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F-T1 lets Bessemer distribute LANs cheaply.

The Bessemer Group, a bank holding company in Woodbridge, N.J., is taking advantage of the industry trend distributed processing as a way to reduce costs and allow efficient use of their current mainframe system.

Throughout Bessemer's history, shrewd business decisions allowed the private trust company to grow and prosper. When Andrew Carnegie sold his Union Iron Mills to J.P. Morgan in 1904, Henry Phipps, Carnegie's partner, established the Bessemer Trust Company with his share of the profits. In 1974 the firm opened its doors to outside investors. The result is a $9.5 billion investment and fiduciary services firm.

In building a new WAN (wide area network), Bessemer will link LANs (local area networks) with routers. The local segments of the WAN will be connected via T1 with F-T1 for the circuits which do not justify full T1.

Peter E. Packard, vice president of system design, says the rationale behind moving to a more distributed system architecture is based on dollars and sense: to expand services and reduce costs.

Since they were not really sure how much bandwidth they'd require, Bessemer went to F-T1.

"LANs will use as much bandwidth as they can get their hands on," he points out. "This allows us to get into it relatively cheaply and grow the network as we need more bandwidth.

"Migrating from a conventional mainframe-type system to a distributed system will favorably impact Bessemer's business. The new system will allow us to increase the overall quality and quantity of services available. In addition, maintenance costs will be reduced," he says.

Prior to introduction of a LAN, Bessemer's trust applications ran on a conventional mainframe configuration with attached terminals. The mainframe system supported three major applications: record keeping for client accounts, an on-line inquiry system, and monthly client reports.

Portfolio managers and field staff used terminals and PCs to access client records.

Bessemer's network consisted of a Unisys 1100/2200 mainframe with DCP communication front ends. All terminals interfaced to the mainframe via standard RS-232C connections using Uniscope protocol.

In 1988, a LAN was installed in the Woodrbidge office. PCs on the LAn accessed the mainframe via Computer Logics' UTS Gateway connected to the DCP.

The Uniscope protocol, supported by the DCP communication front end, is a polled protocol over low-speed communication lines. Over the last year, the LAN has grown into a WAN, including offices in New York City, Palm Beach and Miami. Plans are in place to bring the London and Washington, D.C. offices on-line in the near future.

A full T1 and six more DSOs run between the New York and Woodbridge offices. "Everywhere else, we are on a combination of F-T1s," Packard says. AT&T's Megacom service handles the voice, and data is run-on F-T1 paths.

"We installed a token ring LAN in Woodbridge to provide an alternative development platform as well as to provide normal LAN services such as E-mail and file sharing," Packard says.

"As the LAN spread throughout the company, it soon became apparent that it could also provide mainframe access, thus eliminating the need for the conventional Uniscope network."

High costs associated with the DCP-40 front-end processors and low data transmission speeds were weaknesses of the old system. The cost of maintaining the DCPs, $400,000 over five years, became prohibitive.

Throughout speeds to and from the mainframe were limited to 19.2 kb/s. It also became more difficult to obtain third-party financial software packages for the 1100 and expensive to develop this software inhouse.

Based on these factors, the decision was made to replace the terminal network and the DCP-40 front-end processors with a WAN and provide LAN solutions to the five remote offices. This provides the required mainframe access and an Open Systems platform for future application development.

According to Packard, the new system architecture will closely resemble the client/server model. The Token-Ring backbone network will connect approximately 250 terminals, which include 175 PCs running Windows 3.0, to a Unisys 2200 mainframe. Currently, application software is being tested on the new network, which should be operational by year's end. The network features several new components. An Oracle server, running on a Unix platform, will provide data storage for the new application. Computer Logics' ChannelGate will provide the 2200 mainframe with a high-speed connection to the LAN, utilizing existing LAN cabling and the mainframe's channel for faster and more reliable data transfers.

Initialy, the ChannelGate will perform the functions of a Uniscope gateway. PCs will run Uniscope emulation and users will run mainframe applications as if they were directly connected to the host.

"We are not decommitting the mainframe," Packard says. "The complete migration to a client/server environment will occur an extended period. In the new environment, many processing functions will be distributed throughout the WAN and the mainframe will function as a powerful data server.

Network redundancy is provided on a 384 kb/s circuit which allows them to backup the mainframe. The AT&T line runs to Buffalo, N.Y. and Bessemer uses Comdisco's cross-border linkup to the Toronto backup site. All other locations are backed up with dial-up modems and switched 56 lines.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Fractional T1; the Bessemer Group's new wide area network links local area networks with routers
Publication:Communications News
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:859
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