NuBridges LLC, a major player in electronic data interchange and business-to-business exchange trading, is adopting Linux both internally and as a platform for customers licensing software for use across their own supply chains.
With this weeks rollout of TruExchange EDI-INT for Linux, the Linux platform joins Microsoft Corp.s Windows and IBMs AS2 among the companys alternative operating environments for software licensees, NuBridges CEO Wayne Kellum said during an interview.
Meanwhile, NuBridges has already moved to Linux as part of the framework behind its EDI VAN and B2B hosted exchange networks.
Ultimately, the vendor is looking toward a 100 percent Linux internal deployment, according to Kellum.
First founded as an EDI VAN, NuBridges has branched out into XML-based B2B hosting and software licensing with the rise of the Internet.
A few years ago, many IT directors started moving toward licensing software for running their own B2B hubs, instead of relying on outside B2B hosters or EDI VANs, according to Ben LHeureux, an analyst with Gartner Group Inc.
“Some of them became heroes, because they initially saved their companies a lot of money,” LHeureux said in another interview.
At this point, though, the analyst said he perceives some movement of the industry pendulum in the opposite direction, as some customers who have been licensing B2B software become deterred by the costs and complexities of scaling out the hub.
Customers that now tend to prefer the hosted model to software licensing include small mom-and-pops, as well as larger companies where IT is not a core competency, according to LHeureux.
NuBridges competitor GSX (Global Service Exchange) seems more interested in being a service provider these days, whereas Sterling Commerce Inc. is still “split down the middle,” the Gartner analyst said.
Kellum said NuBridges, too, still has lots of customers in both categories. “Many retailers, for example, still prefer the hosted model for use on their supply chains,” the NuBridges CEO said.
“But we have customers in other industries—such as those using Rosetta.Net—who are doing just fine [using licensed software] on their own.”
NuBridges new EDI-INT for Linux is designed for software licensees who want to run the package on Linux, according to Kellum.
Key features include full tracking and audit capabilities for all inbound transactions, along with the ability to split bulk document files and distribute individual documents to business partners in the partners choice of EDI or XML.
Text and binary file formats are supported, too.
The software can also be integrated with the AS2 proxy services in NuBridges TruExchange Secure Transaction Server and with the TruExchange workflow framework engine.
NuBridges steps toward Linux make a lot of sense, according to some analysts.
“Its nothing revolutionary, really,” LHeureux said. “Linux is being used more and more today, of course.”
Although some companies still use Linux mostly for development and network maintenance, others are implementing the platform for additional types of applications, the analyst said.
As Kellum sees it, Linux is cutting costs and raising scalability for NuBridges, and it can do the same for those customers who want to use the operating system.
“With Linux as a platform, you can reach a broad set of customers at a very low price point,” Kellum said.
“I can send a B2B appliance to a very small business, for instance,” the CEO said. “You just couldnt do that with the iSeries.”