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by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

IBM bundles file transfer, messaging, and monitoring to give customers real time visibility

Published March 11, 2014


Business moves fast, and taking time to make the right purchase decision between solutions can be a difficult process and can slow down even the most efficient enterprise.

IBM announced today that it simplifies its customers’ decision making by bundling its managed file transfer options together, and adding in monitoring capabilities. The joint offering, Connect:Direct Advanced, combines IBM Sterling Connect:Direct, IBM WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer Service, and the Sterling Control Center Monitoring.

“We were asking our customers to try and make a choice to which of those met their needs better, and buy one or the other,” says Leif Davidsen, Senior Product Manager WebSphere Messaging Portfolio, “but everybody these days wants to make fast decisions … and it can sometimes be difficult to try and make the right purchasing decision before you really get a chance to evaluate the software and really get to know the strengths of one solution over another solution.”

How Connect:Direct Advanced helps businesses overcome file transfer challenges  >>


Here are the three primary ways Connect:Direct Advanced aids businesses, according to Davidsen.

Timeliness. “In most businesses these days, timeliness is tremendously important,” says Davidsen. “There is no overnight anymore in these days of 24-7 operations, and everything is time-critical processing—if data has been created from some customer interaction, you want to get access to that data while that customer is still interacting with you … The time that you can spend in terms of extracting the value form that data is critical to your business. So we’ve got all of these files that are being created or added to, and the way in which you want to consume it is somewhere else in your business. The better you can move that to another part of your business, and start to make use of it, the better it is for your business.”

IBM WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer Service takes the file and turns it into a message that can then be consumed. It takes file data and makes it instantly usable business data, he continues.

Meeting regulations. Enterprises that tackle business regulation requirements are challenged to process data and files in designated timeframes while still meeting regulation requirements. “No matter what you have to do, you have to do it faster and more integrated into your business,” he continues. “Having that combination of either a dedicated file transfer or file and message handling is a really strong addition to businesses helping to meet the challenge of all of those speed-up impetuses.”

Security. Breaches of security, hacker threats, and risks in business environments are more prevalent than ever. “When you are moving things from one system to another, they do become more vulnerable, says Davidsen. “You need to make sure you are using a solution that can handle the data appropriately and give you that business confidence.”

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Announced Tuesday, March 11, this offering will be available Thursday on distributed platforms only—Windows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, Quick Start, and AIX.

IBM Sterling Connect:Direct is a dedicated file transfer system takes a system-centric approach in how systems connect and allows files to move directly from system to system, says Davidsen. IBM WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer Service sends message data between programs. It was enhanced in recent years to more efficiently transfer messages created from files and vice versa, explains Davidsen, and is a multitasking messaging solution that can also provide better access of the data held in files.

With this announcement, customers that buy one of these legacy solutions have entitlement to both, as well as the added monitoring capabilities. The Sterling Control Center Monitoring console allows customers to set up monitoring based on events or service of agreements, so as you define file transfers, rules and guidelines can be set, as well as what action to take in the event a failure occurs.

“It’s not just [about] moving the files, it’s around, ‘what's the value to the business,’” says Davidsen. “There are lots of ways to move files; it’s, ‘am I moving it with any sort of degree of security, or manageability, or integrity.’ Having the choice of technologies, but then having that console to support that is very important.”

The combined offering brings value to customers in terms of decision-making ease and also pricing, says Davidsen, explaining that many customers are using both systems already—IBM WebSphere MQ to move files around and Connect:Direct to bring a single, secure connection both within and outside the enterprise. The systems are still available separately, however customers cannot get either or both without the Sterling Control Center Monitoring console.

“We think it’s a tremendously important part of the solution,” says Davidsen, explaining that taking on the monitoring console will allow customers to see the real value it provides without having to justify an extra purchase.

Connect:Direct offers real time visibility—both business and operational—into the information that’s flowing through the enterprise. The console monitors all end points of file transfer and keeps track of movement based on parameters set by the user, so employees can focus solely on alerts and not all files being moved in and around the enterprise.

IBM WebSphere customers also get the added offerings of IBM WebSphere MQ Advanced, which is an existing bundle of all MQ components enhanced to include the Sterling solutions as well.

At this time, branding for all products remains the same. This package announcement does not include any enhancements or updated technical code, however development will continue in both product lines, according to Davidsen.

Get more information about this announcement and Connect:Direct.



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