Micro Focus Updates Former NetManage Products
Published: December 2, 2008
by Alex Woodie
Micro Focus did not waste much time integrating NetManage products into its lineup. Barely four months after acquiring NetManage, Micro Focus is unveiling new releases of two key NetManage products, including OnWeb version 7.2.5 Web synch 1, which delivers support for clustering, end-to-end SSL, and the Firefox Web browser, and RUMBA version 7.5.2, which brings support for IBM i 6.1 and Citrix application streaming.
The introduction of clustering to the OnWeb host modernization solution is the most important announcement to come out of Enterprise Integration Technology (EIT), which is the name given to the former NetManage group and products following Micro Focus' acquisition of the Silicon Valley firm.
As Micro Focus promised in July, it has taken the mainframe-centric clustering capability of Micro Focus' EnterpriseLink application modernization solution and applied it to OnWeb, which supports modernization of 5250 as well as 3270 data streams.
The result of this integration is a new cluster-capable version of the OnWeb server that can withstand the rigors of the most demanding enterprise Web applications, according to Archie Roboostoff, Micro Focus' EIT product manager.
"There is a potential for a customer to install three or four of these OnWeb servers in the environment, and then have the elastic clustering server essentially route traffic from one server to the other, while keeping state information," Roboostoff says. "It really bodes well for our enterprise customers who are taking these mission critical mainframe apps and modernizing them down to run on Linux and NT boxes in a Web environment. They need that piece of mind and that performance."
The OnWeb server runs on multiple platforms, including i OS, z/OS, Unix, Linux, and Windows. The OnWeb development environment is wizard-driven, and enables customers to convert their text-based 5250 and 3270 screens into HTML screens, or into Java or .NET objects for use in Web services.
Security has also been enhanced with OnWeb version 7.2.5 Web synch 1. This release provides end-to-end SSL support (HTTP/S) on i OS version 6.1 and AIX. Like the clustering piece, end-to-end SSL was a pressing requirement of OnWeb users who are starting to push access to their core System i and System z applications out over the Web.
"We're starting to see a shift from tactical Web-ification projects to very strategic implementations, where an automobile manufacturer will want to connect their supply chain vendors, who are in the outside world, into their systems, so we early needed to address that security issue," Roboostoff says.
Before this release enabled OnWeb sessions to be encrypted from the browser all the way back to the host, NetManage customers relied on different technology to expose their back-end applications. One popular alternative was to distribute copies of the Windows-based RUMBA emulator to anybody who needed access, and then connect it over a secure pipe, such as a VPN. Now that customers are embarking on larger Web-based modernization initiatives, that old technique--which maintained the green-screen look and feel--didn't suit everybody so well.
"Previously, they had to use emulators," Roboostoff says. "Now they're sending them a Web page. And that needs to be just as secure as Web-to-host was. We're seeing a shift from internal modernization, to actual external usage of these assets, which is a good thing."
OnWeb is also getting better support for pop up screens. Micro Focus EIT did a considerable amount of work to OnWeb's host publishing component to ensure that the Web browsers recognize pop ups for what they are, and not entirely new screens. Also, OnWeb gets support for Mozilla Firefox. Previously, it only supported Microsoft Internet Explorer.
On the RUMBA side, Micro Focus EIT has ensured that the emulator works properly when deployed as part of a Citrix server farm.
Many of Micro Focus' customers are turning to Citrix and its virtualization technology to reduce the maintenance and upkeep of hundreds or thousands of individual PCs. These customers are utilizing products like Citrix's XenApp virtualization software to host desktop applications in a server farm, and stream access down to bare-bones PCs, where users interact with them.
"We have a number of customers who are really embracing the Citrix model," Roboostoff says. "They are moving a number of core applications--such as Word, Excel, and RUMBA--to the Citrix environment, so we had to make sure that when they scale with Citrix, RUMBA can scale accordingly."
Looking ahead, Roboostoff anticipates another release of RUMBA in the first half of 2009 that will bring full certification for Windows Vista. Currently, RUMBA has "Work With Vista" classification, but not full certification.
OnWeb version 7.2.5 Web synch 1 and RUMBA version 7.5.2 are available now. For more information, visit www.microfocus.com.
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