Sybase preps 'Ohio' platform

Sybase Inc. is readying the first major technology release, based on its 2001 acquisition of middleware player New Era of Networks (NEON), that is targeted at the higher-level stack layer of BPI (business process integration).

Code-named Ohio, the new integration suite is currently in the hands of select customers and will be generally available during the first quarter 2003, said Mike Gordon, senior manager of integration product management at Sybase.

Ohio features a combination of Sybase's Ebiz Integrator with its Process Server, completing a desired marriage of EAI tools and BPM software, said Gordon. "We're offering more functionality than we did before, and it can all be viewed from the perspective of the business process instead of just the message level," said Gordon.

The blended environment serves both as a design tool for creating business process models and a runtime platform on which processes are executed, he said. For example, the suite is designed to let users model process interactions between different applications, J2EE components, Web services, and humans.

"We think this takes us a major step forward from being about connecting applications only, to allowing customers to take a holistic view of business process integration and [workflow]," Gordon said.

BPI is a hot market among EAI and middleware vendors who see it ranking high on the list of IT executives looking to optimize their infrastructures around business-oriented goals, according to industry analysts. BPI also puts some of the control over integration initiatives into the hands of the business analysts within an organization, who are in the best position to define processes.

With an eye on both IT and business users, Sybase has developed a new Java-based IDE and user interface within Ohio that imbues the products with a unified look and feel, according to Gordon.

In addition, Ohio sports a beefed-up version of Sybase's BizTracker product for real-time business activity monitoring, alerts, and notifications.

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