HIS 2004 Can Bundle Green Screen Apps As XML Web Services
August 30, 2004 Alex Woodie
Microsoft this week will begin shipping new integration software that allows companies to deploy parts of OS/400 and mainframe applications as XML-based Web services or Microsoft .NET server components. This capability is available through the new Transaction Integrator tool, which ships as a component of Host Integration Server 2004, the latest release of the company’s software product that used to be called SNA Server.
Seventy percent of the world’s data may not reside on IBM mainframe and OS/400 servers, as a recent trade publication debunked that widespread belief. But it would be foolish to dismiss these platforms, which have been successfully running critical applications in corporate and government data centers around the world for about four decades and three decades, respectively, and the successful business processes residing in their trillions of lines of (mostly) procedural COBOL and RPG code. Liberating these processes from their IBM “legacy” (at least insofar you don’t see a green screen or need an army of systems integrators to connect them to other applications) is the driving force behind the concept of a service-oriented architecture (SOA).
With Host Integration Server 2004, Microsoft can lay claim to being near the wheel of the SOA bandwagon. “Customers have told us that they need technology that enables them to utilize their mainframe assets and expose those assets as Web services,” says Ted Kummert, a vice president in Microsoft’s business process and integration division. “Host Integration Server 2004 gives customers new ways to get more out of their existing IT systems, in a cost-efficient manner.”
MOVING BIG IRON TO MICROSOFT
Key to this SOA story is the new Transaction Integrator component of HIS 2004, which plugs into Visual Studio .NET. Microsoft says that the Transaction Integrator enables Windows developers to publish and extend the business processes residing on mainframe, CICS, IMS, and OS/400 applications as XML Web services or .NET assemblies, which the company refers to as Windows-initiated processing. The Transaction Integrator project also includes import and export wizards for COBOL and RPG source code.
There is also a new managed provider capability in HIS 2004 that allows developers to publish data in IBM’s DB2 database as an XML Web service. Developers can also use this managed provider capability to transform DB2 data to document management applications built with Windows Forms, Web Forms, or Microsoft Office productivity applications, such as Excel and InfoPath, Microsoft says.
The new Transaction Integrator functionality also allows something Microsoft is calling host-initiated processing. Microsoft says that host-initiated processing allows a Windows server computer to function as a peer to a mainframe or an OS/400 server, and to distributed or peer-to-peer applications. It also allows them to move their application logic to Windows Server operating systems and SQL Server databases.
Microsoft has also enhanced the product’s single-sign-on and password-synchronization capabilities. Microsoft’s enterprise single sign-on capability enables authentication information to be shared between applications that use Microsoft’s Active Directory and non-Windows systems, such as RACF, ACF/2, and Top Secret security on mainframe, and OS/400 security. The enterprise single sign-on capability has been extended to support one- and two-way password synchronization, the company says. Finally, HIS 2004 includes new IP-DLC data link control support, which, Microsoft says, allows HIS 2004 servers to connect directly to zSeries mainframes via high-speed IP networks.
Microsoft is now selling two versions of HIS 2004. HIS 2004 Standard Edition costs $2,499 per processor, while the Enterprise Edition, which includes the new Transaction Integrator capabilities, as well as support for the WebSphere MQ to Microsoft Messaging Queuing bridge, costs $9,999 per processor. Both versions will be generally available on September 1.