SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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
“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 z™ 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 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.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is the world’s most advanced processing network—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
1 Source: Global Insight, Euromonitor International, SEC Filings, Nilson Report issue number 880 and 915, and analysis by Visa Insights
2 2008 VisaNet Peak Message Rate: 8,442 transaction messages per second sustained average over a one hour period