Halcyon Ships Document Management Software, Updates 2 Others
May 8, 2012 Alex Woodie
Halcyon Software yesterday unveiled its Document Management System, a new product designed to streamline the creation, distribution, and archiving of content from IBM i servers and help customers move to a paperless office. The vendor also used the COMMON conference taking place this week in Anaheim, California, as a springboard to launch new versions of its job scheduler and system monitoring tool for the IBM i server.
Document Management System 3.0
Halcyon’s new Document Management System gives users a way to transform raw IBM i spool file content into more refined-looking documents. Once the spool files have been transformed, they can be distributed as a PDF via email, published on the Web as HTML, archived onto a server in a compressed format, or printed on a standard PC printer, or even a high-end AFP printer.
Like most tools in this category, Document Management System includes a graphical overlay designer where companies can create templates that include their names and logos. It also includes a spool file merge engine that combines the raw IBM i output with the templates. Unlike some document management tools, Halcyon’s product includes Web-based GUI for viewing and working with documents.
The software runs “blisteringly fast,” says Donnie MacColl, Halcyon’s director of technical services. “It runs so quickly that you’ll think something hasn’t worked,” he says. It also includes a “full-blown” Web-based GUI that works very well. It was designed specifically for the Web, and doesn’t behave like a “clunky” Web-based add-on as some other products do, MacColl says.
The software will automatically create an index of archived content. Multiple indexes can be linked, which the company says makes users’ searches more efficient. Users can customize their indexes with 15 user-definable indexes, which further aids retrieval. It also supports automatic bundling or segmenting of spooled files, and includes a “sticky note” functionality, which is available in both the Web and green screen UIs.
Document Management System builds on an existing Halcyon product, Spool File Manager, that was recently updated to get around a technical limitation in the IBM i OS relating to the number of documents a spool file can contain. About 70 percent of the product is based on Spool File Manager, with about 30 percent new stuff, MacColl says. The product debuts at version 3 because it’s based on Halcyon’s next-generation development platform, and also to differentiate it from Halcyon’s legacy products, which stop at version 2, he says.
One notable feature of the new software is it’s capability to work with AFPDS, both as an input and as an output. In particular, many IBM i shops have lots of barcodes that are stored in the AFPDS format, but they can’t see the barcodes with a green screen interface.
Advanced Job Scheduler 9.0
Halcyon’s IBM i job scheduler has also been refreshed with several new features. At the top of the list is a new migration facility to help IBM i shops move job schedules maintained in other job schedulers into the Halcyon scheduler. A single command exposes all of the information needed to migrate from one job scheduler to another. While the new facility automates some of the work, there is still a bit of manual work involved in migrating job schedulers.
Halcyon says it has done a fair number of job scheduler migrations over the years, including moving customers from the IBM job scheduler that comes with the IBM i OS, and other third-party schedulers as well. Common reasons an organization will move from the IBM job scheduler is support for applications running on other operating systems, and better control over job dependencies, MacColl says.
Advanced Job Scheduler 9.0 also includes an FTP error trapping feature that will automatically detect any issues that occur with file transfers. Without a way to detect FTP errors, a job scheduler will just blow right through its routines, even if the necessary data hasn’t been moved via FTP, MacColl says.
The updated product also includes a new command list function that allows administrators to set a sequence of commands that can be run within or outside of the job scheduler itself. This new feature could be used to ensure that everything is in order before running the first job of end-of-day processing. This release also includes new service level agreement (SLA) reports.
Systems Operations Suite 4.0
The U.K. software vendor has also updated its IBM i monitoring and automation software, called Systems Operations Suite for IBM i. Key new features in version 4.0 include mobile interfaces and application-specific monitoring templates.
The new mobile device app from Halcyon includes a version of the System Operation Suite dashboard that allows administrators to keep in touch with IBM i server activities anywhere they have a cell signal. The new app works with iOS and Android devices, and is free from Halcyon.
Halcyon has also expanded its library of rule-based templates for specific ERP and high availability (HA) systems, providing easier out-of-the-box setup of application behavior monitoring for popular IBM i environments. Templates are now available for Oracle JD Edwards, Infor LX, XA, and Lawson M3, SAP, Misys Equation, and Misys’ Midas Plus. IBM i-based HA products are also supported, and the company is also looking to provide additional templates for Infor ERP applications.
Halcyon has also built out the suite’s library of templates for achieving auditing best practices across a range of regulations. The rules contained in the templates are grouped into functional areas, and they can be easily activated by simply releasing them into action, the company says. This release also brings new import settings for duplicating System Operations Suite configurations on additional IBM i servers or LPARs, which is useful for disaster recovery or HA.
Halcyon also announced that it has donated $30,000 worth of licenses to Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. The donation gives the college access to two Halcyon products, including Operations Center Suite for monitoring IBM i systems and Network Server Suite for managing AIX, Linux, and Windows servers.
“We are very pleased to be working with Metropolitan Community College to help students in the Information Technology department gain valuable industry skills,” stated Halcyon CEO Lorraine Cousins in a press release. “It is vitally important that future generations of students are educated with the specialized IT knowledge they need to support IBM technology-based businesses and organizations.”