SurroundTech Helps Agilysys Move Hotel App to Azure Cloud
July 27, 2010 Alex Woodie
The forthcoming release of Agilysys‘ new Guest360 property management system on Microsoft‘s Azure cloud computing platform was made possible in part through development tools from Surround Technologies. And while SurroundTech’s Accelerator products are being used on the Windows platform in this case, there’s nothing stopping users from doing similar things with the IBM i platform.
Surround Technologies is a New Jersey software firm that creates programming tools aimed at simplifying development, primarily in Windows and IBM i environments. Its flagship Accelerator product handles much of the low-level grunt work that goes into writing sophisticated applications and interfaces, thereby enabling developers to concentrate on solving high-level business problems within LANSA‘s Visual LANSA or Microsoft’s Visual Studio development environments.
Guest360, which recently became generally available after more than two years of development, was largely developed in Visual LANSA. According to last week’s announcement from SurroundTech, Agilysys will use the Accelerator for Visual LANSA product to prepare Guest360 for deployment on public and private cloud platforms, including Microsoft’s highly touted Azure cloud platform.
Lee Paul, CEO of SurroundTech, says the support for service oriented architecture (SOA) concepts within the “architectural patterns” of Accelerator laid the basis for Agilysys to move forward with a cloud deployment model for Guest360.
Paul says Agilysys picked the SurroundTech for several reasons, including the capability to incrementally update the tooling without drastically affecting the overall solution. “The ability to run an ongoing architecture project, parallel to product development, to stay current with technology was a significant factor in Agilysys teaming with SurroundTech in the first place,” Paul says in an e-mail exchange with IT Jungle.
Guest360’s use of MS .NET version 3.5 will be helpful in adapting the application to the cloud. However, some refactoring will need to be done, in particular to support the application’s Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and mobile user interfaces. “The benefit of the standardization and consistency of Accelerator is that refactoring can happen in an agile manner, with swiftness and precision,” Paul says.
Tina Stehle, senior vice president and general manager of Agilysys’ Hospitality Solutions Group, applauded SurroundTech’s tools. “Hospitality customers are looking for agility and the ability to meet new business demands quickly,” she says in a press release. “Working with Surround Technologies helps by giving Agilysys added flexibility in how we deliver our solutions.”
SurroundTech is planning to launch two new versions of its Accelerator tools this fall that take advantage of some of the advances that are planned for the Guest360 project. Accelerator for .Net Version 2.0 and Accelerator for Visual LANSA 8.0 are scheduled for release in September.
While the Guest360 project involves Windows, there is no reason why other vendors could not use SurroundTech’s tools to get IBM i products onto a cloud. “IBM i would be a tremendous platform to establish a cloud,” Paul says. “It was built for it.”
But, as Paul says, the devil is in the details. A modernized IBM i or i5/OS application would be fairly easy to move to the cloud. But an older application that contains logic embedded in the green- screen user interface would be more difficult. In the case of an older IBM i application, “our partnership with looksoftware is a vital piece of the solution, Paul says, referring to the Australian software developer, with whom SurroundTech recently collaborated to develop the .NET-based re:new product.