• IT staff requires the flexibility to manage by exception with the ability to resolve problems when they occur. In unattended situations, the staff must be automatically notified via pager, cell phone, or mobile device if and when failures occur.

• If errors do occur, automatic retries are critical—preferably from the point of failure.

• IT staff must be able to remotely monitor and manage data movement operations.

• IT staff requires the ability to track data transfer activities, and must be able to confirm that files were delivered.

Although FTP has been a useful utility over the years, it can’t deliver on mainframe-centric integration requirements without significant, costly customization. Even with customization, these systems tend to be inefficient. When you add reliability and security concerns, it seems fair to wonder how FTP ever came to be so widely used.

Messaging-Oriented Middleware

Messaging-Oriented Middleware (MOM) is a robust, mature technology that lets an organization efficiently exchange information. Messaging, however, isn’t always a viable approach. Message-oriented technologies can’t effectively solve all business integration scenarios, and come up particularly short with regard to the batch-oriented systems found in many mainframe shops, or when the volumes of information (or file sizes) being exchanged are too large.

The following identifies some common issues not addressed by message-based systems:

Support for legacy mainframe applications: Many mainframes still rely on legacy applications that have been in use for many years. These applications were created before the advent of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and MOM. Modifying these applications is risky, expensive, and complex because the underlying design is no longer understood.

Support for batch-oriented systems and large volumes of data: Many applications were designed to operate in batch mode, which requires them to deal with a large volume of transactions in one operation. Messaging systems, by their nature, were designed to deal with transactions. While messaging applications may handle batch processing, this method of operation isn’t typically the most effective solution.

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