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Infrasoft adding support for X.25 (over TCP/IP)!
Change may be inevitable but when it comes to supporting modern and open communications, business logic can be preserved – introducing uLinga for XOT
A television advertisement that aired during the morning news show ended with the admonishment that yes, “Change is our destiny!” While this isn’t all that newsworthy for many in the NonStop community living as they are in a fast-changing technology world, for many it’s more of a wake-up call, perhaps even a call to arms! Change is coming! Change is coming! And we can’t stop it. Then again, having seen the roll-out of new products by the HPE NonStop team, the changes surrounding NonStop are being welcomed by vendors and users alike. When it comes to NonStop and communications products, there has been little else other than change ever since NonStop systems found their way onto the floors of data centers around the planet.
Changing communications products is perhaps the best illustration of change not only being our destiny but ultimately, inevitable. To ensure there was connectivity between NonStop and the mainframe, mainframe communications architectures (e.g. SNA) had to be supported and this led to the introduction of SNAX. Focused on the connectivity aspects of communication including the low level protocols to establish sessions and start conversations, it came as a surprise to many that NonStop development was able to match the mainframe offerings to where NonStop systems mimicked more established mainframe products and in so doing accelerated the adoption of NonStop by most of the big Fortune 500 companies of the time.
However, that was the beginning – the drive to virtualize more of communications and to acknowledge that there were likely to be more than one data center led to a change in SNA – less hierarchical, more peer-to-peer – and with the change, came the vendor product, ICE. While NonStop development tackled adding such support to SNAX, in time the ICE product became the dominant SNA peer-to-peer solution for NonStop. But change continues and if SNAX was all about simply getting connected and ICE was all about simplifying how sessions were established, now the changes that are taking place center on better support of open protocols and services.
uLinga has been developed to go beyond SNAX and ICE to make it easy for applications on NonStop to communicate with applications on the mainframe unaware of how the communications have been set up – a NonStop Pathway application can talk to a mainframe CICS application using the same APIs as it always has used but not over an SNA newtwork but over TCP/IP. Not over Token Ring LANs but over Ethernet. And just as importantly, not natively over X.25 but rather, using the same X.25 interfaces, but over TCP/IP as well. This further reduces the complexity as well as the costs. Plugging any device designed for use with X.25 networks into a router that supports X25 end points and what lies underneath becomes irrelevant to the X.25 end point.
This has become an important consideration for many NonStop users. Back in the December, 2016, issue of NonStop Insider, we wrote that at last year’s NonStop Technical Boot Camp we were able to talk with more users from around the world and what struck us is the continuing presence of X.25 networks. For Infrasoft, this is the main reason for attending events like Boot Camp and it became clear following talks with HPE and with users that there was a marketplace for products addressing the needs of X.25 users and also the replacement of SWAN devices. Having already gained experience with supporting X.25, it is now making its way back onto the uLinga product roadmap and development work has commenced.
Fast forward a quarter and we can now advise everyone that work is well under way to complete the support for uLinga for XOT – X.25 over TCP/IP. Change certainly is inevitable and we have seen a lot of change when it comes to communications and networking but keeping the application whole and not forcing changes to any current business logic has always been our goal. It is our expectation that users currently supporting X.25 who are making plans to migrate to NonStop X will find the support for XOT in uLinga for XOT playing a crucial role in any successful migration to NonStop X. And why is this important? As we said, back in that December, 2016, article the HPE NonStop team has dropped support for X.25 and SWANs for NonStop X and is now looking to uLinga to fill in the product gaps in support of X.25. Delivery of uLinga for XOT is now on track for calendar Q2, 2017 – and if you have any questions or need further information than feel free to give our sales agent, comForte or ourselves a call. We look forward to hearing from you.