bTrade Upgrades MFT Product for IBM i 7.1
January 15, 2013 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops looking for managed file transfer (MFT) products may want to add another vendor to their list of potential suppliers: bTrade. The Southern California company, which has a long history supplying EDI and data integration tools to IBM i and mainframe shops, in December unveiled TDAccess version 3.2.1, a new release of its MFT tool that adds support for IBM i 7.1.
TDAccess is one of several MFT solutions sold by bTrade, and the only one listed on its website that supports IBM i. The software (which runs on all other major operating systems as well) supports the distribution of files and documents in automated and ad hoc fashion over various protocols, including FTP, SFTP, FTPS, AS1, AS2, and AS3.
The product includes encryption and compression routines, can automatically run scripts before and after moving data, and is FIPS 140-2 certified for use in government agencies. The software doesn’t include an EDI translator, but has been used with more than 15 different EDI translators. Command line access is standard.
With TDAccess version 3.2.1, the product has been optimized for IBM i 7.1. Previously, the software ran on i5/OS V5R3. But when customers started running the software on IBM i 7.1, “there was no problem in migration, but they noted some speed concerns,” says Clifton Gonsalves, vice president of development.
In response, bTrade recompiled the software using the latest C++ compilers from IBM, and saw a performance increase of 15 to 20 percent, Gonsalves says. In addition to support for IBM i 7.1, the new release brings support for z/OS version 1.13 and enhanced logging.
The IBM i platform has been strategic to bTrade since the company was founded by two former IBMers in 1990 with the goal of providing secure data exchange solutions for users of the mainframes, AS/400, and RS/6000, bTrade CEO Steve Zapata says. “We have a very healthy iSeries base, everybody from small mom and pop shops to large Fortune 50 companies,” Zapata tells IT Jungle. “They believe in that platform and believe in that product, and it’s running very healthily across different vertical markets, including automotive, manufacturing and distribution, and CPG [consumer processed goods].”
When bTrade was founded, the company’s solutions were focused primarily on providing tools to help process EDI transactions over value added networks (VANs). Since then, the focus has been on delivering more versatile MFT solutions that can support ad hoc delivery of various documents across many different platforms and trading partners.
Any-to-any (A2A) transfers are very important in iSeries and MVS customers,” says bTrade vice president of sales Jerome Mendell. “They want to go more cross-platform than they used to, and that’s really where this type of product excels. We can have the same basic application existing on the iSeries and MVS and the x86 architectures all at the same time. [The different versions] support similar commands so it’s very easy to change data between the platforms.”
In addition to TDAccess, bTrade offers several other solutions, including two MFT products, bTrade Secure Enterprise and bTrade Secure SMB; a hosted MFT offering, and eVision, an EDI and XML translator. The company also sells the data compression capability of TDAccess as TDCommpress.
In the near future, bTrade will be rolling out a new flagship brand that will group all of the company’s products under one umbrella. The company expects to launch this Secure Exchange brand later during the first quarter of 2013. In addition to rebranding, the company will be focusing its development energy on the Java language, although it doesn’t plan on forcing companies to adopt new Java versions of the products.
The IBM i platform will continue to be a critical component of the new Secure Exchange strategy, says Zapata, a former IBM engineer. “We’re a big believer in the iSeries,” he says. “Having been at IBM for so long [15 years], there’s a little bit of a personal bias, if you will. We still have a longtime customers [on the IBM i platform]. Everything we’re doing from a development cycle, is to not only keep pace with, but offer best of breed solutions [on the IBM i platform].”
The name bTrade goes back to 1990, but there are a few twists and turns in the company’s history and names. In 2004 the company was sold to Click Commerce, which had more than $1 billion in revenues at the time. The bTrade name was buried under the Click Commerce name, Zapata said. In 2008, Zapata and other investors bought the bTrade business from Click Commerce, and re-introduced bTrade as a separate company.
bTrade today claims 100,000 installations of its software in many countries. The company has a particularly strong customer base in Mexico and other Latin American countries, particularly Panama.
TDAccess version 3.2.1 is available now. Pricing ranges from about $7,500 to more than $50,000. For more information see the company’s website at www.btrade.com.