Pulling It Together

New tools unify applications, development environment.

Data and application integration capabilities are essential when an enterprise wants to model and manage its business processes. InterSystems Corp. and Fujitsu Software Corp. look to provide those capabilities with their respective software platforms.

InterSystems, in Cambridge, Mass., this week will introduce its Ensemble platform, which incorporates an integration server, an application server, an object database and a unified development environment.

For its part, Fujitsu, in San Jose, Calif., last week released upgrades to its Interstage platform for development and integration. The platform provides Business Process Manager XML search capabilities and an XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) Processor component.

Providing a unified platform is a crucial concept for integration, according to Chet Kapoor, vice president and general manager of the WebLogic Integration group at BEA Systems Inc. The company, also in San Jose, believes it got a jump on its integration rivals, which include IBM, by rolling out in August an integration platform that includes several modules that all run under the same run-time.

"Its not about just having all the right components; its about having the right components all on the same platform," Kapoor said.

BEA plans to add to the application server, portal, integration engine and security components of its WebLogic 8.1 integration offering with new manageability capabilities, Kapoor said. He would not say when those new features would be available.

Meanwhile, InterSystems and Fujitsu are playing catch-up.

InterSystems Ensemble platform enables businesses to quickly implement new software, orchestrate processes and integrate data, officials said. By providing consistent object representation of disparate programming models and data formats, Ensemble is geared toward the development of composite applications—applications that cull data and applications from an enterprises existing IT infrastructure.

For integration and development, the platform features a unified graphical, XML and code-based environment that enables process modeling and automation. At the same time, a universal service architecture provides consistent object representation of programming models and data formats. This enables technologies such as .Net; Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition; Web services; and XML to access legacy data and functionality as reusable components.

Ensembles SQL-compliant object database—InterSystems Caché software—manages and stores metadata, messages and process state information, providing access to both live and previously processed messages for auditing and business activity monitoring, officials said. Integrated management and monitoring components are included for problem diagnosis and debugging.

Separately, Fujitsus Interstage upgrades are designed to facilitate content and business process management as well as Web services. Core products of the suite include Interstage Application Server, Business Process Manager and Portal. Version 6.0 of these products includes new functionality with its XML Search and XBRL Processor modules.

The Interstage XML Search module is a high-speed search feature for XML data that allows queries to XML data, reports and documents—unlimited by size or location. The XBRL Processor enables the automatic exchange and extraction of financial information across multiple software formats and technologies, officials said.

Enhancements to Business Process Manager include extended process management through the linking of human-based business processes with system-centric processes. Add-ons to Portal include a new collaborative workplace, Windows integration and content customization using Extensible Stylesheet Language.

iJet Travel Intelligence Inc. is fairly dependent on Fujitsus iFlow BPM, a component within Interstage Business Process Manager that enables the private intelligence company to add and change business processes on a dime.

iJet Chief Technology Officer Greg Meyer said he is happy with the Fujitsu software so far and will review the entire integrated platform.

"Im looking forward to the integration platform," said Meyer, in Annapolis, Md. "It could be that we maintain our BEA and Oracle [Corp.] relationships, or it could be that we ditch everything and focus on Fujitsu."