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DataPower Integrates XML, Non-XML Data

Capitalizing on the increased interest in safeguarding the delivery of Web services, security appliance maker DataPower rolled out a new networking device that makes XML and non-XML data usable for mainframes, enterprise service buses (ESBs) and application integration.

The XI50 Integration Appliance supports a range of popular transport protocols, including IBM's MQ Series, and can perform translations between formats other than XML. XI50 can parse and transform arbitrary binary, flat text and XML messages, including COBOL CopyBook, CICS, ISO ASN.1 and EDI.

DataPower makes these tasks possible with its own metadata approach, a patent-pending technology called DataGlue, which employs Data Oriented Programming (DOP) schemas without bottlenecks.

Eugene Kuznetsov, CTO for the Cambridge, Mass., company, said the machine is another piece of the company's application oriented networking (AON) strategy for helping network gear evolve from its present packet-oriented state to becoming driven by applications.

"It's not just a matter of taking the same set of software products and putting them on a server," Kuznetsov told internetnews.com. "There's too much customization required with that approach. The XI50 behaves much more like a network device or router than like a piece of software."

At a higher level, this is consistent with what many programmers have been trying to do in the industry in the last couple of years -- offering distribution of applications through service-oriented architectures (SOAs) and Web services . But Kuznetsov claimed that DataPower is the first to succeed.

"A lot of this has to do with customer demand and uptake," Kuznetsov said. "People are buying into this notion of the application-oriented network and being able to have data routing, transformation and security as a network infrastructure service that's shared between applications, rather than some custom-coded Java approach."

The XI50 maintains DataPower's standard of security and access control. Messages can be securely filtered, validated, encrypted and signed. The appliance also supports security standards such as WS-Security and SAML .

Because of the glut of transactions that banks and brokers need to process, XI50 is already being used by major financial institutions, Kuznetsov said, though he declined to list specific customers.

Available now, the XI50 XML Integration Appliance costs from $50,000 to $75,000, depending on configuration.

The X150 product is the latest in a slew of recent Web services security products to hit the market, with DataPower rivals Reactivity and Oblix making noise in the space of late. Last week, Reactivity launched an integrated security system, while Oblix upgraded its security software.

ZapThink Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer said that while the Web services security space has quite a few vendors contending for market share, the sector is starting to see some differentiation. He said DataPower's differentiator is enabling high-performance security.

"While all the other vendors claim high performance, what makes DataPower unique is that they have produced their own chipset that is focused on specific XML and Web Services acceleration tasks," Schmelzer told internetnews.com. "As a result, one of their other differentiators is their increasing focus on attracting resellers and OEMs to embed their capabilities in other solutions. This is definitely a growing market opportunity for most of the vendors in the space."

But the biggest challenge for DataPower is not overcoming charges from rivals -- it's dealing with an industry where there might not be enough deals to go around. Going forward, the analysts said there will soon be a "tipping point," after which Web services implementations will become ubiquitous, which could help make DataPower products more attractive.



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