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FusionWare: Reducing Complexity Through FusionWare Integration Server
FusionWare: Reducing Complexity Through FusionWare Integration Server

Click here for more information on FusionWare


There must be 50 ways to Web services-enable a legacy system, and at least 500 ways for consultants to make money off companies attempting to do so. While I don't mean to knock the consulting profession (I am one myself, after all), there are some things companies should be able to do on their own. That includes extending new data sources to applications, or bringing on new electronic trading partners. I've heard accounts of companies taking up to six months trying to agree on formats and protocols before exchanging purchase orders and acknowledgements - an exercise that must have put many a consultant's child through college.

FusionWare comes to market with more of a "do-it-yourself" philosophy in mind. The company, with roots deep within the non-relational multivalue database space, understands what it takes to open up a legacy system. After a history of developing and supporting legacy databases and systems FusionWare knows how to stay focused on business needs, knowing that clients have no stomach for getting mired in the technical details. FusionWare is now bringing this business sensibility to a broader market - companies with any database that needs to quickly establish Web services links without breaking the bank.

FusionWare Integration Server, released in June, seeks to offer Web services solutions to businesses that don't have the time, talent, or money to learn Web services. FusionWare itself calls this a "very pragmatic" target segment - business before technology. These organizations may have a heavy investment in legacy systems, but limited expertise in newer technologies such as .NET, Java, XML, and Web services. I recently had the opportunity to talk with CEO Alan Davis, and as he puts it, "A non-programmer, or somebody who's more of an analyst than programmer, can put together a business process workflow and implement an application with very little training."

Is the product as easy as they say? I took a test run of FusionWare, and found it to be a fairly intuitive Web services building environment, much like Visual Basic. The tool automatically identifies documents, and includes an XPath generator, query builders, XSLT wizards, and backend adapters. The product comes in three components: FusionWare Designer, a Windows-based integrated development environment; FusionWare Server, the deployment server; and FusionWare Administrator, for monitoring and managing the Web services environment.

FusionWare takes data from any data source (and they do mean any source), converts it to XML, and redeploys it to the Web service being invoked. FusionWare executives point out that many companies these days are likely to find their hands forced by trading partners. Being able to take mulitple partners' proprietary documents and process them internally in a standard way is no problem with FusionWare.

With the FusionWare Designer, users do not actually have to write code; they simply fill in a form, and are prompted to include the proper data elements and services. The Designer then generates the code for them. The workflow may involve identifying data within a proprietary database, and making the data available to the application at hand. When additional trading partners come online, the program already provides the structure and format and so a simple transformation easily performed with the XSLT wizard is all that is needed to add a new partner to the system. The entire process takes a few minutes.

 

FusionWare executives stress that no application or database type is beyond their grasp. The solution "connects to any database, connects to COM, connects to Java, and connects to Web services you might already have or that your partners might already have," says Davis.

FusionWare offers a different approach from many of the legacy-to-Web services solutions currently on the market. Many integration environments require a robust middleware tier - consisting of a separate Windows, Linux, or Unix server that can run replicated business processes while accessing back-end data repositories. Other vendors offer tools that will either wrapper or recompile libraries of legacy code into Java or a .NET-friendly language. Such approaches, of course, are non-trivial tasks for any IT shop. FusionWare's server - with a mere three-megabyte footprint - can be plopped on any connected server and be put to work.

For more information, visit www.fusionware.net
For FusionWare NA, Europe & South Africa: +1.949.250.4800 or sales@fusionware.net
For FusionWare Asia-Pacific: +61.2.9485.0200 or info@fusionware.net.au


Click here for more information on FusionWare

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Some people have mentioned that FusionWare may not scale well to the highest enterprise levels, but I don't think that is the point. This is meant to be a solution for organizations that have neither the money or the man power to expose their ERP or data from legacy systems. The large solution has more options available to them, because they have greater resources - they do not need a FusionWare. I think there are a lot of companies that are getting desperate for ways to bring their systems out of the stone-age in order to compete and survive. Think about all the companies that must do this to comply to Sarbanes-Oxley. Think about all the vendors that were forced by Wal-Mart to expose their ERP systems over the next 3 years to keep their business. I think this is a smart platform - I have demoed it out and it does what it says, even if it is still in v. 1. Microsoft and the other big products are only interested in sucking companies onto their platform, not finding a true middleground...

It seems that this product and this article assume that legacy "system" means legacy database. Unfortunately there are legacy systems out there that have quite a bit of business logic already written in languages like COBOL, C++, PL/1, JAVA etc. Web service enabling these class of problem requires more that a tool that can web service enable some DB table and bring that into a workflow.

Also performance requirements can mean that having some central, almost EAI like BPM can be too cumbersome, a single point of failure. and costly to maintain as data definitions change.

From reading this article, and to be fair that's all I've done, I'd say that Fusionware will do very well solving problems for small to medium sized companies but will never scale or meet the means of high perfomance mission critical type systems.

A product that Web service enable legacy applications whatever their platform, whatever middleware might exist (CORBA, MOM, J2EE, CICS), and that requires scalability and high perframnce needs a different type of product. This product will also need to incorporate enterprise service capabilities like security, transactions and high availability among other qualtities. I won't pitch such a product here though I believe one exists.




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