A Canadian software company has claimed a breakthrough in client-server computing.

Prologic Corp. said that working with Microsoft Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., and Compaq Computer Corp. and using the Windows NT operating system, it proved that a bank with more than $20 billion of assets could run its entire computer infrastructure on four server computers.

The tests took two months at Prologic's headquarters in Vancouver. Engineers used transaction data from an unnamed financial institution in the Asia-Pacific region.

Prologic's Ovation 4.0 retail banking system ran Microsoft Windows NT and SQL Server data base.

The results seem to add momentum to Windows NT as a cost-effective alternative to Unix-based solutions, which date from pioneering work at Bell Laboratories in the 1980s.

Ovation is being demonstrated today at Scalability Day, a Microsoft event in New York at which Bill Gates is the keynote speaker.

"The financial institution wanted proof of a client-server banking solution that could handle its requirements with respect to its current size and expected growth," said Hans Peter Mayr, group product manager for Prologic.

The tests indicated the institution could grow to 2,000 branches, 10,000 employee workstations, 2,500 automated teller machines, more than eight million customers, and nine million accounts using Ovation 4.0 and four Compaq servers.

"The bank liked our philosophy but was just concerned about the scalability of a product for its needs," Mr. Mayr said. "Normally, the only applications that can scale into these categories are mainframe solutions."

According to Graham Chandler, technical consultant in the EDS banking and securities group, "the single server carried out 48 transactions a second from ATM drivers and tellers."

In the scalability test, two servers each accomplished 43 transactions a second, and 99% of transactions got responses in less than a second.

The system carried out the overnight bank processing cycle in six hours and 23 minutes.

"From our perspective, the tests proved it was possible for a large financial institution to benefit from client-server computing with Ovation," said Mr. Mayr.

"It can give a bank access to data and transfer (these) data into knowledge to serve the customer better. The power is in the customer relationship management."

EDS reported keen interest in the Windows NT server solution from Europe, Asia, and Central and South America.

Therefore, it said, it will work with Prologic to promote and sell the solution abroad.

Although Ovation's target market is banks with assets ranging from $500 million to $6 billion, it can be customized for almost any size institution. Version 5.0 is to be ready in September with built-in call center support.

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