11th Annual Well-Connected Awards: Business Applications

It's not enough for the winners in this category to do their jobs. These programs must behave flawlessly in the overall network schema, cooperating with other apps as well as

May 4, 2005

8 Min Read
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The applications we've chosen as Well-Connected Award winners have shown us, in hands-on tests, that they not only perform their primary function, but they also play nice with the network infrastructure, cooperating with other applications and with the administrators who manage them.


Web Services PlatformWinner: WebSphere Application Server 6.0. IBM, (800) IBM-4YOU. www.ibm.com

IBM's WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 6.0 offers unparalleled ease of management over multiple instances. WAS 6.0's administrative console gives you complete control over local and remote instances, including synchronization of configurations and application deployment. It can administer both Web and application servers from a central console and offers SOAP-specific configuration options--such as those for WS-Security--from the console. (Read the original review)


• Internet Information Services 6.0 with Network Load Balancing. Microsoft Corp., (888) 218-5617, (425) 882-8080. www.microsoft.com

• Extend 5.2. Novell, (888) 321-4272, (781) 464-8000. www.novell.com

Web Services Management

Winner: SOAPstation. Actional Corp., (650) 210-0700. www.actional.com

Actional's SOAPstation is a well-rounded, feature-rich Web services management suite and a top performer in our tests. SOAPstation's Web services management functions include routing, access control, service-level-agreement management and data transformation. The software also can secure and manage services over multiple protocols and handles message buses and queues with ease. SOAPstation has proved its ability to interoperate with and manage a wealth of Web service and messaging implementations. (Read the original review ID# 1511f3)

• Web Services Distributed Management 3.1. Computer Associates International, (888) 423-1000, (631) 342-6000. www.ca.com• Digital Evolution Service Manager 2.3 (now known as Service Manager 2.4). SOA Software, (866) SOA-9876, (310) 260-2717. www.soa.com

Midmarket Enterprise Application Integration Platform

Winner: Application Router 1000. Cast Iron Systems, (888) IRON-HELP, (650) 230-0621. www.castironsystems.com

For small and midsize enterprises, keeping things simple without sacrificing function is the key to a successful integration-platform implementation. Cast Iron Systems' Application Router 1000 excels at simplicity, completeness and ease of deployment. The appliance exemplifies integration right out of the box. It integrates easily into the network and application infrastructure, and connects with a wealth of enterprise applications and middleware. (Read the original review ID# 1513f3)Finalists:
• Fiorano ESB 3.5. Fiorano Software, (800) 663-3621, (408) 354-3210. www.fiorano.com

• WDI Business Integration Engine (now known as Redberri). WDI, the development division of Brunswick New Technologies, (888) 356-4296, (847) 735-4634. www.redberri.com

Enterprise Information Integration Platform

Winner: Composite Information Server 2.5. Composite Software, (650) 227-8200. www.compositesw.comIt's not cheap, and it's not easy, but EII greatly simplifies data access from a wide range of sources. Composite Software's Composite Information Server (CIS) 2.5 has an impressive, manageable array of enterprise connectivity adapters. From relational data sources to flat files and external Web services, CIS 2.5 easily collates, aggregates and offers unified access to multiple disparate sources of data through a variety of standardized protocols. (Read the original review)

• Finalists: DB2 Information Integrator, now shipping as WebSphere Information Integrator 8.2. IBM, (877) 426-3774, Ext. 104CBW63, (800) IBM-4YOU. www.ibm.com

• MetaMatrix Server. MetaMatrix, (800) 734-1630, (781) 890-7171. www.metamatrix.com

Enterprise IMWinner: e/pop Professional 3. WiredRed Software, (888) 665-EPOP, (858) 715-0970. www.wiredred.com

Once a major security risk, enterprise IM suites now support full encryption and authenticate against your existing systems. WiredRed's e/pop earns our award for its security capabilities, extensive collaboration features and built-in auditing. E/pop is the most security-conscious IM we evaluated all year. With its extensive reporting and auditing components, plus its ability to integrate with existing enterprise infrastructure, this IM suite is well-connected on many levels. (Read the original review)

• Finalists: Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003 (now shipping as LCS 2005). Microsoft Corp., (888) 218-5617, (425) 882-8080. www.microsoft.com

• Sun Java System Instant Messaging 6.1. Sun Microsystems, (800) SUN-0404, (650) 960-1300. www.sun.com

Enterprise Collaboration

Winner: SiteScape Forum 7.1. SiteScape, (910) 256-5038, (978) 461-9959. www.sitescape.com

Virtual workspaces let co-workers across organizational and geographical lines collaborate on projects, documents and other tasks. SiteScape's Forum is one of the easiest products to use, and its feature-rich collaborative workspaces come at a competitive price. Intuitive for both users and administrators, Forum supports multiple platforms and databases to fit any enterprise architecture. It includes IM as well as an internal messaging component. And if you don't have the resources to deploy it, Forum is available as a service, licensed on a per-user basis. (Read the original review)

• Finalists:
Interwoven WorkSite MP 4.0. Interwoven, (888) 468-3796, (408) 774-2000. www.interwoven.com

• Vignette Collaboration 5.6.3. Vignette Corp., (888) 608-9900, (512) 741-4300. www.vignette.com

Asset Management

Winner: Asset Manager 8. LANDesk Software, (800) 982-2130, (801) 208-1500. www.landesk.com

Everything on your network, from the servers to the desktops, is an asset to be managed. Asset Manager gives you control over your network, systems, helpdesk and desktop in one neat package. This software provides exceptional control, generates stellar reports and integrates with several other packages, all behind an intuitive interface that lets you handily manage hardware and software assets. Asset Manager's tenacious autodiscovery is the best we've seen, and its zero-footprint deployment requirements will make desktop-management staff happy. (Read the original review)


• Asset Management Suite 6.0. Altiris, (888) 252-5551, (801) 226-8500. www.altiris.com• Unicenter Asset Management 4.0. Computer Associates International, (888) 423-1000, (631) 342-6000. www.ca.com

Web Analytical Service

Winner: SiteCatalyst 10. Omniture, (877) 722-7088, (801) 722-7000. www.omniture.com

Web analytics enables connectivity at Layer 8--the human layer. These tools provide insight into user behavior and can be the catalyst behind initiatives that make your sites more appealing and efficient. Omniture's SiteCatalyst system is detailed enough for the stats guru, but clear enough for novices. The interface is easy to navigate and lets you quickly cross-reference different data points. Good analytics, outstanding ease of use, personalization capabilities, role-based access to data and strong support made it easy to choose SiteCatalyst as our Well-Connected Web Analytical Service. (Read the original review)Finalists:
• WebTrends 7. NetIQ Corp., (888) WEBTRENDS, (503) 294-7025. www.webtrends.com

• HBX On-Demand Web. WebSideStory, (888) 844-8269, (858) 546-0040. www.websidestory.com

Lori MacVittie is a Network Computing senior technology editor working in our Green Bay, Wis., labs. She has been a software developer, a network administrator and a member of the technical architecture team for a global transportation and logistics organization. Write to her at [email protected].

Application Router 1000. Cast Iron Systems, (888) IRON-HELP, (650) 230-0621. www.castironsystems.com

The Cast Iron Application Router 1000 (AR1000) epitomizes the well-connected business application. Combining the agility of software with the administrative ease of hardware, the AR1000 has easily earned the Business Applications Product of the Year title. EAI has always been a primary concern for the enterprise and conventionally has been the biggest headache for administrators and developers who must cobble together an application communication network. Queues, buses, databases and messaging systems all need to communicate clearly and easily with every enterprise application deployed in any organization.

Product of the Year --Application Router 1000Click to Enlarge

The Cast Iron AR1000 offers an easy-to-swallow, cost-effective antidote to the poison pill known as integration. From its nonintrusive network installation to the on-board application connections that aced our tests without requiring separate installations, the AR1000 appliance offers the integration experience and feature set we've long sought.

Although Fiorano Business Integration Suite took the Editor's Choice award in this category last year, the Cast Iron system is more well-connected now. There's no need to install drivers for databases or applications, and no need to worry about operating system requirements. Furthermore, the Cast Iron system now includes project management, which it lacked at the time of our testing and was the only feature that kept it from beating Fiorano.

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