[This isn't 100% accurate, but that's what makes the game
Startups aim to move apps integration to network layer
By Michael Vizard and Tom Sullivan
PHOENIX -- TWO startup companies that hope to create application integration
frameworks at the network level made their case at the PC Forum conference
held here this week.
KnowNow, based in Menlo Park, Calif., and OpenDesign, in Bellevue, Wash.,
both plan to roll out ambitious efforts intended to move responsibility for
integrating applications away from the application layer in favor of network
According to executives at both companies, this software-router approach
makes more sense because it allows them to ascertain what type of data is
coming into the enterprise at the edge of the network, and then provide the
OpenDesign's acting CEO Edward Jung, who prior to founding OpenDesign was
one of the lead developers of Microsoft.NET, said that his company's
platform will be capable of abstracting the logic in any given application
in the enterprise. The OpenDesign platform can then represent that
application to another application at the edge of the network. In contrast,
most EAI (enterprise application integration) tools today rely on logic
running on the same server as the application they need to integrate.
At present, Jung, who counts former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold among his
backers, said the company expects to roll out its first pilot projects later
Meanwhile, KnowNow is taking a slightly different approach in that its
software sits at the edge of the network and examines network traffic. Based
on that analysis, its platform, currently in beta, can then prioritize that
traffic toward the specific server where a given application resides.
Both companies are examples of an emerging school of thought that sees the
network layer as the most efficient place to integrate applications.
"There are some logical components that can be moved into the network," said
Jon Derome, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston.
Derome continued that such functionality includes data translation and
transformation, security, and guaranteed messaging.
"Moving integration to the network won't resolve the whole EAI model," he
Derome added that the integration market is changing, and companies such as
Vitria, Tibco, and WebMethods are becoming more about business process
management and less about data transportation. Meanwhile, companies such as
Cisco, Sun Microsystems, and Microsoft also are working toward including a
certain degree of integration intelligence in middleware.
Michael Vizard is editor in chief at InfoWorld. Tom Sullivan is a senior
writer at InfoWorld.
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