News Briefs and Product Shorts
SEA and Visara, Traditionally Mainframe Vendors, Make iSeries Debuts At COMMON
Two vendors that have traditionally concentrated on the mainframe business made their OS/400 debuts at the COMMON conference last week. Software Engineering of America, which has offered some OS/400 utilities, significantly boosted its iSeries presence with a very large booth near the front of the COMMON expo. The company is rolling out a new OS/400 software suite, called the Rev Suite for AS/400, which includes an OS/400 job scheduler, a message management utility, a backup utility, a data transfer utility, a disk monitor, a ZIP compression utility, and a performance monitor. The other new player in the iSeries market, Visara International, used the show to officially launch two Twinax-connected management consoles for iSeries servers, the ICON-1T and the ICON-20T. IT Jungle will be covering these companies and their products in greater depth in future issues of Four Hundred Stuff, so stay tuned.
MKS Announces Requirement Planning Software That's Integrated with Change Management
Companies all across the country are struggling to document their internal business processes and IT systems as they never have before, in order to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. While this has provided a boon for companies like MKS that make a living helping companies to document and manage changes to code, it also highlights the need for more control over requirements planning from the get go. New software announced by MKS last week, called MKS Requirements 2005, is intended to help bring together business managers and software developers by allowing them to work within the same tool: MKS Integrity Manager.
MKS Requirements 2005 is an optional component to MKS Integrity Manager, the company's graphical process and workflow management software, which works with both Implementer, its change management software for OS/400, and Source Integrity Enterprise for open platforms (see "MKS Addresses SarBox Transparency with Implementer 5.5" for more on the relationship between Integrity Manager and Implementer). With MKS Requirements 2005, the company is providing new capabilities for managing and--perhaps most important--documenting the requirements stage of application development. The optional Integrity Manager add-on features new workflow logic for linking developers and their source code changes to managers and their business documentation; new triggers for alerting users to "suspect" requirements and for linking development tasks to requirements as they change; integration with Word for writing requirements before importing into MKS Requirements 2005; and new queries, charts, and reports for business managers.
About 60 to 70 percent of projects fail as a result of poor requirements gathering, analysis, and management, according to META Group analyst Melinda Ballou. MKS Requirements 2005 is the first requirements management application to be tightly integrated and bundled with change management software, says David Martin, MKS's vice president of product management. "The clear connection between requirements, development activity, and development artifacts delivers an unprecedented level of auditability, something every IT organization must demonstrate for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance," he says. The software is scheduled to ship in January.
PKWARE Launches PKZIP Server and SecureZIP Server Products
PKWARE has announced a refresh of its PKZIP and SecureZIP product lines, including a new line of PKZIP Server and SecureZip Server products that feature integrated e-mail and FTP capabilities, in reaction to the way people are using the products today. The Brown Deer, Wisconsin, company, which only six months ago created the SecureZIP product from PKZIP, announced the availability of the new server products on Windows, Linux, and Unix, and said it is working on bringing the same capabilities to its OS/400 and mainframe products.
PKZIP has come a long way from its roots in file compression, and it is now an enterprise-strength, cross-platform data distribution tool with built-in security. The new PKZIP Server products include integrated Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and FTP support; support for event logs and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps; self-extraction of files; and integration with antivirus software. In addition to these functions, some versions of the new SecureZIP Server products include an OEM'ed version of RSA Security's BSAFE encryption software (for Public Key Infrastructure certificate-based encryption and authentication), and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) integration.
PKWARE has also shaken up its product line a bit, so here's a look at the new packaged offerings. The base PKZIP Server product for Unix and Linux servers costs $400 per server and features basic compression and password-based encryption, in addition to virus scanning and SYSLOG or SNMP support. To get the FTP and STMP capabilities, one must purchase the Enhanced Data Processing Module, which costs another $200 per server. Similarly, PKWARE offers a base SecureZIP Server product for Unix and Linux, which includes all of the features of the base PKZIP Server product, in addition the more advanced FTP and SMTP server and RSA's PKI certificate-based encryption capabilities, and costs $1,800. To get LDAP support, through the optional Directory Integration Module, it costs another $360. PKWARE also offers an equivalent Windows version of PKZIP Server and Secure Server, with the same upgrade modules and capabilities, for the same prices. The OS/400 and mainframe versions of these new products are in beta and could be out by the end of the year, PKWARE officials said. The company's OS/400 and mainframe products share a common code base, and the company is extremely cautious about testing it before rolling out new releases.
LANSA Rolls Out New EDI Software
LANSA continued its advancement into the pre-packaged business application market last week with the introduction of a new EDI product at the COMMON conference. LANSA EDI Direct is an EDI mapping and translation product that links into users' ERP systems and enables them to send and receive EDI documents in a variety of ways. The software, which runs on OS/400, Windows, and Linux, provides automated transaction processing of major EDI standards, such as X12, EDIFACT, and Tradacom, as well as non-standard EDI formats, the vendor says. The product is an extension of LANSA's Integrator product and works with LANSA's Data Secure Direct product, which enables the secure delivery of EDI documents over the Web using the Applicability Statement 2 (AS2) protocol. Alternatively, EDI Direct also supports SSL and PGP security protocols.
With the rise in use of XML-based transactions, some might consider the EDI market to be a mature market, not a growing market. But only 20 percent of major suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors are using EDI today, LANSA officials say, which means there's room for growth. Like LANSA's other pre-packaged applications, EDI Direct was born of LANSA's professional services organization. Since the company had experience in building EDI translators, as it did with AS2, e-commerce Web sites, and ERP applications, it figured it might as well sell that experience and expertise through licensed software.
Computer Associates Announces New Releases of 2E and Plex
Computer Associates announced the long-awaited new releases of its 2E and Plex development environments for OS/400 and Windows operating systems at COMMON last week. AllFusion 2E Release 8.1 and AllFusion Plex Release 5.5, which were first discussed more than a year ago (see "CA Outlines Future of iSeries Development Tools"), were originally scheduled to ship in early 2004. Computer Associates says the new features it has delivered in AllFusion 2E, its traditional OS/400 fourth-generation language, include support for trigger programs, automatic generation Enterprise JavaBeans, and the capability for 2E appslications to create and consume Web services. New features delivered in Plex, a newer 4GL for Windows and OS/400, include the generation of .NET-based applications, the import of COM components into application designs, and the generation of RPG IV code on iSeries.
The Islandia, New York, software company also gave the 2E product its fifth different name, and the fourth since Computer Associates acquired it four years ago. The 2E product was known as Synon 2E when its original developer, Synon, sold it to Sterling Software in 1988. It was called Cool:2E when Sterling was bought by CA in 2000. Since then, the 2E product has gone through three different names, including Jasmine Developer 2E, Advantage 2E, and now AllFusion 2E. The Plex product has also experienced similar name changes over the last four years.
Mincron Strikes OEM Deal with Relativity for JENASYS RPG-to-Java Conversion
Mincron and Relativity Technologies announced a partnership last week that sees Mincron's RPG-to-Java code converter, called JENASYS, integrated into Relativity's Modernization Workbench. JENASYS is one of the only, if not the only, tool that converts RPG into Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) compliant Enterprise JavaBeans (see "Mincron Issues 2.0 Release of JENASYS RPG-to-Java Conversion Tool"). By integrating JENASYS with Relativity's PC- Modernization Workbench, the companies say, Modernization Workbench users will gain more capability to analyze their RPG programs in detail, uncover and manage business logic, and share information with colleagues over the Web. Relativity has become an OEM supplier of JENASYS, which is now an optional component of the Modernization Workbench.