Thursday, December 27, 2012

uLinga; turning up the heat!

It has been a very good year for uLinga as it displaced ICE and SNAX at numerous high-profile NonStop sites. And there is more to come in terms of new features as well as a new sibling product suite …

It would be so easy to quote lines from John Denver’s songs at this time of year, as the snow finally falls in the Rocky Mountains. For everyone living in Colorado, this is why we live here and yes, once again, it’s a white Christmas. Looking at the mountains that are framed by the windows of our house, as I frequently do, I appreciate the warmth provided by our furnaces even as I cast an anxious eye over them knowing full well that our next furnace “tune up” is not till mid-January. With one experience already of how much damage can be caused when furnaces are turned off, there’s always a little anxiety even as I stare out the window and take in the winter landscape. Temperature highs for this Christmas week are stuck just below freezing point with overnight temperatures falling to the single digits, Fahrenheit! 
It was around this time last year, in the post, “uLinga! Turning the corner?” where I wrote of the early success uLinga experienced as a well-known America’s retailer migrated from the ACI ICE product to uLinga – the very first deployment into a production environment of uLinga for DLSw. I also noted that uLinga had also displaced ICE at a financial switch, also in America, and of how Infrasoft Pty Limited Managing Director, Peter Shell, had been very pleased by these early wins for uLinga and talked of how “there’s still a lot more value users can derive from the uLinga product family but seeing momentum develop behind the product as is now happening is an encouraging sign.” 

And indeed, there was more success to come following the introduction of a number of additional features. In the run up to summer, I again wrote of uLinga’s success and in the post of May 23, 2012, “
Wins! And more wins! after the deployment of uLinga for Enterprise Extender (EE) that was a more modern implementation of features for NonStop to better support the IBM protocol, HPR/IP. “No matter how you dissect the success of late for uLinga or to whom you give credit for these successes,” Infrasoft’s Shell told me back then in May as he prepared to go onsite for yet another Proof of Concept, “uLinga is winning.”

As I write this post, the development team at Infrasoft is fine-tuning their latest iteration of uLinga for CICS which really does elevate uLinga into more than just being a replacement product for SNAX and ICE as it truly embraces the application to application communication, over internet protocols such as TCP/IP, that IBM mainframe users of both CICS and IMS are now familiar with – with uLinga for CICS and uLinga for IMS, it’s not strictly about being a better implementation of lower level communications and networking protocols as it is about embracing selected new IBM protocols that help position NonStop as a true peer to the IBM mainframe.

And while this may not be a priority for everyone in the NonStop community, where NonStop has been deployed in industries such as Financial Services, Telco and Healthcare, IBM’s presence cannot be easily discounted and supporting these latest protocols is a sure-fire way of ensuring longevity of the solutions running on NonStop. The fall saw the development team at Infrasoft devoting nearly all of their resources to ensuring those companies switching to uLinga would be able to go live before the winter holiday shopping season arrived, and just as I have been anxiously watching our furnaces, Peter Shell has been watching the efforts of the now thriving uLinga community as they switched off SNAX and ICE and fired-up uLinga.
The uLinga product suite is built on a framework – a combination of libraries and files we internally call aKuna - and this too has been covered in previous posts to this blog. But the presence of a framework was a key ingredient when it came to the timely release of the new browser interface to uLinga – a feature that further fuels  the popularity of uLinga and supports its key message of being a modern implementation. “WebCON, as it is now called, was developed to provide the user with intuitive graphics interface,” is how Shell is describing WebCON. “It enables the administration and management of uLinga without having to learn any of the NonStop semantics that is important for the future of uLinga as we haven’t limited it’s support solely to NonStop systems.”

While I covered the subject of WebCON in a two-part series of posts in September, under the heading of “Staying very much connected to the users!”, there is now a YouTube video of Shell demonstrating the key features of WebCON that can be found at:

The key property of aKuna and with it, now WebCON, isn’t that it’s solely the property of uLinga as it has been recognised for some time within Infrasoft, but that it can do a lot more. With HP’s strategy heavily skewed today in support of Social, Mobile, Big Data and Clouds, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that even as uLinga enjoys an extremely healthy pipeline going into 2013, there’s a new product suite being pulled from whiteboards, restaurant napkins and PowerPoint slides.

Readers who regularly follow the blog, “
Real Time View” will not have missed the return to blogging by Margo Holen, a founding director of Infrasoft and who, like Shell, sees tremendous value in utilizing the aKuna framework in support of infrastructure apart from communications. Welcome to maRunga – a product you will be hearing more of in 2013 as NonStop systems participation in Clouds, both in the edge, as a Cloud gateway, and more deeply within the Cloud itself, becomes a reality. If you missed the early dialogue about Clouds from Holen, you may want to check the post of December 14, 2012, “maRunga, in the sky”!

None of this would be happening if there wasn’t a strong connection between Infrasoft and comForte. From the very outset, comForte has provided financial, technical and sales support to Infrasoft and the success enjoyed by uLinga this year wouldn’t have been possible without the global support of all within comForte. Looking out the window at the snow covered mountains and trusting that the house will remain warm, a cup of coffee in hand, what I see in the combination of the close customer contacts comForte maintains and the creativity and innovation that is coming from Infrasoft, a truly win-win situation for all within the NonStop community. And with that I can sense the heat being turned up on those platforms failing to stay as in tune with industry trends as is the case for the NonStop sytems of 2013!       

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