Cast Iron ups ante on data integration

Cast Iron ups ante on data integration

Application integration vendor Cast Iron Systems this week will release two appliances designed to speed data integration projects and provide high-availability failover.

The company's new Application Router 3000 and Application Router 3000 High-Availability Pair are designed as a simplified data integration alternative to full-blown enterprise application integration (EAI) software.

The two new appliances, which now come in a one-rack-unit box, include additional support for connection to SAP applications, new workflow capabilities, improved Web-based management console and runtime editors, and a new version of the internal Linux-based operating system that company officials say provides five times the performance.

End users are discovering the Cast Iron appliances are up to the task of handling some of their data integration chores.

"We found that we were using the same integration tool for every project," says Charles Soto, director of global integration services and solution delivery for Motorola, which has standardized on WebMethods as its EAI platform. "We were looking for something that we called internally 'integration light.'" Soto found the Application Router and uses it to handle small, simple point-to-point data integration projects. He says WebMethods is used for the heavy lifting, those projects that rely on lots of business processes and workflow.

With Cast Iron, Soto says, Motorola is seeing about a 65 percent cost and time savings on certain projects and says Cast Iron often cuts weeks off the time it takes to complete a project. Today, Motorola runs four Cast Iron appliances that support 30 integrations among 15 applications. In total, the company has about 500 integrations across its network.

"We did an internal study of what we have done over the past three or four years with WebMethods, and about 30 percent of those integrations we could have done with Cast Iron. If we had done that it would have driven our costs and our implementation time way down," says Soto.

The Application Router 3000 includes a set of design tools to map connections between applications. The appliance handles protocol and data format conversion using XML and C++ to optimize performance, workflow and lightweight routing. The router also includes a management console to monitor transactions, guaranteed delivery of messages and failure notifications.

In the 3000 version, Cast Iron has added support for SAP's IDoc format. It also has enhanced its editing tools to support more sophisticated business rules, including improvements to its Business Process Execution Language editor so users can do multiple operations on a single file without having to pass a message through the router multiple times.

Cast Iron also has added new user interface features and new wizards for the runtime editor. The appliance has a new Web console editor, including a configuration management capability that allows users to run multiple integration projects on a single appliance, all with their own dedicated configuration files. The capability allows end users to delegate ownership of specific projects to individual administrators.

The 3000 High Availability version combines two routers into a single unit. While each unit includes internal hardware redundancy, the combination of the two boxes not only allows users to survive the failure of one of the internal hardware mechanisms, but also failure of the entire appliance.

The Application Router 3000 is priced at US$100,000, while the High Availability version is US$175,000.

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