August 11, 1997 (Vol. 19, Issue 32)
ActiveWeb middleware ties together disparate systems
By Martin LaMonica
Active Software is staking its claim in the emergent "application
integration" market with an upgrade to its middleware that promises to let
IS managers exchange data among their disparate systems using a
This week, the Sun Microsystems spin-off will release Version 2.0 of
ActiveWeb, a middleware package that acts as an information hub for an
enterprise. The software uses "adapters" that convert data from databases,
packaged applications, or in-house applications and disseminates the data
as events onto the network.
Although the middleware market is increasingly crowded, analysts and beta
testers lauded ActiveWeb.
"What's unique about [Active Software] is that they are bringing a workable
platform for integrating things like mainframes and client/server
applications, whereas before it was rather piecemeal and there was a lot of
rolling your own and hand-coding," said Jeanine Fournier, a senior analyst
at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston.
Competitive publish-and-subscribe middleware products, notably Tibco's
TIB/Rendezvous, deal more with communication infrastructure issues, rather
than the application-to-application services that ActiveWeb's adapters
enable, analysts said. ActiveWeb 2.0, which includes the Visual Java
development tool, extends the database adapters to include DB2 and ODBC as
well as any ActiveX component.
In September, the product will tie to SAP R/3 and PeopleSoft client/server
applications as well as Clarify and Vantive customer-service applications.
ActiveWeb creates an event to pass R/3 data, for example, and users write
Java code to publish the event and line up subscribers, rather than write
directly to R/3 APIs.
Daiwa Securities of America is experimenting with ActiveWeb in an
application to link its front-office and back-office applications, a
function that is currently done by Sybase Replication Server.
"Even when you can make the replication work, which isn't easy, the data
needs some cross-referencing and normalization, which is a massive
problem," said Jeffry Borror, director of IT at Daiwa Securities, in New
Borror concedes that the data conversion from application to application
has to be done by hand.
A starter pack that includes the Information Broker and tools for five
developers costs $75,000.
Active Software, in Santa Clara, Calif., is at (408) 988-041 or
--- Rohit Khare /// MCI Internet Architecture (BOS) /// email@example.com Voice+Pager: (617) 960-5131 VNet: 370-5131 Fax: (617) 960-1009