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Iona looks to lasso old apps into new systems

Artix product designed to connect existing applications into modern services-oriented architecture.

Iona Technologies on Monday updated its back-end infrastructure software, designed to connect existing systems to the rest of a company's applications.

The software, Artix 3.0, can now be accessed through commonly used development tools, including Eclipse and Microsoft's Visual Studio. It also adds support for different communications and performance-tracking protocols.

Artix is designed to connect existing applications into a services-oriented architecture. An SOA design allows programs to be reused and combined with different applications, said Eric Newcomer, Iona's chief technology officer.

For example, using Artix, a programmer can integrate a mainframe database to other applications and define different levels of security or required performance. The update allows customers to use the Web Services Distributed Management protocol to track the performance of applications and add "high-availability" features to prevent system crashes, Newcomer said.

Iona's main customer base is made up of companies that invested in a middleware system called Common Object Request Broker Architecture, or CORBA. These applications are still in use, but new applications are typically created with different integration methods and modern development tools built around Web services protocols.

"When we talk to large customers, one of the biggest inhibitors to a services-oriented architecture is getting existing systems to play," Newcomer said. "The niche we are going after is legacy applications participating in an SOA."

Iona calls Artix a "high-end enterprise service bus," a category of integration software that uses standard protocols, such as Java messaging and Web services, to move data and transactions among different applications. Artix can add "quality of service" features to track application performance and run with existing messaging systems, Newcomer said.

Artix represents about 10 percent of Iona's revenue. Pricing for Artix 3.0 begins at $10,000 per server processor.