Tolly Report Shows Reflection 2008 Outperforms Competitors, Attachmate Says
March 10, 2009 Alex Woodie
Attachmate recently commissioned The Tolly Group to see how its Reflection 2008 emulation suite stacks up to three big competitors. According to Tolly’s results, the former WRQ product delivered a broader feature set, better administrative functions, closer integration with Windows Vista and Office 2007, and overall better user productivity than the competing programs.
Reflection 2008, which became generally available in January, is Attachmate’s flagship emulator and the preferred migration destination for its EXTRA! and InfoConnect emulator lines. It’s no surprise, then, that Attachmate paid Tolly last year to test Reflection 2008 against three other emulation suites–including IBM Personal Communications 5.9.1, Micro Focus RUMBA 7.5.2, and Open Text‘s HostExplorer 2008–and not against the other Attachmate products.
Last October and November, Tolly ran the four emulation suites through their paces against an IBM mainframe to see how the products and their features fared across several user scenarios. The tests, conducted over the 3270 protocol, focused heavily on user productivity and Windows Vista and Office 2007 integration.
(It’s worth noting that, in selecting the features and scenarios to be compared, such tests are invariably skewed in favor of the company paying for the lab time–Attachmate, in this case. With that in mind, the results are still worth looking at, especially as prospective customers analyze and evaluate their organizations’ emulator needs and the current state of technology in the market.)
The user productivity tests measured how easily and quickly features such as auto complete, auto expand, spell check, scratch pad, screen history, recent typing, and Windows desktop search could be configured and utilized in the course of performing basic tasks.
According to the test results, Reflection 2008’s strong auto complete and typing recall features would enable users to accomplish basic tasks nearly four times faster than IBM PCOM, which doesn’t support any of these features. The RUMBA and HostExplorer (formerly Hummingbird) supported these features, which would allow a RUMBA user to shave a second or more when performing these tasks.
Because Attachmate built Reflection 2008 to run on Microsoft Vista, it’s not surprising that the emulator excels in this area. For starters, Reflection 2008 was the only product tested that Tolly engineers could validate as supporting the User Account Control (UAC) security feature that was new with Vista. Neither PCOM nor RUMBA supported UAC when the tests were performed, and although HostExplorer was certified for Vista, it could not validate the product’s support for UAC, which can save users time by eliminating the need to log off to make administrative changes.
Tolly was also impressed with Reflection 2008’s “ribbon” style user interface, which resembles Microsoft’s Vista and Office 2007 products. User productivity is boosted by putting all of the emulator’s functions in the ribbon interface’s toolbar, Tolly says. However, the ribbon UI is lacking in RUMBA, PCOM, and HostExplorer.
Reflection 2008 also scored well when it came to calling Office 2007 functions–such as automatically generating an Outlook e-mail, appointment, task, or note from the emulator. All of the products supported generation of Outlook e-mails except for PCOM (which resembled the whipping boy in this test), while Reflection 2008 was the only product that supported generation of appointments, tasks, or notes.
The Attachmate product was also the only one to support a feature called “information privacy filters,” which is a form of data obfuscation that uses pattern recognition to prevent users from viewing or otherwise accessing sensitive data, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.
If you’re in the market for an emulator that features close integration with Windows Vista and Office 2007, Reflection 2008 should definitely be on your list. “From the Windows operating system to Microsoft Office suite, Reflection 2008 takes unique advantage of a range of desktop technologies,” says Kevin Tolly, founder of The Tolly Group. “Reflection 2008 is an outstanding solution that provides end-users with improved productivity and administrators with new levels of flexibility as they continue to depend on their mainframe resources.”
To view the entire Tolly report in PDF format, go to www.attachmate.com/NR/rdonlyres/8654F1DF-0913-4219-8E7F-EFB3FD0F7219/0/TollyRIBM2008.pdf.