News Briefs and Product Shorts
Stonesoft Announced i5 Support for StoneGate Firewall and VPN
The StoneGate firewall and Virtual Private Network (VPN) software now supports i5 servers, the application's developer, Finland's Stonesoft, announced last week. Stonesoft first brought StoneGate to Power4-based iSeries servers about a year ago (see "Stonesoft to Launch Firewall and VPN for iSeries"). Last week's announcement heralds the first version of StoneGate that will run on the new Power5-based servers from IBM. While StoneGate is a Linux-based application, it does not require a separate Linux instance to be loaded into the iSeries or i5 partition in which it runs, as StoneGate comes with its own built-in and "hardened" Linux operating system.
Infor XPSS 3.0 Helps Auto Suppliers Cope with OEM Single-Source Requirements
Germany's most popular automotive ERP application, XPPS, has just gone 3.0, the application's owner, Infor Global Solutions, announced last week. With XPSS 3.0, Infor has bolstered the application with new functionality that allows suppliers to handle more complex orders from the auto makers. This "single-source" trend, in which the OEMs are increasingly passing additional manufacturing steps to their tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers, puts more pressure on these suppliers to, in turn, rely on their sub-contractors. XPPS 3.0 helps suppliers cope with single-sourcing by OEMs by filtering incoming orders based on what the supplier itself can process, and what needs to be outsourced to other suppliers, Infor says. Infor, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, has acquired several ERP software companies in the past year, and is now one of the biggest providers of ERP for the automotive sector. XPSS, which runs on OS/400, is the most widely used automotive ERP solution in Germany, with more than 1,000 customers and 2,400 sites.
Mainline to Resell Devon IT's NTAVO Remote Access Appliance
Devon IT has signed IBM eServer reseller Mainline Information Systems to sell its NTA Virtual Office suite of secure remote access solutions. Devon NTAVO appliances are rack-mountable, Linux-based IBM xSeries or BladeCenter servers that employ Tarantella's Tarantella Adaptive Internet Protocol (AIP) to provide secure access to hosts such as the iSeries from thin clients installed at remote locations. Devon IT, which started as the IT division of the Devon Health HMO organization located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, launched its NTAVO solution, which includes the appliance as well as thin client workstations, last fall (see "Devon Introduces New Appliance for Secure Remote Access"). Mainline is a Tallahassee, Florida-based reseller that specializes in mainframe zSeries servers, although it also sells other IBM servers, including the iSeries.
National Preschool Chain Standardizes on WebFOCUS for Business Intelligence
La Petite Academy, a chain of 650 preschools and day-care facilities across the country, has standardized on a business intelligence tool with which to pick through the wealth of information residing in its computer systems, including OS/400 and Windows servers. "We looked at several business intelligence suites before deciding to go with Information Builders' WebFOCUS," says Walt Tracy, La Petite Academy's CIO. While the organization had already been a WebFOCUS user, it hopes to save time and money by doing all business intelligence application development on WebFOCUS from this point forward. This includes consolidating various regional and corporate data sources, and creating a common set of Web-based reporting tools that any of its academies or employees can use to access the data warehouse that it will build. "The reusability and speed of development of WebFOCUS reports and integration capabilities will save us substantial time and money," Tracy says.
BlackBerry-to-Host Integration Picks Up for Epoch Integration
The market for BlackBerry-server integration doesn't seem to be slowing, despite the well-publicized hack of Paris Hilton's Sidekick II, a BlackBerry-like device, in early February (see "Security Niches Filled as Public Security Lapses Mount"). Last week, Epoch Integration, which develops the NeedTEXT suite of software that provides BlackBerry devices with access to enterprise assets, including OS/400 servers, announced a number of high-profile clients. The list of organizations using Epoch Integration's software for BlackBerry integration is distinguished and includes: Time Warner Cable, Coca-Cola Bottling, the U.S. Senate, U.S. Army Dental Command, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, International Transmission Company, and Kohl's Department Stores. "The continued adoption of these solutions within enterprise customers is a testament to the value that they deliver to IT departments supporting BlackBerry," said Ramon Tavares, Epoch Integration president. Epoch introduced its solution for iSeries-BlackBerry integration, the NeedTEXT Shell emulator, last spring (see "Access OS/400 Servers from Wireless BlackBerry Devices").
IBM Showcases Talking Web Browser, Other Tools for Developing Applications for People With Disabilities
IBM showcased its portfolio of solutions and tools for people with disabilities last week at its PartnerWorld convention in Las Vegas. Included in the demonstration were several tools designed to help developers write Web applications that can be used by people who are blind or have other vision problems. One of those tools was a talking Web browser called the Home Page Reader 3.04, which is available in eight languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Thai, and Japanese. Another tool on display was the aDesigner, which helps developers by checking the degree of color contrast on a Web page, checking the capability of users to change the font size, and making sure links can be easily navigated. Other tools for helping write applications for the visually impaired that IBM showcased include Easy Web Browsing, and Web Adapt 2 Me. IBM's accessibility tools go beyond meeting minimum standards set by the government, says Frances West, director of IBM's Worldwide Accessibility Center. "IBM envisions a true societal transformation where accessibility is not only good for individuals, but good for business and for society as a whole," she says.