nuBridges Delivers Major Upgrade to MFT Solution
October 20, 2009 Alex Woodie
nuBridges last week delivered a major update to its managed file transfer (MFT) offering with the launch of Exchange 3.0. The new software features a new Web 2.0-style interface and a unified code base for all target platforms, which should simplify the installation and overall use of the product. Exchange 3.0 also gives nuBridges’ System i customers a second MFT product to choose from.
As the new flagship product of nuBridge’s MFT product offerings, nuBridges Exchange 3.0–or Exchange Enterprise as it is sometimes called–is an amalgamation of various file transfer products that nuBridges has built and bought through the years, including software that nuBridges acquired with Trailblazer Systems in 2004 and the truExchange software that was acquired with iSoft in 2006.
The older products had their own strengths and weaknesses, according to Kyle Parris, director of product management for the Atlanta, Georgia, vendor. For example, the iSoft truExchange software had a good user interface (UI), but was a little weak in the backend transaction processing. Exchange Commerce Suite had a very solid backend, but its UI was not as polished.
“So we took what we learned from truExchange, nuBridges Exchange on i, and Exchange Commerce Suite, and combined them to introduce this next generation nuBridges Exchange Enterprise,” Parris says.
The result is a single MFT solution that can run on every major platform, including Unix, Windows, Linux, and System i servers. Users get the same capabilities (scheduled or ad hoc transfers), the same transport mechanisms (SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, AS1, AS2, AS3, etc,) the same encryption capabilities (SSL, PGP, SSH), the same Web-based interface, and the same logging and auditing functions, no matter what platform they are running.
One specific area this homogeneity is expected to help is the installation process. “nuBridges tries to be an easy-to-do-business kind of company,” Parris says. “One area where we shine is the installation itself. As opposed to old days, where you might have had one CD for IBM i, and a different CD for Windows or Linux, we only ship one CD, and the installation process is the same for every platform.”
There is one slight caveat for the System i: nuBridges decided to go the PASE route, with the product running through i OS platform’s AIX runtime environment instead of running natively on i OS. However, this is the same method that other MFT vendors have taken to support the platform, Parris says, and it doesn’t limit the functionality of the product.
nuBridges will continue to sell, support, and enhance its dedicated i OS MFT product, called Exchange for i. Companies that only need to exchange files among Power Systems or System i servers would be good candidates for this product. Of course, many companies require an MFT product that can move files among different platforms–that is one of the main points of buying an MFT product in the first place. But nuBridges believes there’s a market for the product nonetheless.
One of the most impressive features of Exchange 3.0 is the GUI. Built on Web 2.0 technologies, the product aims to simplify the bulk file transfer processes so workers no longer need the assistance of an IT professional or programmer to get their work done.
The new GUI is cleaner and simpler. “We’re trying to make things intuitive, and take the IT guys out of the equation,” Parris says. “You don’t have to be an IBM i guru per se to be able to use the product. You just have to be able to navigate a simple UI. . . . For IBM i customers, it’s going to be a massive difference from their old green screen.”
One early adopter of the product was able to eliminate more than 90 different file transfer scripts thanks to Exchange 3.0, Parris says. Some of those scripts were more than 15 years old, which complicated efforts to modify and maintain them for changing business processes. Other customers should find similar results, he says.
Exchange 3.0 introduces a concept called “transactioning” that should help with companies’ efforts to move away from script-based file transfers.
“What transactioning does is allow you to replace the scripts with transactions, which can be just about any thing,” Parris says. “It could be pick you up a file, move it, rename it, and load it into this other system. And transactions can be chained together, so at the end of one transaction you can start another transaction. It enables our customers to reduce their cost by eliminating scripts.”
nuBridges has several different licensing schemes for Exchange 3.0. Customers can be charged based on the number of users, the number and power of servers, or the volume of transactions processed, and whether they involve internal or external connections. The company also will run Exchange 3.0 for customers as part of a software as a service (SaaS) offering.
Detailed pricing information was not available. For more product information, see www.nubridges.com.