Intelligent agents will appear on the next-generation Internet to link distributed business processes and possibly tighten application integration. Technology leaders who plan to take advantage of this innovation should put the best solutions in place now to manage Web-based access to distributed content.
NextPage tackles the distributed content management challenge with NXT 3. It uses server-based peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to manage content in its original format at its original location. We found that NXT 3 aptly meets the challenge of managing distributed content. It does require the use of a Windows NT (SP 3 or later), Windows 2000, or Solaris (NextPage just shipped a version with support for Solaris) server. NXT 3 is definitely a product worth considering.
NXT 3 consists of seven built-in modules that work together to manage distributed content. The first of these modules is the Content Server, which aggregates and maintains access to content regardless of its format or location. We set up NXT 3 to manage the content activity of a simulated large university with multiple physical locations, departments and users.
The next module, the Content Syndicator, provides the power to manage distributed content. It includes LiveSyndication Protocol, which supports content syndication in a distributed network in real time.
The next three modules, the ODBC Adapter, URLContent Adapter and the File System Adapter, help support access to a wide variety of formats. Overall, these modules do a good job of supporting legacy client/server applications by enabling access to output from those applications in their native formats.
Companies that have already moved to post-PC devices or wireless technologies will find that NXT 3 supports these strategies equally well. If your devices support HTML documents they can easily be displayed. Support is also included for XML-capable devices, Extensible Style Sheets and Cascading Style Sheets.
The sixth module is the Search Engine, which proved very useful during our tests. We particularly liked two supported capabilities: conceptual searching and summarisation. The Search Engine analyses content for key points and can provide related results for users.
The final NXT 3 module is the Security Services component that supports authentication, authorisation and metering. Authentication verifies the requester. Support is included for user name, password, digital certificates and other forms of security.
Although NXT 3 may prove costly for budget-minded CTOs, the integrated modules, good security and easy-to-use tools can be worth the expense. Cash-strapped strategists might also want to investigate the customisation of existing solutions, such as IBM's DB2 or available open-source tools, as possible alternatives.
The bottom line - NextPage NXT 3
Business Case: This server-based peer-to-peer content management system lets IT managers rein in distributed content. Modular and with good security options, NXT 3 provides unified access to content dispersed throughout the enterprise.
Technology Case: Rather than centralise content, NXT 3 allows IT leaders to manage distributed content while leaving it in its native form and in its original location. It supports a variety of content formats and can support on-the-fly content conversion.
+ Easy administration.
+ Good security measures.
+ On-the-fly document conversion.
- Cost prohibitive for some sites.
Cost: Pricing upon application.
Platform(s): Windows 2000, Windows NT SP3 or later, and Solaris. NextPage NXT 3 can be purchased in Australia through ePublish: (02) 9327 3347www.epublish.com.au, www.nextpage.com.