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A Marriage Made in Heaven

Application meets platform

Strike a perfect balance between business and technology needs by finding a cost-effective server and operating environment with the large addressable memory space required to power memory-resident database technology.

InteliTrac, a pioneer in the practical application of high-speed, memory-resident databases, found the ideal platform for its solution in Unisys and Intel technology and the Linux operating system. Running on Itanium 2-based Unisys ES7000 enterprise servers, InteliTrac's IdentiPort biometric security solution provides real-time document authentication, fingerprint verification, and face recognition - and was recently deployed at a major South American airport. The solution helps security officials apprehend criminals in real-time at the point of access.

Situation
InteliTrac is the creator of an integrated system of hardware and software solutions that enable standard computer networks to process data 10 to 1,000 times faster than previously possible for most applications on the same computer networks. The technology is applicable across a diverse range of markets that rely on real-time data processing, reporting, and mining, software systems integration and other database-driven processes, including security.

InteliTrac's Linux-based IdentiPort biometric security application uses its memory-resident database technology to stop lawbreakers in their tracks. With such repositories, data is loaded completely into random access memory (RAM) - and stays there - eliminating delays associated with retrieving information from disk.

Gary Simpson, chief operating officer, explains, "Real-time response means the difference between catching a criminal at the point of access and knowing he was there after he's gone."

Needless to say, a server platform with large amounts of memory and processing power and very high reliability is a must for InteliTrac. Tianglong Chen, chief technology officer, says, "Our core technology depends on getting the maximum amount of addressable memory. In addition, such processes as facial recognition require a great deal of CPU power. The right combination of both memory and processor power makes all the difference."

Other key considerations included reliability, support for Linux, total cost of ownership (TCO), and a demonstrated growth path. Because biometrics is only the first application of its technology, InteliTrac sought a cost-effective platform that supports its ambitious expansion plans.

Solution
After evaluating several competing platforms, InteliTrac selected Itanium 2-based Unisys ES7000 servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise AS. The solution includes Unisys Server Sentinel system management software, which manages the environment from a single point-of-control.

A critical factor in the decision was the benchmarks InteliTrac did with the assistance of the Unisys Linux Systems Group (LSG). In tests involving database and memory response and retrieval times, the Itanium 2-based ES7000 servers beat expectations - doing biometric searches in less than 1.5 seconds. The result was 250% faster than the initial estimate.

But the choice was based on more than just the numbers. InteliTrac president and CEO Marc Gunderson says, "When it came time to make the final decision, there was no question in our mind. Not only did the Itanium 2-based ES7000 server perform better than other servers, but Unisys offered exemplary service and global understanding of what we are trying to accomplish."

InteliTrac was also impressed with the outstanding partnership between Unisys and Intel. Bill O'Connor, InteliTrac chairman, says, "We looked across the competitive landscape and determined that Unisys was an excellent fit for us. In all our dealings, it was obvious that Unisys and Intel have a strong partner relationship." Gunderson adds, "The Intel Itanium 2 processors will allow us to grow our core technology - we need partners who are growing as fast as we are."

Benefits
Itanium 2-based ES7000 servers running Linux have proven to be an ideal platform for InteliTrac. The solution strikes the right balance between performance, reliability, and cost. Simpson puts it plainly, "We're a business - so cost is always a big factor. Not only is the Itanium 2-based ES7000 server very reliable and dependable, it's cost-effective as well. We could have the best solution in the world - but if no one could afford to buy it, it wouldn't do you much good."

Performance has been exceptional. Gunderson says, "The Itanium 2-based ES7000 and Linux environment handled every possible curve we've thrown it. InteliTrac is known for its speed and accuracy. And we never wait for the hardware to catch up with anything our solution is doing."

The new solution also supports the company"s business continuity requirements. As Simpson explains, "One of the beauties of our system is that we perform backups in real-time. If a data center is destroyed, we can re-establish the memory-resident database at a rate of one terabyte per hour. That's only possible with a platform like the ES7000."

InteliTrac's ES7000 servers offer a solid foundation for future growth. "Each new market we pursue will have slightly different requirements-the flexibility of the Unisys ES7000 is perfectly adaptable to those," Simpson says. "We have great confidence that we can move into other markets with this server."

More Stories By Derek Rodner

Derek Rodner is senior manager of the Linux Solutions program at Unisys and a 10-year
veteran of the enterprise computing space. Prior to managing the Linux Program, he
was responsible for several ES7000 platform marketing initiatives including the Adaptive
Infrastructure. He serves on the marketing board for the Open Source Development Lab's Data Center Linux Group. Derek holds a BS in accounting from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

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