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Midrange Stuff - Hardware, Software & Services
OS/400 Edition
Volume 2, Number 15 -- April 16, 2002

CommerceQuest Rides MQSeries with File Transfer Software

by Alex Woodie

IBM's message queue software, WebSphere MQ, provides a fault-tolerant approach to ensuring that transactions flowing between business applications do not get lost during the exchange. However, when it comes to transferring large numbers of files, there is no generally accepted standard that can duplicate what WebSphere MQ does for transactions. To fill this need, CommerceQuest writes software that enables bulk data transfers using the WebSphere MQ architecture. Last week CommerceQuest enhanced the software with the announcement of Version 7 of enableNet Data Integrator.

When enableNet Data Integrator Version 7.0 becomes generally available, in May, it will feature two core improvements, including a new scripting language and a new Web interface. In a related announcement, enableNet DI will also feature closer integration with CommerceQuest's new enableNet architecture, which the Tampa, Florida, company also announced last week. The enableNet DI is one component of the new overarching enableNet brand, which will also include the CommerceQuest Business Process Integrator, which, like enableNet DI, runs natively on OS/400.

The new Web interface in enableNet DI will provide a common interface for controlling and monitoring the file transfer process across all the different server platforms supported by the software, including OS/400, OS/390, Unix, and Windows. It will provide a unified modeling diagram, or UML, that will allow developers to visually map the separate activities they want completed as part of the file transfer process, because file transfer is rarely just a matter of plopping file A into library B, says Paul Roth, chief technology officer for CommerceQuest.

"Say I want to move one or more files on MVS to N-number of AS/400s, or multiple UNIX systems," Roth said. "There are processes I may want to do before I send the data. Maybe the file doesn't exist--maybe the data is spread out as tables in one or more databases," which means you want to command enableNet DI to collect that data first.

Sometimes users will want to copy the selected files to disk before moving them, although if there is a large amount of data they probably don't. Maybe, Roth says, the user wants to run other jobs before the data is sent or copied to disk. Or maybe, after sending the data, the user wants to go back and delete the data source.

"Data Integrator can be used to do all of that," Roth said. "While users want a sure and reliable file transfer, what they really want to do is manage the end-to-end process, from start to finish, before and after what goes on for the file transfer."

However, if die-hard AS/400 types don't want to use the spiffy new Web browser with Version 7, Roth and his crew of developers totally understand. CommerceQuest has built in a 5250 panel so that operators can work with enableNet DI in their interface of choice.

"We have spent time developing technology…and products for the unique requirements of the '400--how they would want to see and feel things," Roth said. "We really have paid a lot of care and attention."

The enableNet DI can communicate using WebSphere MQ in applications that have been written to use it. However, only about 15 percent of applications in use have been written to work with WebSphere MQ, according to industry sources. The enableNet DI can also bring these non-MQ-enabled applications into the bulk file transfer fold and let them benefit from some of the technological advantages of message queue architectures, says Roth.

None of your applications need to be WebSphere MQ-enabled to work with enableNet DI, he said. "Our product uses MQ under the covers to do all this. One of the things we're effectively able to do is interact with applications that are, or are not, MQ-enabled."

The new scripting language will bring users new levels of control for their file transfers, CommerceQuest says. The scripting language will enable users to invoke programs written in languages native to the platform, including RPG, COBOL, and CL, as exit points for their file transfer processes. Additionally, the new scripting language hooks into WebSphere Studio Workbench and the open-source Eclipse project, ensuring that users have access to IBM's latest development tools.

The core enableNet DI data transfer engine was written in C++ and loads natively onto AS/400 and iSeries servers. The company has about six customers using the software on OS/400 platforms, including a Coca- Cola distributor in Philadelphia. Most enableNet DI users are in the financial services, retail, and aerospace industries, but Roth sees the entire OS/400 market as fertile ground for his product.

"The '400 is a very interesting and exiting market for us," he said. "I think there's a huge market in the '400 community," he said. "We have a deep level of support for the file system, and the programming languages, RPG and CL."

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