Butler Group Reviews Enterprise/Access 2000

CNT's Enterprise/Access 2000 is the subject of an independent Technology Audit by the Butler Group.

Enterprise/Access 2000 is a product aimed at the growing demand for system integration. It is actually classed as a Legacy Access Middleware tool, and although it certainly does this, the integration capability is not limited to what might be classed as "legacy systems." It is evident that the post-millennium period has released a pent-up demand for products that can leverage all of the software assets of a company. Thus, Enterprise/Access 2000 is first and foremost a product whose time has come.

What it does, in a manner transparent to the end-user, is to effect a connection between the client and a range of so-called legacy hosts. Unlike some products, which rely on a singular interface, or the use of a Web browser, Enterprise/Access offers the developer the opportunity to capture screen definitions and menu structures, which can be cross-referenced or mapped onto a variety of clients. The Web browser is amongst the choices, but Microsoft Windows clients, both 16- and 32-bit, are available as are Java clients, and UNIX X-motif. These clients can be developed using any one of a wide range of application development tools.

Interestingly, the client may not necessarily be a screen, but another application. A good example of this is CNT's association with Siebel, which has seen CNT create a common interface method which allows the Siebel Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) front-end to use Enterprise/Access as a middleware connection to legacy host data. From a development perspective, much of what Enterprise/Access has to offer is centered on the use of the MapMaker tool. It is here that the structures of menus, and the paths that pass through them, are automatically captured. Services such as performance of single, or multi-step processes, retrieval of data, or the specification of error-handling processes to be invoked under certain conditions, are defined as tasks at this point. These definitions are stored in the Resource Database, a miniSQL (mSQL) database intrinsic to the tool and supplied explicitly for this purpose.

In a legacy rejuvenation context, it is worth pointing out that the approach taken by CNT provides a manageable migration path, where none of the existing systems need to be taken offline or modified. The multi-tiered approach used in Enterprise/Access supports CNT's claim that the product was built from the ground up for scalability. This is clearly a pre-requisite for organizations which have a need for, and are still using mainframe, midrange and high-end UNIX computing platforms. Butler Group believes that CNT Enterprise/Access 2000 will continue to build on the already extensive base of world-class organizations it counts amongst its customers.

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