Candle introduces a platform for integrating apps

Extending its middleware expertise, Candle Corp. has developed a set of
products to integrate applications.

The Santa Monica, Calif., company claims to have one of the first integrated platforms
for business component computing, or what GartnerGroup Inc. calls service-oriented

Candle’s Roma integration platform does for applications what relational
technology did for databases, said Steve Craggs, the company’s vice president of
application solutions. “It works like relational joins, except it’s for
applications,” he said.

North Carolina’s is one of the first governments to adopt Candle’s
architecture for all new cross-agency applications.

“We’re using Roma as the standard way to write [and call] services,”
said Emilie Schmidt, the state’s chief technical officer.

“Otherwise, we would spend all our time on integration problems.”

Roma simplifies the work, Schmidt said, because “it’s just an application
programming interface. There’s a call statement, and you pass parameters. The
programmer doesn’t have to worry about middleware.”

But the state is just at the starting gate in building a stable of Roma service
components, said Schmidt, who is responsible for the technical architecture.

North Carolina developed a statewide technical architecture in 1997 and recently
updated it to include electronic commerce.

“We cannot control what the executive agencies do,” she said. But as states
pass more laws requiring cross-cutting applications, enterprise application integration
will become more necessary.

She said the business components approach would simplify the job of transferring
systems from other states. State programmers now often must take the transferred systems
apart to separate federal rules from state-specific rules that must be changed to fit
North Carolina’s requirements.

Roma will be useful for federal officials who manage facilities’ outsourcing
contracts, according to Gary Mitchell, director of Candle’s federal systems group.

Defining application service levels is the easy part, he said; the tough part is
“how to ensure you’re hitting those service levels.”

The Roma platform has an integration broker, a graphical development environment,
system management facilities and prebuilt application connectors.

A Java-based graphical interface helps administrators set up network-based application
flow controls.

The component platform lets organizations reuse components such as IBM Corp.’s
CICS/Cobol or MVS batch Cobol and packaged applications such as SAP R/3 from SAP America
Inc. of Wayne, Pa.

The Roma connector for R/3 Versions 3.0C and higher for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 is
Candle’s first in a series of packaged application connectors that will eliminate
custom interface programming, Craggs said.

The Roma Broker module plugs into a variety of middleware brokers including IBM’s
MQSeries, MQIntegrator from Neon Systems Inc. of Houston and TSI Mercator from TSI
Software of Wilton, Conn.

Roma Developer uses Interspace Application Development Framework technology from
Planetworks LLC of New York to generate code for communicating with business services or

The Roma Application Manager is Candle’s application performance monitoring and
load balancing software. “It traces where the business process is executing,”
said Tony D’Errico, Candle vice president and group executive for business and
application solutions. The Roma repository and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
Directory support replication.

The Roma Business Services Platform 2.0 runs under IBM MVS, Windows NT, Hewlett-Packard
HP-UX, IBM AIX and SunSoft Solaris. It supports C, C++, ActiveX, Java and Cobol programs.

The Windows NT suite, including Roma BSP 2.0, Roma Broker, Roma Developer, Roma
Application Manager and Roma Connector for SAP R/3, costs $10,000 to $20,000 depending on
processor and configuration.

Contact the Candle federal systems group at 703-762-5911.  

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