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OS/400 Edition
Volume 3, Number 10 -- March 11, 2003

Magic Details New iBOLT Integration Software and Strategy

by Alex Woodie

Magic Software provided additional details last week about iBOLT Integration Suite, the enterprise application integration (EAI) software that it announced earlier this year. Officials with the Irvine, California, company outlined an integrated software suite that includes a new business process flow designer, additional support for messaging protocols, and a range of prebuilt connectors and adapters. iBOLT is scheduled to debut in April and will be marketed to midsized companies with less than $100,000 to spend on EAI projects.

The decision to move into EAI came easily enough to Magic Software. Much of its 10,000-plus customer base was already using eDeveloper--Magic Software's fourth-generation-language development environment for the OS/400, Unix, Linux, and Windows platforms--for integration projects. The company realized, however, that it needed additional functionality in eDeveloper--and new applications entirely--to become a provider of EAI proper, says Avigdor Luttinger, head of Magic's iBOLT program.

"Once we decided to focus on EAI, we looked at what was required to make [eDeveloper] a full-fledged EAI suite," Luttinger says. "We asked ourselves, 'What do we need as additional functions, and what to build around it.' And then we went and did it."

Magic already had many of the core underpinnings for EAI software in eDeveloper Version 9.3. It had a robust multi-tiered deployment architecture, integrated security, routing capabilities, and an underlying messaging layer (albeit a proprietary one), Luttinger says. In creating eDeveloper Version 9.4, Magic added some of the things needed for EAI, including support for standard messaging services, such as Java Message Services (JMS); WebSphere MQ and Microsoft MQ; support for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP); the capability to expose business objects as Java and Microsoft .NET components; and new wizards to ease the development process.

Then Magic augmented eDeveloper with more software to fill several key areas it would need covered in order to truly say that it had an EAI solution. These essential iBOLT elements include a process flow editor, called iBOLT Studio; a way to initiate and monitor processes running on different platforms, through the Integration Flow Monitor and the Integration Flow Manager; and a range of connectors and adapters for plugging into standard data stores and prebuilt applications.

Magic breaks these key iBOLT elements down further into smaller components. The iBOLT Studio comes with two components: the Integration Flow Editor and eDeveloper. The Integration Flow Editor is a drag-and-drop editor that allows developers as well as regular business people to create the overall topology and then define the specific work flows.

After the various application-to-application connections have been described in the Integration Flow Editor, the Integration Flow Supervisor takes it to deployment. The Supervisor invokes the integration by executing the first flow component; then it manages subsequent workflows. The Integration Flow Monitor keeps a log of workflow execution and is used for fine-tuning the composite application.

Magic is also building a range of generic adapters and connectors and is partnering with other software companies for other adapters and connectors. Magic offers connectors that support DB2/400, Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server, flat files, XML data, electronic data interchange (EDI), e-mail, and many other data types. To tap into the specific enterprise applications, Magic has developed the iBOLT ApplinX adapter, which provides some out-of-the-box functionality for connecting to enterprise packages that Magic has seen quite a bit since it introduced eDeveloper 15 years ago, including those from SAP, J.D. Edwards, and PeopleSoft. Magic is also working with iWay Software to support the wide array of prebuilt application adapters it OEMs to a number of EAI providers. The company is also partnering with a provider of 5250, 3270, and VT100 terminal emulation software for supporting ad hoc connections to the diverse range of legacy ERP applications currently in use, especially in the OS/400 market.

Magic Software was fortunate that it was able to take a fresh approach to EAI, Luttinger says. "We've been able to come to market with what fits best," he says. "We've been talking to analysts, looking at the big guys: webMethods, TIBCO, IBM. But they're going after the top-tier market, and it will be at least 12 months before they can cater to the midmarket. But the bottom-line providers are not robust enough for midmarket companies. We call our strategy 'Walking between the legs of the elephants.' "

Magic sees its customers using iBOLT for IT projects that are more of a hybrid between integration and development than pure EAI, company officials say. "This is the first step toward moving to the architecture of composite applications," Luttinger says. Because it's already an established company with a mature product, 700 employees, and thousands of customers, Magic is able to price iBOLT aggressively, officials say. Licenses for the complete iBOLT package will start at $65,000. That price allows customers to run up to 35 EAI processes simultaneously. If they need 36, they will have to purchase additional capabilities from Magic. The processes will execute on any platform supported by Magic, including OS/400, MVS-z/OS, Unix, Linux, and Windows.

Magic will also be working with its business partners to promote iBOLT. David Leichner, the company's vice president of worldwide marketing, says that a joint IBM-Magic Software marketing campaign will be starting in the coming weeks, which will focus on bringing iBOLT to the iSeries community. For more information, go to

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News Briefs and Product Shorts

Alex Woodie

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