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Casting a New Integration Spell

Cast Iron Systems is rolling out its second generation of integration appliances after winning over more than 40 customers.

Cast Iron's appliances perform similarly to IBM's integration software, or that of Tibco, WebMethods or Informatica products.

The main difference, according to CEO Fred Meyer, is that Cast Iron cheats by eliminating adapters, or software hooks, which typically don't scale to accommodate new infusions of data. Cast Iron's Application Routers feature all of the things customers need for integration directly in the box without downloading software adapters and other tools.

The Application Router 3000 and the Application Router 3000 High-Availability machines are boxes stacked with software that help companies integrate disparate applications. The boxes are five times as fast as Cast Iron's Application Router 1000, connecting multiple applications and data sources at the network level, Meyer said.

There is also a new user interface that makes the devices much easier to use.

Customers can use one console to view all business-level transactions and resolve issues as they occur. Features include guaranteed message delivery and failure notifications to help with purchase order acknowledgment and content-based data routing.

Unlike traditional high-availability products, which may take weeks to assemble, Cast Iron's machines can be installed in less than one hour. The router ensures that no data is lost and requires little tinkering from IT administrators.

Motorola, British American Tobacco and Solectron make up some of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's top customers.

Meyer said Cast Iron machines shouldn't be confused with the latest craze of application-oriented networking from Cisco, DataPower and Reactivity, among others, Meyer said.

While those machines integrate and accelerate content to "assist" applications, Cast Iron products act right at the application level, so there are no so-called middlemen for software integration. The company's machines go straight to SAP, Siebel or Oracle applications.

"Enterprise application integration is like building your car to drive to work in the morning," Meyer said about traditional software integration.