iLumber: Seeing the Forest for the Trees with Enhydra
iLumber.com, a privately financed startup located in Toronto, is
a unique Web-based business-to-business deployment solution for
the softwood lumber industry.
The iLumber website, www.iLumber.com, and its offspring, www.LumberSurplus.com,
offer a community environment and resource for lumber mills, wholesalers,
brokers, distributors and construction companies.
are dedicated to providing a portal for the North American softwood
lumber and building materials industry that features news, an on-line
lumber guide, email newsletters and real-time auctions for surplus
materials," says Ian Costanzo, Chief Technology Officer for iLumber.com.
Future site expansion includes web-based e-mail, on-line support
discussion forums, commodity prices and brokerage.
To ensure service to an expected base of 20,000 registered members
by the end of 2000, iLumber.com needs a strong Web application server
to support its services.
iLumber.com developed their websites in-house with a team of Java
developers and front-end html/graphics developers. The company also
hired contract journalists to research and report on the lumber
industry. "We evaluated several application servers including WebLogic
and Netdynamics, but we found the Open Source advantage of Enhydra
exactly what we needed." says Ian Costanzo.
The Open Source availability of Enhydra gives iLumber.com complete
flexibility with how to use their product deployment strategy.
"We can scale it up to multiple servers without incurring additional
license fees." says Ian. "We can sell it to a third-party or use
it as part of a consulting solution, without having built-in third-party
software costs. We are considering financing our growth through
consulting work, and Enhydra gives us a huge strategic advantage."
iLumber.com CEO, Clinton Yourth adds: "As a startup company doing
business in Internet time, we needed to leverage a product that would
allow us to be effective and competitive fast. To deliver an e-commerce
solution for iLumber.com's associated communities, we researched the
market for a flexible Internet server architecture. The solution was
Open Source Enhydra. The Open Source nature of it allows us to enhance,
modify, and freely distribute our source code and applications. It
allows us to freely integrate best-of-breed Java components, and it
lets us achieve our goals without fear of future license costs."
The iLumber Team (listed below).
iLumber.com also found Enhydra a beneficial choice in that it makes
components and tools available on a source-code basis. This allows
extensions or customizations to be built on a per-project basis.
"Commercial application servers work fine, as long as you play by
their rules," says Ian, "but they can be difficult to extend, enhance
or customize. Enhydra is one of the best application servers available,
in addition to the fact that it is Open Source."
iLumber.com is currently running on a single NT box, using MySQL.
The company is upgrading the production infrastructure, and plans
to deploy on multiple boxes, upgrading the database to Oracle and
the O/S to Linux. iLumber.com has benchmarked the application running
in a test environment on four servers - one Web server, two application
servers, and one database server - and is planning to upgrade the
production environment to this configuration within the next two
months, according to Ian Costanzo.
"At this time we are approaching several organizations and associations
to provide customized and private areas on the iLumber.com site,
and to offer our consulting services to help them get their own
organizations on-line," Ian says. "Enhydra is tailor-made for these
requirements since it is a flexible and robust platform. It is perfectly
suitable for any custom e-solutions we need to develop for our clients.
In addition, it gives us the cost-scalability to support the portal
site, if the site usage grows significantly faster than the trading
"We are grateful to the Open Source community," Ian adds. "Enhydra
has definitely helped accelerate development of our on-line functionality,
especially Enhydra XMLC and its support for dynamic content. A big
thank you to all the contributors."
iLumber.com is currently considering contributing back their portal
engine, 'Jabian', to the Open Source community. We'll keep you posted.
In the mean time, we wish the best of luck to iLumber.com in the
The iLumber Team consists of: (photographed above)
Front row: Clinton Yourth, President, President & CEO
Back row, Left-to-right: Yves Legault, Software Engineer Jeff Hobeck,
Software Engineer Rene Scammell, Technical Support Robert Livingstone,
Portal architect and strategist Pannaga Adiga, Software Engineer
Nenad Prnic, Technical Support Laura Yourth, Office Manager Sheila
Hobeck, Software Engineer Ian Costanzo, CTO
Not present: Scott Spackman, HTML and graphics designer Don Spackman,
technical strategy consultant Marty MacPhail, COO Doreen Livingstone,
Journalist John McIlroy, CFO
iLumber.com is a service portal dedicated to the North
American softwood industry. The site provides news and information,
a surplus trading auction and quickly building to offer stock
information, online chat, online lumber tools, customized
storefronts and a complete lumber marketplace including online
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