The iPlanet division of the Sun Microsystems/Netscape Communications alliance is pushing integration, not just for its customers, but also within its product line.
The result is middleware that shares underlying components, works together better and generates a smaller footprint on the hardware server, said Sanjay Sarathy, director of iPlanet product marketing.
IPlanet Integration Server Business-to-Business (B2B) Edition now includes two previously independent Web-oriented applications, iPlanet ECXpert and iPlanet TradingXpert, for handling transactions and building online trading exchanges, Sarathy said.
Sarathy emphasized that, despite the growing functionality of Integration Server, it is designed to work with a variety of Web servers and applications servers. "Were not saying, Buy this big, monolithic software product line. Were both integrated and integrate-able" into varied environments, he said.
The iPlanet B2B Integration Server includes support for the Java Messaging Service protocol. Suns implementation of JMS, iPlanet Message Queue, which came out in June, is now built into Integration Server so that Java applications may exchange data through messaging across a network and communicate with the legacy applications needed in transactions.
Integration Server can now execute XML translations and supports the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) for transmitting data or coded instructions in an XML envelope. It also has a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory for identifying users and granting them privileges.
The Integration Server is now more closely linked to the iPlanet application server and shares some underlying components, such as the LDAP directory, traffic management, clustering and messaging, Sarathy added.
"The middleware market is split into application servers and integration servers," noted Kevin McIsaac, Meta Groups program director of server infrastructures. "Through 2003, these separate markets will coalesce," he said.
One user of the new B2B Integration Server is mattress supplier Sealy. Jeff Wilhoite, Sealys B2B implementation manager, said his company installed Integration Server, and in five months automated its manual customer order transactions and supplier communications. Instead of data entered into laptops or received in faxes and phone calls, Sealy now captures information over the Internet.
The expanded iPlanet server "allows us to connect and transmit data using current communications protocols, as well as integrate with our existing internal systems," Wilhoite said. Building the connections and managing them internally "would be very involved and cumbersome," he added.
IPlanet Integration Server B2B Edition will be available in late September at a price of $100,000. A more limited Enterprise Application Integration version, which concentrates on ties to legacy applications, is available for $40,000. It has been upgraded to support SOAP and a business process management engine, Sarathy said.