Jacada Builds Foundation for SOA with Fusion 2.0
April 26, 2005 Alex Woodie
Jacada fleshed out its service oriented architecture (SOA) strategy last week when it unveiled Jacada Fusion 2.0, a new version of its flagship software suite for exposing business processes locked up in OS/400, mainframe, Unix, and Windows applications, and rearranging them in new and useful ways. With this release, Jacada has focused on providing a tighter, more integrated experience across the Fusion product line, as well as paving the way for future enhancements.
It’s been almost a year since Jacada rolled out its Fusion product line and unveiled its new strategy for helping organizations get more out of their IT investments through SOAs and composite application development. The main goal with Fusion is to help organizations reduce the number of different and disparate interfaces that end users (especially call center workers) have to navigate and master to do their jobs. This could mean scrapping the old interfaces for a new composite application with a new set of screens, connecting the input and output of two applications so they can “talk” to each other without any interface apparent to the user, or adding new functionality to a core application that will remain in widespread use.
In terms of technology, Jacada aims to help organizations achieve these goals by providing a common and consistent way to define, string together, and then monitor the execution of existing business processes residing on disparate platforms, and to do so without invasive programming. To accomplish this little feat of IT magic with Fusion, Jacada relies on tried-and-true techniques–such as its “wrapper” technology for bundling, say, the 5250 datastream as a Java or .NET component–along with new SOA concepts and emerging Web services standards, such as Business Process Execution Language (BPEL).
With Fusion 2.0, Jacada says it has tightened the interaction of the three core components that make up the product suite, including HostFuse (formerly Jacada Integrator), WebFuse, and WinFuse, which was introduced last May when the Fusion suite was introduced (see “Jacada WinFuse Brings Web Services to Legacy Windows Apps”). The new version introduces a unified installation process for all three components, and allows the new composite application to be monitored and controlled from a single thin-client interface. The new release also adds a fully visual debugger, the company says.
Jacada has also formed a new partnership with BEA Systems to use BEA’s WebLogic J2EE application server for creating and orchestrating Web services and their interactions with existing business processes, and for building user interfaces, if needed. While customers can still opt to build their own solution using Jacada’s proprietary HostFuse and WinFuse server engines, standardizing on WebLogic provides an easier to implement out-of-the-box solution, says Rob Morris, Jacada’s vice president of product strategy.
The HostFuse component has also been enhanced with this release, and now customers have the option of running the Jacada HostFuse server engine as a J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA) component under a J2EE application server running on an iSeries, zSeries, Windows, or Unix server. WebFuse has also been enhanced with a new graphical modeling environment to define the mapping of Web applications, and expanded platform certification, Jacada says.
In terms of WinFuse, users can now develop wrappers for repurposing legacy client-server applications from directly within Microsoft‘s Visual Studio.NET development environment. This capability is a result of Jacada joining Microsoft’s Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) Premier program. There are also new WinFuse certifications for generating Web services from SAP R/3, Siebel and Amdocs Clarify and CSM applications.
Fusion 2.0 is really about providing a foundation on which to build new functionality, as Jacada has done a lot of other work it’s not ready to announce yet, Morris says. Just the same, the software is ready right now to help companies start building composite applications in an SOA framework. “SOA is intriguing only so far as you can build an application,” Morris says. “Web services allow you to get the services out really quickly following this composite application design pattern. It’s not bringing another silo to bear.”
As far as what to expect from point releases of Fusion down the road, building systems that are event-driven and can react to triggering events is an area many iSeries and mainframe shops would be interested in replicating in Web services. “We’ll be introducing more event-driven functionality,” Morris says.
Pricing for Fusion begins at $50,000. For more information, visit www.jacada.com.