Connecting Windows programs to mainframe programs is a real chore, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) this week said its new Host Integration Server 2004 makes it much easier. Well, sort of.
HIS 2004, shipping in September, is the first update in several years to Redmond's former SNA Server. SNA (Systems Network Architecture) is IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) 30-year-old mainframe networking protocol.
In the new server, Microsoft's made it easier for mainframe programs to call Windows programs by wrapping the mainframe code inside XML-based Web services and .NET components, themselves built with Visual Studio.NET and with a new tool called Transaction Integrator.
Microsoft officials weren't available to comment but stated in a press release that the new server costs $2,499 for the Standard Edition and $9,999 for the Enterprise Edition, which also gets you the Transaction Integrator and integration with a development tool called the Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) Bridge. [Ed. note: But does it include shipping and handling?]
But there's another side to this story, which is that HIS 2004 is only a small step toward what mainframe/Windows customers really need, Gartner Inc. analyst Dale Vecchio says.