iBridge Traverses System i-Windows Divide for ACOM
June 30, 2009 Alex Woodie
ACOM Solutions last week unveiled a new System i utility that automatically converts i OS spool files to the ASCI format so they can be used more easily in a Windows environment. ACOM sees the new offering, dubbed iBridge, helping to streamline integration activities between System i and Windows systems, particularly for electronic payment activities involving System i applications and its Windows-based EZPayManager software.
iBridge resides on the i OS server and monitors output queues for spool files. When it detects a spool file, it automatically converts the file (which uses the i OS server’s native EBCDIC file structure) into a plain text ASCI file. At the same time that it converts the spool file, iBridge can rename the file using a naming scheme that’s more intuitive than i OS’s default naming scheme, and then dump the converted and renamed file into a destination folder on the System i server’s Integrated File System (IFS).
Once the System i spool files have been converted, renamed, and move to an IFS folder, users are free to treat the files as they would any other Windows-readable text file. If users have a mapped drive from their Windows systems to the IFS, they can set the system up to periodically poll the IFS folder for new files and have them automatically downloaded into the Windows system.
The new software “makes the process of converting and transferring spool files from the iSeries to Windows environments completely transparent to the user and eliminates the need for manually transferring the files via FTP or any other manual protocol,” says ACOM vice president Sam Mikhail.
In particular, iBridge brings new possibilities for using System i data for printing checks, generating receipts, or for making payments across the Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic payment network.
One of the most prominent uses of iBridge foreseen by ACOM is connecting System i systems with EZPayManager, its Windows-based product for making payments using the ACH network. “iBridge brings a valuable new tool to accounts payable and payroll operations in iSeries shops by providing direct access to EZPayManager capabilities not previously available,” Mikhail says.
In particular, iBridge will be useful for eliminating much of the manual work involved in hooking System i applications into ACOM’s ACH software. “It provides companies committed to the iSeries platform the means to convert a high percentage of their vendors to ACH payments,” Mikhail says.
iBridge is available now. For more information, visit www.acom.com.