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Transactional integrity is one of the foremost problems with regard to any e-mail system: A user simply can’t be guaranteed that the message that he or she has dispatched will actually be delivered. A number of initiatives, the Business Quality Messaging Forum (BQM Forum, www.bqm.org
) foremost among them, have cropped up within recent years to attempt to define an interoperable standard for secure, reliable message delivery across heterogeneous networks. With the development of version 2.0 of Posta, Tumbleweed Software Corp. (Redwood City, Calif., www.tumbleweed.com
) unveils a proprietary technology that purports to guarantee the delivery of messages and files between both individual users and organizations.
"The Internet is great in terms of ubiquity, and anything I send will get there 95 or 96 percent of the time," says Bill Moroney, managing director of the BQM Forum. "But if I'm doing purchase orders or I'm consolidating data, I need to rely on the fact that I'm getting every message and that I'm getting it only once."
Enter the need for a product such as Posta, software designed to ensure the reliable delivery of messages or files to any individual or organization with access to e-mail and a Web browser. While the BCM Forum and other such like-minded initiatives are still ironing out the wrinkles of an interoperable standards-based messaging infrastructure, Tumbleweed Software has made a case for its proprietary Posta software by entering into partnerships with big name organizations such as Pitney Bowes Inc. (Stamford, Conn., www.pb.com) and the United Parcel Service (UPS, Atlanta, www.ups.com).
Pitney Bowes, for example, is a big player in the mail and messaging management market, but according to Judy Martin, vice president of strategic marketing with Pitney Bowes, the company required additional assurances in the sometimes arbitrary world of electronic messaging.
"Use of e-mail has exploded," Martin says. "However, despite its popularity, there is a good deal of concern about its privacy and security. That's why we are working with Tumbleweed to provide a leading-edge service that will handle everything from ad hoc document deliveries to bulk mail online." Both Tumbleweed Software and Pitney Bowes expect that iSend, a new end-to-end Web-based delivery service, jointly produced by both companies and based on Tumbleweed's Posta, will allow businesses to send and track the delivery of files securely and reliably.
Where an initiative such as the BQM Forum hopes to leverage existing messaging middleware products such as the MQSeries from IBM Corp., the FalconMQ Bridge from Level 8 Systems Inc. (New York, www.level8.com) and the Microsoft Message Queue Server from Microsoft Corp., Tumbleweed Software’s Posta is a proprietary solution that is composed of several packages.
The Posta Server, the foundation of the Posta infrastructure, is a scalable, CORBA-based platform built on top of Tumbleweed’s Posta API. Posta Central is a Web application that allows users to use Web browsers to send deliveries, track documents and manage mail lists. Users can also opt to deploy the Posta Desktop, an optional client application that allows the sender to drag and drop files into the Posta application and send them from local applications. Administrators can also use the Posta Admin, a Web application that provides control over the server from a Web browser interface.
UPS has partnered with Tumbleweed Software to offer UPS Online Courier, a solution similar to the iSend infrastructure. Accordingly, UPS leverages Tumbleweed Software’s Posta product to ensure the delivery of files and messages to anyone with access to e-mail and a Web browser.
The Online Courier technology has saved one organization both time and money. "I am constantly sending electronic files to outside agencies," says Frank Miller, graphic systems administrator with S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. (Racine, Wisconsin, www.scjohnsonwax.com), manufacturer of household supplies such as S.C. Johnson Wax. "With Online Courier, the files arrive safely and in the original format. The service has saved us a lot of time by eliminating the effort normally needed to resend files by e-mail."