First Union's Internet channel architecture consists of four system layers. The modular design, which is based on object-oriented programming standards, makes adding functionality and scalability, as well as system maintenance, faster and more cost-effective.

Presentation. Based on a Netscape Enterprise Server and Sun Solaris platform, this layer handles data presentation logic by delivering Web content to client computers. Vignette Corp.'s StoryServer software is used for content management, Java Servlets are used to support presentation, and the content database runs on Oracle.

Business Application. Running on Sun Solaris, this layer hosts the application servers that perform business logic processing and data retrieval. New retail applications are deployed in Java on IBM Websphere servers; e-billing applications are deployed on Netscape servers; and wholesale applications are deployed on Netscape.

Data Services. This middleware layer assists application servers in accessing systems and caching data.

Mainframe. First Union National Bank System of Record, the mainframe that secures customer data.

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