Strategi Now Available

Java-powered connectivity received a push in the right direction this month when Advanced BusinessLink Corp. (Kirkland, Wash.) made available its Strategi emulation, printing and file transfer product. Stratagi was announced in April.

Previously referred to as "Javalin," Strategi is comprised of both server and client components. The server portion runs directly on the AS/400, while the client applet runs within a standard Web browser, as well as other Java-compatible environments. Strategi Client is designed to be diminutive in size at about 80KB, but still features 5250/3270 emulation with an "on-the-fly" GUI, printing and file transfer using a built-in "push technology" engine, and data queue APIs for client/server application development. Another of Strategi’s prominent features is its security, which includes 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic support, digital client certificate authentication and applet provider authentication.

The key to Strategi’s success is its use of Java, which is slowly finding its way into AS/400 shops. In fact, Advanced BusinessLink expects much of its product’s success to come from users unsatisfied with the technology currently available.

"More than 90 percent of Advanced BusinessLink’s sales replace some sort of working competitive offering, something bought to do what a BusinessLink product can do," says Chris Lategan, CEO of Advanced BusinessLink. "Going to the boss and saying ‘I want to buy again what I bought before’ is a tough sell, and yet, nine out of 10 sales come that way, particularly with Strategi."

Lategan expects Strategi will be most popular with users looking to replace more traditional ways of accessing their AS/400s – such as Client Access or home-spun Java solutions. "Strategi is typically introduced to AS/400 environments in small increments, since Java is such a shift from the way many companies are currently set up," he says.

Strategi was not designed to be a competitor to Client Access, according to Lategan, who says, "The market segment that this picks up are those people who want to access the AS/400 from within a Web browser. Client Access requires you to distribute software to everyone who wants to get on your system, whereas Strategi requires you to have a Web browser; you don’t need to pre-issue any software."

"E-Business represents a major market shift toward that model. "It’s very attractive to people because, once you distribute software to be installed, you become the help desk for it," he continues.

One IT specialist for IBM Global Services is quick to endorse Strategi, particularly for its thin-client approach to server access. "Strategi enables quick, easy access from anywhere without the need for middleware. No code is installed on the desktop," says IBM’s Pete Gamble. "As long as you have a browser, you can access an emulation session."

He acknowledges that Strategi’s emulation piece can be used as an alternative to Client Access. "From a pure emulation standpoint, [Strategi] would be the one I’d pick because you don’t need to load anything on the desktop," Gamble says, pointing out that Advanced BusinessLink’s product provides a graphical front end without the overhead of maintaining fat-client workstations.

Gamble, who works for a division of Global Services that recommends help desk processes and products to end users, says Strategi appealed to IBM because the company was looking for a product that could perform dynamic emulation without having to be developed in-house.

Pricing for Strategi begins at $4,000 and is based on concurrent users. Strategi requires V3R7 – or a more recent version – of OS/400.