Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Impact 2012: Steve Mills On How Transaction Processing Rules

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Transaction processing.

Transactions aren’t sexy.  They’re not cool.  You don’t get points for racking them up. You can’t put them on your bookshelf and show them off.

IBM senior vice president, software and systems, Steve Mills warns the Impact 2012 audience “Nothing will get you in more trouble than if there’s a problem with your critical transactions.”

But all of that doesn’t matter, because transactions run the world — and, therefore, they rule.

They rule banking.  They rule retail operations.  They rule medical systems.  Transactions are everything.

And transactions are us.

That seemed to be the key message behind IBM senior vice president Steve Mills’ message to the gathered Impact 2012 audience for the day 2 general session.

Mills actually keynoted second, but I wanted to deliver his message first, because it’s a critically important one: IBM is thriving in an era of ubiquitous transactions, Mills explained.  “We’ve been investing in transactions for as long as there was programmable computing.  How do you do effective transaction processing?  How do you have true control over a unit of work, and do that at scale, especially in a world of increasingly bigger data?”

That’s where IBM Software lives and breathes.  Mills mentioned a typical panoply of daily transaction sizes: 9.9 billion proximity mobile transactions by 2016, 18.7 million web transactions last Cyber Monday, 864 million payment card transactions per day, 1 million transactions per second in the Amazon cloud.

Again, transactions make the world go ‘round — until they don’t.

Transactions are like oxygen — you don’t notice them until they go wrong, and then you do notice, bigtime. IBM’s role has been to not only to make sure you don’t notice, but to increasingly evolve our technology so that the systems stack works both horizontally and vertically, enabling your business partners and others to enter your transaction ecosystem.

“Nothing will get you in more trouble,” explained Mills, “than if there’s a problem with those critical transactions.”

Of course, we’re in Vegas, so I can think of a few things, but his point remains well taken.

“Millions of transactions go through IBM mainframes a day, fundamental financial activity using CICS and MQ…these are responsibilities we take very seriously,” Mills continued.

The proof’s always in the pudding, so Mills related some key customer stories: Marriott, whose reservation booking engine does 1,500 transactions per second.

Or China Mobile, operating at a scale many businesses couldn’t even fathom: 600 million customers, 148 million transactions per day — and by implementing an IBM service-oriented architecture they’ve reduced their new application go-to-market time by 50 percent!

Now, let’s flashback to our first speaker, Johan Gerber, head of processing products at MasterCard, who was introduced by the spirited Katie Linendoll, CBS Early Morning show’s “Chic Geek,” making her much welcomed return engagement to Impact.

“We needed this platform so we could innovate,” payments processing lead for MasterCard Johan Gerber summarizes for the Impact 2012 audience in this morning's opening general session. “Innovation is what provides differentiation. To stay ahead of the competition is key.”

MasterCard was more proof in the pudding, with a company that supports more than 32 million merchants and an average of 43,000 transactions every minute, each lasting a mind-boggling 130 milliseconds.

Can you say lightning fast transactions?!!

MasterCard’s business is transactions, and Gerber explained the MasterCard network can handle about 14 billion instructions per second, and has multiple layers of protection and redundancy.

“The last thing we can afford,” Gerber explained “is for that network to go down.

“And,” he quipped. “Not even Lady Gaga has this much security.”

Being the world’s most advanced payments technology, MasterCard has been investing in IBM WebSphere technology to help them continue to innovate, and Gerber explained they “needed a technology partner they could trust.”

Trust being an explicit conditions for most successful transactions, in the network or otherwise.

MasterCard launched their new transaction platform in February of this year and have already moved two key applications there, and were able to do so in hours, instead of weeks.

“We needed this platform so we could innovate,” Gerber summarized. “Innovation is what provides differentiation. To stay ahead of the competition is key.”

There are some things money can’t buy.  For everything else there’s MasterCard…and its whopping 43,000 transactions per minute.

Written by turbotodd

May 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm

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