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IPlanet simplifies its integration story

Sun-Netscape joint venture iPlanet has consolidated some of its integration products to make life a bit simpler.

Sun-Netscape joint venture iPlanet has consolidated some of its integration products to make life a bit simpler; it has also upgraded its messaging queuing and other integration elements to support the standards that will underpin Web services. Sanjay Sarathy, director of product marketing for iPlanet, says this is evidence of Sun's Web services vision, called Sun Open Net Environment (Sun ONE), filtering into its integration products as it already has done with its application products.

There are currently seven integration-related products under the iPlanet application and integration services banner, and this move will cut that by one. The main change is the combination of ECXpert and TradingXpert into a new product called Integration Server, B2B Edition. Integration Server also has a new EAI Edition, and Message Queue for Java has been upgraded.

Application server companies, of which iPlanet is one, are starting to find that customers want something more than just an application development and deployment environment for their application server dollars. As a consequence, they are enhancing the integration side of application development.

The leading application integration vendor in terms of sales is generally accepted to be IBM, which also has the WebSphere application server, followed by integration specialists like Tibco and WebMethods. But other Java application server vendors, such as BEA, are trying to muscle in on this space as well, as is iPlanet. Sarathy, however, says iPlanet does not see BEA in competitive situations as far as integration is concerned; he positions iPlanet's products squarely against IBM.

The new EAI version of Integration Server, which used to be the Forte Fusion product, introduces support for the Web services messaging standard SOAP (simple object access protocol). Also, iPlanet has decoupled user validation from the business process engine and made it LDAP-compliant, so changes can be made to user profiles without having to alter the business process as well. The company's existing support for XSLT (extensible style sheet language transformations) has been beefed up with the integration of Forte's development environment so that XSLT transformations can be plugged straight into Forte.

The B2B edition of Integration Server consolidates Netscape's technology for bringing together trading communities and enabling the creation and exchange of XML documents; TradingXpert did the former and ECXpert the latter. Sarathy says that they usually ended up working together, so it made little sense to keep them as separate products. Also new is support for JMS (Java Message Service), which will become an essential requirement for J2EE compliance in the next version.

IPlanet has also decided to bundle Message Queue, its message-oriented middleware product, with both the EAI and B2B editions of Integration Server, as well as selling it separately. The first version of Message Queue was only launched in June, but the new 2.0 version adds JMS support as well as AS2 support; AS2 is a standard for encrypting email over HTTP.

Message Queue 2.0 is out now for $4,000 per CPU. Integration Server, B2B Edition, comes in late September, starting at $100,000. The EAI Edition is available now, starting at $40,000.

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