Digi Releases Driver Development Kit for DataFire SYNC 2000 Adapters

Digi International Inc. has released a driver development kit (DDK) to compliment its DataFire SYNC 2000 family of synchronous WAN communication adapters. Specifically, Doug Heinzen, senior product manager for Synchronous Products with Digi, says the DDK will "allow people to write drivers for operating systems we don't support." The AS/400 would be one such system.

DataFire SYNC 2000 WAN adapters enhance the voice and data gateways used by telecommunications carriers, performing a wide range of real-time, server-based routing and switching applications through the Signaling System 7 (SS7) international standard. As a result, telecommunications gateways are able to off-load data transmissions to separate dedicated channels, which enables increased volume capacity and improves overall gateway efficiency.

The DDK contains several features, including sample codes and a data set, with which a user can write directly to the DataFire SYNC 2000 application protocol interface (API). "Its design protects you from having to write through hardware," says Heinzen. "It masks the hardware to give you a purely software interface to work with," allowing, he explains, OEMs, resellers and integrators to move their server-based telecommunications solutions to market more rapidly.

Digi believes the DDK will prove especially helpful to those operating systems typically used as backbones in telecom environments. "Quite frankly," says Heinzen, "I think this plays well with the AS/400 because of its stability."

One area where the DDK could be of immediate assistance to AS/400, says Heinzen, is in the creation of Virtual Private Networks (VPN). As evidenced by the recent emergence of ERP portaling, there's an obvious need among AS/400 users to pump data across VPNs. Digi's DDK, while not a one-stop solution, Heinzen describes as a definite VPN enabler.

Although writing drivers for 3270 and 5250 applications is not yet a feature the DDK is equipped with, Heinzen says Digi is currently working on the addition of such functionality. The initial release of the DDK is focused on Frame Relay, X.25, and Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP).

Asita Technologies (East Sussex, England)—a networking solutions provider—recently used the toolkit to substantially reduce the amount of time it took to get PPP running on its router. "Principally, it allowed us to get the development done very quickly," says Angus Goldfinch, CTO for Asita. "A project that we had scheduled for nine weeks, we finished in just six—hey, we’re done, we’re ready, ahead of schedule."

Goldfinch attributes the quick turnaround to the DDK's use of documentation fixed with soft-code samples, which, he says, allows for more interactive porting. The product's scalability also impressed Goldfinch, as he was surprised by its workability across a number of environments.

The user-interface for configuring the DDK, on the other hand, is an area in which Goldfinch sees room for improvement. The configuration manager is text-based, which, Goldfinch says, is fine for Asita since they are working in a Unix environment. But, Goldfinch asserts, in a non-Unix setting some scripting translations may be needed.

Heinzen is quick to point out that this is the first version of the DDK, and that there will be improvements made prior to its next release. In the future, Heinzen says, "I see DDK being a big help to multiple vertical markets that AS/400 is kind of king in. Using VPN and synchronous technology like ours could be a big benefit in terms of overall cost of ownership."

Digi's DDK is available free-of-charge, but is not packaged with the DataFire SYNC 2000 line of adapters. For more information, visit www.digi.com (new window).