Were you to have been asked that question some years ago, the answer most likely would have bee “I’m not sure”....
ETI-NET – HCOM for NonStop X; networking support now proven with uLinga!
The NonStop community has known about ETI-NET for many decades. ETI-NET has been a presence at user events worldwide where its worldwide leadership in solutions providing backup of mission critical data to those enterprises that never stop was evident. ETI-NET has also developed the software solution that supports NonStop access to modern storage tachnologies even as it developed software solutions that allowed NonStop applications to access databases resident on IBM mainframes.
While the picture above depicts an operator working very closely with the metal, most IBM mainframes sit in mostly light-out bunkers where enterprises continue to keep tabs on portions of the enterprises most-critical data. Long ago it was a common thought that mainframes would be phased out and in the era of distributed computing, perhaps the most famous of all predictions was that of Stewart Alsop, who in his InfoWorld column of March 1991 wrote, “I predict that the last mainframe will be unplugged on March 15, 1996.” Two plus decades later, mainframes are still home to business-critical data and it is the databases that run on mainframes that are needed to be accessed by real time transaction processing on NonStop systems.
The connections between NonStop systems and mainframes are as varied as they are common. Whether it’s file transfer, access to files and databases or simply one form of pass-through or another, NonStop systems have enjoyed a rich variety of networking options. There is little doubt within the IT industry that it was the strength of these networking options for NonStop that played a major role in NonStop essentially assuming the role of intelligent front-end in preference over other mainframe offerings. Among those NonStop vendors with historical ties to leveraging the networking options has been ETI-NET whos HCOM product offering has seen wide acceptance among enterprises, including among financial insitutions. While ETI-NET has proved to be the premier provider of backup solutions and has provided solutions to better allow NonStop servers to access the most modern storage technologies with HCOM, ETI-NET also provides a solution for online access between NonStop and the mainframe.
“For many years now, HCOM has been the preferred switching software allowing online transaction interaction between NonStop applications, including Pathway and BASE24, and applications running under the oversight of major TeleProcessing (TP) subsystems including CICS, IMS/DC and even CA’s IDMS/DC,” said ETI-NET COO, Sylvain Tétreault. “The need arose quite simply because it made life simpler for the mainframe developers as with HCOM, there was no need to make any changes on the mainframe. It simply all worked with the product we developed for NonStop.”
Not only does HCOM not require any changes to be made to code running on the mainframe, “but in supporting flows in the opposite direction that being, transactions originating on the mainframe needing access to NonStop, then no changes are needed of the software running on NonStop.” Furthermore, a quick read of the ETI-NET web site page for HCOM, highlights how “HCOM lets users focus their attention on application development without concern for intersystem communications complexity. Databases may be accessed simultaneously in both retrieval and update modes across both environments.”
With shipments of the new NonStop X systems ramping up as wider customer acceptance is realized – NonStop X represent the systems based on the Intel x86 architecture – the former product from NonStop focused on networking between NonStop and the mainframe, SNAX, is no longer supported. Following an extensive review of possible candidate partner offerings, the NonStop team elected to move forward with the uLinga product developed by Infrasoft and sold to date by its sales partner, comforte. With the decision to move forward with uLinga on NonStop X HPE will be selling this product from off the HPE NonStop X price book. The main point of difference between SNAX and uLinga has been the move to support IP networks even as the SNAX APIs continue to be supported.
“With uLinga, HCOM customers that are planning to move to NonStop X systems don’t have to worry about SNA,” said Tétreault. “uLinga will address that totally transparent to HCOM.” Today, HCOM continues to work with CICS, IMS and IDMS and “following extensive testing, we have certified HCOM with uLinga on NonStop and to date, we have a customer that is already up and running with HCOM interacting with a mainframe IMS application.” While it is still very early days for virtualized NonStop (vNS), since both traditional NonStop on NonStop X and the virtualized NonStop software-only offering are based on the L-Series operating systems “we don’t anticipate anything preventing future HCOM users from deploying the HCOM solution on vNS.”
Should your plans include moving to NonStop X and today you rely upon HCOM, then should you have any questions about HCOM and uLinga, ETI-NET would welcome a chance to talk with you – just call us or send us an email; we look forward to hearing from you!