Solaris to power its Internet business.

WxC customers will dial a local telephone number in one of WxC’s 50 sevices around the world. The call will then be routed over WxC’s network to a modem in Los Angeles. The modem connects over an Ethernet network to the 720e in San Diego. WxC also will use Lotus Domino 5.0, which allows the 720e to link the customer to the Internet and also gives users full e-mail capabilities.

Lotus Domino is very popular with AS/400 users because it is easy to install and assists in e-business, according to Mike Odierna, IBM's worldwide e-business segment manager, who adds that more and more companies are realizing that the AS/400 is a strong e-business platform. In fact, a recent study indicates that more than 30 percent of AS/400 users now use the platform for e-commerce and e-business.

Although Al Moskowitz, VP and CIO of WxC, was not working for the firm at the time the decision was made, he says choosing IBM had more to do with the AS/400’s total solution rather than a dislike for Sun Microsystems Solaris. "Quite frankly, IBM brought to the table the best cost of total ownership and the total solution we were looking for," Moskowitz says.

For WxC, there was no single underlying reason, but rather a combination of reasons for choosing the AS/400 720e to power its Internet business. One of the main reasons was IBM the integrated nature of the AS/400 platform, which allowed WxC "to go from scratch to a full fledged ISP provider with one solution."

Odierna says the ability to integrate various solutions is a major reason why the AS/400 continues to grow in popularity for e-business. "We’re able to take an AS/400 and leverage thousands of solutions for e-business to adopt a specific tailored solution for our customers," he says

IBM’s worldwide reputation, as well as its support and services, was another factor. "IBM has a great reputation and is well respected around the world; that was very important is showing our customers we were going to provide them with top-of-the-line products," Moskowitz says.

With approximately 45,000 partners worldwide and various offices across the world, IBM provides support staff and services that are very reliable, according to Moskowitz

The AS/400 is also available in several different languages, which was important to WxC because it plans to roll out its dial-up Internet services in 50 metropolitan areas around the world, including Paris, Sydney, Amsterdam and Auckland. "We were looking for global service from our provider and IBM gives us that, which will help us in the rollout of our services," says Robert Schmoyer, senior Internet technical specialist for WxC.

Perhaps the biggest factor in WxC’s decision was its first-hand knowledge of the AS/400. WxC uses an AS/400 S40 to run its entire billing system. According to Peter Griffith, director of Web systems, services and development for WxC, there are approximately 20 million calls each day that run through the billing system. "It’s been an extremely stable platform for us," he says. "The downtime for us is very minimal, in fact I can’t think of a time it went down during the last year. We use other systems, but the AS/400 is the one we have relied on the most and it definitely played a role in our decision."