BlueZone Updates Terminal Emulation for i OS
July 15, 2008 Alex Woodie
BlueZone Software, which is now operating as a subsidiary of Rocket Software following Rocket’s acquisition of Seagull Software, last week launched BlueZone version 5, a new release of its terminal emulation suite for IBM‘s i operating system. The product update brings new features such as support for Windows Vista, new single sign-on features, and enhanced FTP functions.
BlueZone enables users to access host computers, including i OS-based Power Systems servers, IBM mainframes, and Unix servers, via TN5250, TN3270, and VT emulation protocols. It functions as either a 32-bit Windows application (with a 10 MB download) or as a Web-based application, via a downloadable ActiveX control or Java applet (3 MB download each). It also includes a Secure File Transfer Protocol (FTPS) client as part of the product.
The software is marketed and sold by Rocket primarily as a speedy and low-cost replacement emulator for organizations looking to move off so-called “first generation” emulators. Rocket Software targets users of IBM’s Client Access, Attachmate‘s EXTRA! and Reflection (formerly WRQ) products, and Micro Focus‘ RUMBA (formerly NetManage) emulators as potential BlueZone customers. Rocket says that its BlueZone product, which starts at $166 per seat list, can save customers 50 to 86 percent in yearly maintenance fees compared to its competitors.
With the launch of BlueZone version 5 a week ago, Rocket hopes to attract more customers to the “blue” way of life. One handy new feature in BlueZone 5 is the new single sign-on capability, delivered through the new Password Vault. This feature allows z/OS and i OS users to store their authentication information in an encrypted file (the Password Vault).
Whenever a user encounters a login screen that requires a password, that screen is recognized by BlueZone, which then automatically enters the employee’s user ID and password, thereby automating the log-in.
BlueZone 5 also introduces changes to the FTP client. With this release, Rocket is now using IBM’s Licensed Internal Program Interface (LIPI) to transfer files and data. Using the LIPI makes it easier for BlueZone to maintain security, support languages, and support format and character conversions. Users can also record and play back one or more FTP commands with the new FTP client; create and edit transfer lists with any text editor; and play competitors’ transfer lists, without conversion.
Finally, BlueZone 5 brings support for Windows Vista. The software is Vista certified, according to Rocket, and supports the operating system’s user account control (UAC) security feature.
Steve Bireley, senior vice president of product development for BlueZone Software, says BlueZone 5 is a significant release for the company and the product. “We’ve spent the last 25 years making terminal emulation as easy and straightforward as possible,” he says. “This new version is a significant step forward, and we look forward to our loyal customers being able to make their terminal emulation operations even better.”
BlueZone, which Seagull Software obtained with its 2001 acquisition of Renex, has been operating more independently of late following Rocket’s acquisition of Seagull in 2007. Today, the BlueZone products are marketed and sold under the BlueZone Software banner, and the Rocket entity even has its own Web site at www.bluezonesoftware.com. There you will find the BlueZone emulators and FTP products formerly developed by the Virginia-based Renex crew, along with offerings Seagull obtained with its acquisition of the Canadian outfit Farabi Technology. Those products include the three-tier emulation suite BlueZone Access Server, and the .NET-based programmatic integration tool BlueZone HostFront. (See “Seagull Relaunches Farabi Tool Under BlueZone Name” for more on the renaming.)
Single licenses for BlueZone 5 start at $178, while a 10-pack costs $1,660. For more information, visit www.bluezonesoftware.com.