Lawson Settles on Websphere

Lawson Software is modernizing its architecture by adding support for IBM's WebSphere and bolstering integration capabilities.

Lawson Software Inc. is modernizing its architecture by adding support for IBMs WebSphere and bolstering integration capabilities.

The company will announce this week the latest release of its Lawson technology platform, Version 8.1.0, as it looks to move toward an SOA (service-oriented architecture), according to officials. By standardizing on WebSphere, Lawson aims to give users the ability to horizontally scale applications across multiple servers, according to Del Dehn, technology product manager at Lawson, in St. Paul, Minn. Lawson 8.1 supports IBMs WebSphere Application Server Version 5.1.1. A fall release of Lawsons suite will support WebSphere Application Server Version 6.0.

Chance Veasey, vice president of operations at NetASPx Inc., beta tested Version 8.1 as both a Lawson user and a managed service provider. He is pleased with the standardization on IBMs application server.

"Prior to this, Lawsons development team had their own middleware and no capabilities to have multiple application servers per instance," said Veasey in Minneapolis. "So we and the rest of the Lawson base were limited to not having redundancy or load balancing between servers. We invested a lot to build Oracle [Corp.s] RAC [Real Application Clusters], for cluster capability, and now were able to achieve that high availability on the database side and on the application server level as well."

The 8.1 releases Web tier component makes extensive use of Java servlets and servlet technology, which enhances performance, including transactional speeds, throughout Lawsons technology layers. The new release has added functionality for a roles- and rules-based security system that enables a segregation of duties. Similarly, it supports LDAP repositories for authentication purposes to better enable companies to comply with regulatory mandates by managing users.

Lawson—often mentioned as a prospective competitor to Oracle and SAP AG in the midmarket, although it has yet to close the gap—is also upping the ante with new integration capabilities.

The companys ProcessFlow module now has the ability to include human review and approval in workflows. A new product, called Process Flow Integrator, brings together the new workflow capabilities with more traditional application integration functionality from Lawsons Business Component Integrator. The result: Human workflow input is able to flow between Lawson and non-Lawson systems.

The company plans to go further with its transformation plans.

"Part of Lawsons overall strategy was to use the IBM middleware and technology infrastructure so that Lawson could go down the road of SOA and use IBM products to get down that road," said Dehn.

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Moving forward, Lawson will delve deeper into its relationship with IBM, announced in May, to add more WebSphere integration capabilities for system-to-system integration and provide the ability to do business choreography across those systems, according to Dehn.

As part of its Project Landmark integrated development environment, announced earlier this year, Lawson is also moving down the road of componentizing its applications. During the next several months, it will release its first set of component applications that amount to add-on capabilities to its core ERP functionality.

NetASPxs Veasey said his company was interested in being part of Lawsons beta program for several reasons, including better security in the new version.

"We think our customers are really going to benefit because of the role-based security structure and highly regulated environments, and that will help users meet the demand for regulatory compliance," said Veasey.

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