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Visa Opens New Data Center in the U.S.


East Coast Processing Center Configured to Handle Future of Digital Commerce with Greater Capacity, Reliability and Security; Enhanced with New Operating System

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), a global payments technology company, today announced the opening of a new global data processing center in North America. Concurrently, Visa implemented several IT enhancements, chief among them the implementation of a new operating system that underpins VisaNet, its global transaction processing network.

Together, these technology investments further enhance the flexibility, reliability and scale of VisaNet, and increase Visa’s ability to process the ever-growing number of increasingly complex electronic payments around the world, which now account for 33 percent of global consumer spending. [1]

* Greater reliability, capacity - The opening of the new center is a key milestone in Visa’s multi-year technology upgrade, that results in Visa now having two synchronized, secure and reliable data centers in North America, each capable of carrying Visa’s entire global payments volume in the event of a natural disaster or systems outage. Instant fail-over technology between Visa data centers around the globe ensures the 5-nine level of uninterrupted service that cardholders, merchants, governments and financial institutions have come to expect from Visa.
* New operating system - Developed in partnership with IBM, the system, known as zTM Transaction Processing Facility (z/TPF), is a 64-bit operating system that allows more information to be manipulated at once and perform more complex processing functions in milliseconds. Importantly, this paves the way for Visa to deliver new, information-intensive applications such as advanced fraud analysis, and mobile payments and services.
* Enhanced security - This centralized processing structure, combined with the new operating system, provides Visa with a comprehensive view into the global payment system, leading to high levels of intelligence around spending patterns, enabling Visa to provide a broad range of information-based services, and improving the company’s ability to detect and prevent fraud in near real-time.

“Visa’s commitment to continuous technology upgrades differentiates us from competitors and helps Visa play a key role in facilitating the migration to electronic payments. Few people recognize the critical role VisaNet plays in supporting our extensive brand acceptance, securing our products and facilitating payment innovation,” said Mike Dreyer, Chief Information Officer, Visa Inc. “As we activate our second new data center in four years and complete a transition to the latest information technology, we are laying the foundation for the future of Visa payments and related services.”

Data Center Expands Global Capacity, Flexibility

Located in the Eastern United States, Visa’s new data center is a 370,000 square foot, state-of-art facility architected to support multiple authorization engines and process hundreds of millions of transactions each day. With more than 140,000 square feet of raised floor space the center houses some of the payments industry’s most advanced payment processing services and is capable of handling more than 10,000 transaction messages per second.

Visa’s new processing center completes a global network of four data centers on three continents connecting more than 16,000 financial institutions, and millions of merchants and processing partners through more than 1,600 network endpoints around the world. For the four quarters ended June 30, 2009, Visa’s total volume was nearly $4.3 trillion dollars. With the growing worldwide migration away from cash and checks and towards electronic payments being fueled by new merchant acceptance locations, new products like mobile payments and prepaid, and new services like money transfer, and mobile alerts and notifications, the volume and complexity of Visa transactions are expected to grow.

New Operating System Boosts Visa’s Processing Power

Beyond its new data center, Visa has also recently implemented a new operating system to enhance the processing capabilities of its authorization platform, the Visa Integrated Payment platform (VIP). Visa selected the new IBM System zTM Transaction Processing Facility (z/TPF), one of the most advanced operating systems in the world for handling transaction-based computing tasks. The system is specifically designed for ultra high capacity and high-availability, and for systems designed for rapid expansion needed to handle high peak periods or spikes of transaction activity.

Visa partnered with IBM on the implementation of z/TPF and provided input on key operating system features to ensure seamless integration with Visa’s payment processing applications. Visa is the first large company to implement z/TPF.

“The ability to provide a business platform that delivers a predictable and dynamic environment for increased transaction volume is crucial to success in commerce today,” said Mark Anzani, IBM VP and chief technology officer for System Z. “Visa has raised the standard for future transactions processing by tapping the reliability and security of the new Z10 mainframe and the power of the new z/TPF software to connect an ever-increasing number of merchants, banks and consumers.”

Annual VisaNet Stress Test Sets New Record

The new data center began processing transactions immediately following Visa’s annual “stress testing” of its network. The testing is designed to simulate extremely heavy transaction loads, well beyond those expected at the height of the holiday shopping season, which is Visa’s busiest. [2]

The stress test, conducted in an IBM facility configured to match an operational Visa data center, confirmed that as currently configured, VisaNet is has more than sufficient capacity and processing power to support the busiest hour of the busiest day projected for the year, even if an entire data center was to go offline.

Annual Software Update

In October, as part of its semiannual software update, Visa completed the upgrade of its global payment platform, as well as introducing a number of advanced processing capabilities. For this latest update, Visa programmers, engineers and testers have invested more than 85,000 labor hours to create and incorporate upgrades to VisaNet. That includes the addition of several new currencies to the 175 for which Visa already processes transactions.

As with past updates, these significant system changes and improvements were made while VisaNet remained fully operational, ensuring that cardholders, merchants and financial institutions could continue to rely on Visa to process their transactions.

Visa’s software updates improve the network in crucial areas such as security while continually adding the technology to support the growth and complexity of electronic payments. These include the development of information-based services that help financial institutions provide more value to their cardholders and increase loyalty; provide ways for businesses to use Visa to maintain greater control and transparency over card spending; and help governments deliver benefits with more efficiency and accountability.


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