Browser links to mainframe data

FTP Software's new Java-based networking software allows users to connect to mainframe data through a Web browser.

2 min read
Monday FTP Software (FTPS) will announce a new set of tools that allows users to connect to mainframe data through a Web browser.

It's the latest move by the struggling company to recapture momentum in the network applications market.

FTP's OnWeb Host, a Java-based set of server and client software, will allow any desktop with a browser to connect to information residing on a back-end mainframe system. Others, like IBM, have entered this market, but FTP said it may have an advantage because its software focuses on management of applications and access.

The company remains a large player in providing tools for network-based file transfers. Internal desktops pegs FTP's share of the market at 30 percent and estimates 10 million desktops run the company's software. After unveiling a strategy in the last few months involving VPNs (virtual private networks) and management agents, the company has refocused on application-specific software.

OnWeb Host will ship next week, with a server license available for $495 and client packs starting at $1,350 for 10 desktops. The software permits users in an intranet setting, for example, to connect to a Web server. It also allows them to connect to host-based information to which they have access.

FTP may hope the new product-related news distracts the industry from mounting red ink. The company yesterday announced losses totaling nearly $30 million for its third quarter. Losses for the first nine months of 1997 are more than $50 million, compared with nearly $75 million in losses for the first nine months of 1996.