RealTime IT News

Cast Iron Gets Specific

Cast Iron Systems took its first steps into more application-specific markets for its integration hardware with the announcement of a version of the company's integration appliance has been designed specifically for Salesforce.com users.

The decision to target fast-growing salesforce.com, the leading proponent of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) movement, fits well with Cast Iron's new pricing model. The company's hardware typically sells for more than $100,000, but it's offering the salesforce.com unit on a lease basis, starting at $3,000 per month or higher, depending on the configuration. Cast Iron said it plans to expand to other specific application areas as well.

"We like the subscription model and Salesforce customers are used to paying by the drip," Simon Peel, vice president of marketing at Cast Iron, told internetnews.com. "Our advantage has always been that the knowledge is in the box. For Salesforce customers there's no coding or a complicated set of tools, just simple point-and-click menus to get at their back end system, whether that's Oracle, SAP or Lawson. We also let them synchronize that data in either direction in and out of Salesforce."

In addition to those just mentioned, Cast Iron supports other major enterprise applications and endpoints including JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Sybase, MS-SQL Server, Informix, DB2, flat-files (FTP/HTTP), XML and Web services.

All three of Cast Iron's appliances, the iA2500-SF, iA3000-SF and iA3000HA-SF, are available as AppExchange-certified appliances (distinguished by the "SF" designation). AppExchange is a marketplace of on-demand applications built for Salesforce.com and run by the company. salesforce.com supported Cast Iron in the development of the iA3000-SF and has deployed the product for its own IT integration initiatives.

"Application and data integration are essential if companies are to take full advantage of the on-demand Business Web," said Cindy Warner, senior VP of global integration services, salesforce.com. "Our partnership with Cast Iron Systems ensures companies complete these integrations in a matter of days without writing code and begin reaping the rewards of an on-demand enterprise faster than ever before."

Cast Iron is also adding another wrinkle with the salesforce.com release; free implementation.

"We make this outrageous claim that you can integrate to Oracle and others in less than a week, so we thought we ought to be able to prove it on our dime," said Peel. "Our guys will come to your facility, ask what data you want to move, what rules you want to implement and we'll walk you through the point-and-click implementation."

Frank Kenney, research director at Gartner, said integration appliances like Cast Iron's are less expensive than full-blown integration suites and have other advantages.

"Appliances are able to support very high throughput and are often neutral with respect to operating system, middleware and application server," said Kenney.