eNatis pulls through

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 26 Apr 2007

Government's electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) is now delivering better service after a wobbly start on Friday, 13 April. Its developer, Tasima, says a third database server, installed overnight on Tuesday to speed up the system, has proved successful.

"The database server has made a huge difference in ensuring stability," Tasima CE Johan Vorster said this morning.

He says 480 000 transactions were completed yesterday, 390 000 on Tuesday and, by 8.30am on Thursday, 1 800 users were online and 40 000 transactions had already been conducted - with no downtime.

Vorster defines a "transaction" as any of 199 options, ranging from the "registration of a motor vehicle", to the "issuing of a licence". However, the payment portion of any transaction is counted as a separate transaction. Thus, he says, the registration of a motor vehicle will result in at least two transactions, one being the registration itself and the other being the payment thereof. eNatis allows for 199 transactions, 36 queries and more than 40 reports.

Vorster says the teething problems experienced in recent days were not due to the system not working, "but due to processing capacity and optimisation settings".

He says the system has grown tremendously over the past few years. "By this past weekend, we were aware of the fact that the existing database servers were fully utilised and, therefore, we introduced a third database server during the night of 23 April," he adds.

"Since then we have received feedback from many areas that performance was better. Also, the system has not been off since this upgrade. We are monitoring the situation and will make all adjustments required to optimise the system."

Design considerations

Explaining the eNatis design, Vorster says an important factor to take note of is that the new system makes use of a centralised architecture instead of the old system's 14 distributed databases. "It was decided to opt for a centralised architecture to enable important future technologies that would not have been possible with the old architecture.

"This includes functionalities such as online transactions and automated teller machines that will be introduced later this year, a centralised record of road traffic offences and the introduction of AARTO, a national accident register and various mobile law enforcement applications, as well as a national booking system.

"In terms of system optimisation, our challenge is to offer the same transaction speed on one database that was previously obtained by dividing the load between 14 databases."

Vorster says it should also be remembered that users are performing more transactions than usual to haul in the backlog from the changeover period when neither the old nor the new systems were available. "The volumes should return back to normal within the next week and will enhance the system's performance in general."

His technicians are supported by "external experts from Oracle, both locally and internationally, suppliers of HP and other vendors to validate and assist with the architecture issues. All suppliers and technical staff of all vendors were involved during the preparation, changeover and commissioning of the eNatis. Some of these technicians are on-site on a permanent basis and will continue to do so until all problems are rectified."

Related stories:
eNatis beefed up
Govt, developer defend eNatis
Technical hiccups hit eNatis
Govt upgrades Natis