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Shadow Web Server Provides Web-to-MVS Connectivity for NIH

Published
  • July 01 1998, 1:00am EDT

PLATFORMS: Web browser access to MVS data and transactions including MVS/DB2/VSAM/Oracle/IMS to Web-enabled PCs.

BACKGROUND: Shadow Web Server is being used by the Medical Research Facility Centralized Computing Services for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

PROBLEM SOLVED: For NIH, there are two key issues addressed by Shadow Web Server (SWS). First of all, NIH needed to make its legacy MVS data and legacy systems available through the Web. Secondly, NIH needed a way around the difficulties associated with trying to implement a two-tier client/server environment. For example, problems associated with software distribution and maintenance were eliminated by Shadow Web Server.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Shadow Web Server currently provides high-performance Web access to DB2 and other MVS legacy data (i.e., VSAM and PDS). In the future, NIH will utilize NEON's Web interface to IMS and CICS transactions in addition to their support of SSL (Secured Socket Layer).

STRENGTHS: Shadow Web Server's architecture provides very tight integration into the MVS environment with regard to scalability, security, control and the protection of mainframe assets from risk. For example, NEON's interface with RACF and use of the "controlled transaction paradigm" allows client-side access to mainframe resources while ensuring minimal risk. Another strong point of SWS is a very functional API that promotes easy and rapid software development.

WEAKNESSES: SWS has lagged behind the UNIX-based Web servers in its support of SSL.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

(1) Direct Web access to DB2 data without gateways.

(2) Tight integration with RACF.

(3) MVS-based security--NEON's "controlled transaction paradigm."

(4) Reliability and reduced risk--NIH has experienced good results and support from another NEON connectivity product, Shadow Direct, which provides high performance ODBC-based desktop access to legacy MVS.

DELIVERABLES: NIH has produced numerous Web applications through SWS. For example, many applications dealing with human resource matters and contractor performance are now Web enabled.

VENDOR SUPPORT: NEON has a very talented development and technical support staff. Requests are professionally and responsively managed by competent staff who are eager to work issues through to a successful resolution.

DOCUMENTATION: Shadow Web Server documentation is complete and sufficient to meet the needs of its users.

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