Compaq's Digital GlobalSoft upgrades EDI software

Compaq's subsidiary in India, Digital GlobalSoft Ltd., has introduced a new version of its electronic data interchange (EDI) software, called DEC/EDI. The new version 4.0 of DEC/EDI supports clustering and EDI traffic over the Internet, as well as XML (Extended Markup Language) mapping and Web-based management of the EDI system.

Although it was expected that EDI would be overwhelmed by Web-based alternatives, EDI users still find the technology useful. DEC/EDI users were however feeling the need to use the Internet as a low-cost alternative to value-added networks (VANs).

"Seamless support for the Internet world was fast becoming a glaring omission within the product," said Hennie Marais, EDI project manager at the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service, a large user of DEC/EDI that has new EDI projects under development.

"Internet support in the new version will greatly assist us in that 90 percent of our current EDI traffic is sent by trading partners over the Internet to our X.400 service provider, from where it is converted into an X.400 message for us," added Marais. "Internet support will eliminate the need for this extra link. We all realize that XML is the way forward so we really need this functionality as a matter of urgency, although EDI will be with us for many years to come."

The DEC/EDI software currently runs on Compaq's OpenVMS and Tru64 Unix operating systems on the server side, but Digital GlobalSoft plans to introduce a Windows 2000 version as well, according to Tirumala Srinivasa Ushasri, chief technology officer of the company. DEC/EDI already supports a variety of operating systems at the client end, including Windows NT, Solaris, and Linux.

DEC/EDI was acquired by the Bangalore-based Digital GlobalSoft from Compaq Computer Corp. in May this year, as part of Compaq strategy to sell off some of its low-revenue products to Digital GlobalSoft, in which Compaq holds 51 percent of the equity. Compaq sold also off this month its archive management solution for the enterprise, Compaq Archive, to Digital GlobalSoft.

The new version of DEC/EDI was developed by Digital GlobalSoft. "We are in a better position to focus on DEC/EDI than Compaq," said Ushasri. All of DEC/EDI's 150 customers worldwide were Compaq customers that were transferred to Digital GlobalSoft after the sale of the product. Digital GlobalSoft now has an opportunity to also sell its own software and consultancy services into these accounts, according to Bala Mahadevan, head of new business initiatives at the company.

The new version of DEC/EDI also introduces clustering capability. "The implementation of cluster server support on Tru64 Unix provides a higher level of availability, scalability and performance," said Suresh Ramachandran, program manager for DEC/EDI at Digital GlobalSoft. DEC/EDI can be configured to share work across multiple systems within the TruCluster, Compaq's clustering technology. When used with Parallel Server or Real Application Cluster technologies from Oracle Corp., it provides automated fail-over in the event of the failure of one or more systems in the cluster, according to Ramachandran. DEC/EDI version 4.0 also comes with clustering support on OpenVMS using the operating system's Intra Cluster Communication (ICC) calls.

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