A small data integration company is developing an innovative way to track business process transactions as they move across a network.
Cast Iron Systems Inc., a 4-year-old company with about 36 customers, offers an integration router that can be an add-on to major EAI (enterprise application integration) systems. The Cast Iron Application Router provides a lightweight integration device for connecting, transforming and routing data, as well as events, from one system to another.
Currently rolling out the 3.1 version of the application router, Cast Iron CEO Fred Meyer is working to make the vendors long-term vision a reality. That vision includes providing the ability to string the routers together to provide transaction visibility and to verticalize the routers themselves.
"The real vision is to build a complete network, the Application Network, that lies on top of an existing IP network and allows people to see business-level objects," said Meyer, in Mountain View, Calif. "What we can do with the router is see actual business transactions in the network and see whats wrong with them."
Meyer said that because business processes are "scattered all over" the place, transactions are not just about talking to a database, but rather its become a process of stringing together several processes along a network. "As business processes spend more time on the network, the network itself is not business-friendly," he said. "If you really want to make sure everything that leaves your SAP [AG] system in New York winds up in Tokyo, you have to be able to watch it [and determine] where its going, where it came from and what it means."
Charles Soto, director of global integration services and solutions delivery with Motorola Inc., believes Cast Iron is on to something with the Application Network.
"Were [integrating] with WebMethods [Inc.], but its very heavyweight," said Soto in Phoenix. "What we learned is our customers would call us and say, Hey, I lost my order status, and there was no way for us to track that."
Soto uses WebMethods middleware platform for the companys primary integration projects and Cast Irons router as an augmentation to that system for "EAI light" projects such as database integrations or flat-file transfers.
In addition to developing the Application Network, Cast Iron is working with system integration partners to build vertically oriented versions of its integration router. A systems integrator in India, for example, is developing a telecommunications billing appliance, according to Meyer.
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