Wednesday, 27 April 2011

LANSA Turns aXes into IBM i Cloud Enabler

I found an interesting article on the IT Jungle website and I have copied it below for your convenience.

LANSA Turns aXes into IBM i Cloud Enabler

Published: April 26, 2011

by Alex Woodie

LANSA is shipping a new release of its aXes Web enablement software that's designed to turn IBM i server environments into private and public clouds, including a platform for software as a service (SaaS). The vendor's new aXes-Cloud software, which ships with aXes version 2.0, enables organizations to make multiple IBM i server applications available to any browser-supported device. Version 2.0 also includes new query and spool file capabilities that IBM i users may find useful.

There's no denying the fact that "cloud" is extremely hot at the moment. Regardless of what the term actually means or whether it represents any true innovation compared to previous hosting models, cloud has taken off and embedded itself into the lexicon of the American businessperson. This has led IT vendors of all stripes to reposition their wares (or just re-write their marketing materials in some cases) to reflect a cloud basis, and you can't really blame them.

Cloud-mania is, thankfully, more subdued in the IBM i world, where hot technology and marketing terms du jour are usually ignored, and practicality and pragmatism have always ruled the day. That is not to say resellers and service providers aren't moving to roll out their own cloud hosting models in response to customer demands for lowering operating costs. Server outsourcing, as well as application service providing (ASP), have been a solid presence on the IBM midrange platform for more than a decade. But there is a clear trend of more IBM i workloads shifting from in-house servers to bureau-based computing centers, which is partly driven by the seemingly never-ending IBM i server consolidation cycle.

Chop Up the Cloud

This brings us to LANSA and its new cloud enablement offering. This offering is based on aXes, its screen modernization tool that converts 5250 data into HTML, which it obtained two years ago. aXes installs directly on the IBM i server, and uses a combination of XML and CGI techniques to enable on-the-fly screen conversions, without any source code changes or installation of client software.

LANSA unveiled a new aXes-Cloud component in aXes version 2.0 that, when installed on an IBM i server, turns that server into a "cloud gateway." This cloud gateway streamlines user access to multiple IBM i servers and applications sitting on the network behind the gateway. Users log on just once, and are automatically routed to all their applications, even if the apps are located on separate physical IBM i servers. "Users don't need to be aware that the cloud gateway exists," LANSA says in its announcement.

The Australia-based vendor, which has its U.S. headquarters near Chicago, sees several usage scenarios for the aXes-Cloud available with version 2.0. The first is for companies that run their own multi-server IBM i environments. Such an organization could use the aXes software to create a private cloud that streamlines user access to applications running on different IBM i servers.

This private-cloud scenario also provides the benefit of enabling browser-based access to IBM i servers that are too old, or too heavily customized, to support a direct aXes installation. According to LANSA, all IBM i servers sitting behind the cloud gateway server will operate as if the aXes-Cloud software is installed on it. That's a nifty little feat of IT magic that could prove useful.

LANSA also foresees aXes-Cloud being used by hosting providers to create public clouds for their customers. In the public cloud scenario, a customer can access any IBM i server installed behind a cloud gateway, including servers running at the hosting provider's data center, or even those that the customer keeps in house.

Benefits of the public cloud offering are similar to those of the private cloud. This includes making IBM i applications accessible over the Web, even if the underlying application or server infrastructure is too old or too heavily customized to justify its own Web-enablement project, according to LANSA.

Sharpening Cloud Business Models

Last but not least, LANSA is positioning the aXes-Cloud software to help ISVs turn their IBM i applications into SaaS offerings. LANSA says this offering will help by creating modern Web interfaces from 5250 applications without any programming.

One company that's using aXes-Cloud to bolster its hosting business is Evolution Systems, a Sydney, Australia-based IT consultancy with extensive expertise in IBM i hosting and SAP implementations.

In February, LANSA announced that Evolution Systems has adopted aXes-Cloud to bolster its IBM i hosting business, and to help create a new platform as a service (PaaS) offering to customers who want to outsource their IBM i workloads.

Geoff Boreland, founder and managing director of Evolution Systems, says the new software and its subscription-based pricing, "facilitates the fast and simple provisioning of new customers and additional users. We now offer hosted services with on-demand scaling whether up or down."

You can expect to read about additional IBM i business partners joining LANSA on the cloud journey. "We are currently in discussions with additional companies offering System i cloud solutions," states LANSA vice president of sales Kevin Corcoran.

Other aXes 2.0 Bennies

aXes version 2.0 brings several other new capabilities in the areas of spool files, database queries, and programmatic automation of 5250 applications.

Top of the list is enhancements to the aXes Data Explorer, which is a Web-based aXes program that allows users to query the DB2/400 database using IBM's SQL services. LANSA says aXes Data Explorer can handle all SQL queries, from the simple to the complex. It also lets users do things such as create and save SQL queries for later execution and export query results to spreadsheets, the vendor says.

The aXes Spool File Explorer, which enables users to access IBM i spool file output from the comfort of a Web browser, has also been enhanced. Users can view spool files on the Web browser as a PDF, HTML, text, or image file. The program also lets users create and save spool file queue searches for later use and export spool file data into a spreadsheet.

Finally, users can programmatically drive their 5250 apps with aXes-Robot, which is a brand new addition to the aXes suite. The aXes-Robot is a series of APIs that enable developers to basically simulate a user sitting in front of a 5250 session (hence the robot terminology). LANSA says this feature will be handy in several situations, including performing data entry as a batch program, using Web services to expose IBM i data that can only be accessed via 5250, or creating a connection between an ASP.NET website and a 5250 application.

LANSA is offering three flavors of the aXes-Robot API, including a .NET interface for Windows programs, a Java API that runs on IBM i and Windows, and an RPG-based API for pure IBM i environments.

aXes requires i5/OS V5R3 or later, and requires a FastCGI-enabled HTTP server such as aXes Application Server. The software supports recent releases of popular Web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. LANSA offers access to aXes-Cloud through subscription and per-user licensing options. For more information, see

Thursday, 21 April 2011

SAP Training Tutorials

Are you interested in SAP? I found on some interesting tutorials as described below: is the SAP community's resource for news, expert advice, technical tips and career guidance. Our collection of training tutorials are designed to help SAP users optimise their use of SAP software modules, SAP enterprise applications, SAP development tools and other SAP technologies. You'll find everything you need to know about SAP Basis, SAP BW, SAP HR, SAP Process Integration (PI) and SAP NetWeaver BI. And best of all? You can gain free access to these valuable resources by clicking on one of the below links:

SAP Basis training tutorial
In this comprehensive tutorial, you'll find answers to all your Basis questions. From the most basic question “What is Basis?” to the most advanced concerning customisation and configuration, gain a solid understanding of the features, benefits and drawbacks of SAP Basis.

SAP BW training tutorial
SAP BW is a comprehensive BI product that is centered around a data warehouse and optimised for SAP's R/3 environment.You'll find information covering all aspects of BI and BW with expert advice, decision-making analysis, case studies and business intelligence tools.

SAP HR and HCM training tutorial
This SAP HR training tutorial will guide HR managers, HR directors and SAP developers through SAP's HR/HCM modules, tools and processes. Improve your organisation’s SAP HR system with the latest tips and planning strategies from SAP HR and SAP /HCM experts.

SAP NetWeaver BI training tutorial
SAP BI (business intelligence) can have a huge impact on your business. Learn how and why business intelligence is used and find expert advice, decision-making analysis, case studies and more to help you get the most out of your SAP BI solution.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Major aXes Revamp Extends Cloud Computing for the IBM i

I have just read an interesting article in ITWire and I have copied it below for your convenience.

Major aXes Revamp Extends Cloud Computing for the IBM i -- Access your COBOL and RPG applications via the Cloud and via mobile devices

Sydney, Australia — April 19, 2011 — LANSA announces a new Version of the aXes 5250 Web Enabling Tool with a) the capability to offer access to new and existing IBM i RPG/COBOL applications via the Cloud, b) a complete overhaul of the pair of aXes browser-based query, access and reporting tools – DB2 Query and Spooled File Explorer and c) the ability to interact programmatically with 5250 data streams.

aXes Cloud Computing Software — aXes-Cloud significantly enhances the current Cloud computing offerings available on the IBM i.

Routing via a Cloud Gateway IBM i on which aXes is installed, users get browser-based access to their IBM i server running their line-of-business applications wherever their IBM i is situated. For a full description please visit:

As a bonus, the browser access to the IBM i occurs on-the-fly without having to change any of the application code and without having to install any new software at the client PC.

aXes-Cloud, installed on the Cloud Gateway, enables any device that runs a browser (e.g., desktops, laptops, mobile devices) to be automatically connected to multiple IBM i servers. aXes-Cloud is a perfect solution to automatically connect users to their applications spread across multiple IBM i servers. Users log on to aXes-Cloud and it automatically routes them to the IBM i server and applications. Users don't need to be aware that the Cloud Gateway exists – they logon as normal.

aXes-Cloud provides a perfect opportunity for cloud computing service providers to add the IBM i to their offerings.

  • Companies can use aXes-Cloud as a gateway to provide their own employees with access to different applications running on multiple IBM i servers.
  • Hosting companies can host a Cloud Gateway that provides a switch connecting a single company’s multiple fixed and mobile users with browser access to that company’s IBM i server(s).
  • Hosting companies that host IBM i servers belonging to multiple companies can use aXes-Cloud as a switch to route users from multiple different companies to the correct IBM i server(s) within the hosted environment.
  • Application Software Vendors (ISVs) can host their application with a hosting company and use aXes-Cloud to offer the application to their customers via a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

No additional software needs to be installed anywhere except for a single copy of aXes-Cloud installed on a Cloud Gateway server. aXes-Cloud operates as if aXes were installed on each of the connected servers. Users enjoy access to their applications from any device and any location.

As aXes-Cloud is an extension to aXes it provides all of the aXes features for multiple IBM i servers and applications. From any browser, aXes users can securely access all their applications, work with their spooled files, query databases and manage operations on any connected IBM i server.

aXes Data Explorer for querying DB2 data from a browser — aXes Data Explorer is a Web-based DB2 query tool for querying DB2 databases on IBM i servers, using the SQL services provided by IBM. To use aXes Data Explorer, you only need a browser and a connection to an IBM i server.

Some of the aXes Data Explorer features include:

  • Create and save SQL queries for later execution
  • Handles SQL queries from the simple to the complex
  • Export retrieved data to spreadsheets
  • Works with all major browsers
  • Nothing to install on the client device
  • Accessible via mobile devices

aXes Spool File Explorer for accessing spooled file output from a browser — aXes Spool File Explorer is a tool for interrogating output queues and viewing spool files on IBM i servers. To use aXes Spool File Explorer, you only need a browser and a connection to an IBM i server.

Some of the aXes Spool File Explorer features include:

  • Create and save spooled file queue searches for later use
  • Export retrieved data to spreadsheets
  • View spooled files data as HTML, text, PDF, or Image
  • Works with all major browsers
  • Nothing to install on the client device
  • Accessible via mobile devices

aXes-Robot for Programmatically Driving 5250 Programs — aXes-Robot is an Application Program Interface (API) that developers access when creating applications that programmatically drive 5250 programs. aXes-Robot caters to a wide range of programming options with three versions of the API available: .NET (runs on Windows); Java (runs on Windows and IBM i); and RPG (runs on IBM i). No ActiveX controls are used.

The primary uses of aXes-Robot are:

  • Performing data entry using a batch program
  • Exposing as Web service data that is accessible only through a 5250 application
  • Using a 5250 application as a back-end to your ASP.NET Web site

The aXes family of products is available for license from a worldwide network of reseller partners or from your local LANSA office. Visit for details.

For more information:

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