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Implementation (Technology) Options

eBusiness Technologies - eBusiness Gateways

Special Notes:    

Definition

Gateway - Link between several computers in a network setup, or a connection between two networks which allows messages on one to be routed through to the other.  Gateway functions typically include choreographing of mapping (translation), enveloping or de-enveloping, logging of transmission activity, and communications software functions. c.f. Pass-thru.




Gateway Components

Gateway functionality can be accomplished with one gateway that incorporates all functions listed below, or can be divided into eBusiness gateway and internet gateway.  If divided, then the eBusiness gateway and the internet gateway need to be able to communicate with each other.  A gateway can a large system running on a number of servers or a small system running on a small server or workstation connected to a small business or home LAN.

The basic components of a gateway are the same whether the gateway supports traditional EDI, the newer XML standards, or both.

  1. Communications and routing software
    1. Includes communication scripts
    2. Database containing information about trading partners, including which processes/messages they may exchange, what versions, sender/receiver ID's, etc.
  2. Transmission logging software for maintaining audit trails
    1. For non-repudiation, information about message origins and contents needs to be archived
    2. Includes the logging of errors.
  3. Enveloping software
  4. Mapping software, including dictionaries for all supported business content standards
  5. Security software, including firewalls and encryption/decryption utilities
    1. Can run to 100,000 Euro.
    2. Need to maintain a repository of digital certificates and signatures for encryption, authorization and authentication
  6. Storage/back-up software
  7. Anti-virus shield and scanning software

Hosted gateways

Web applications


Gateway Software Packages

The components listed above may be acquired separately or in one or more packages; it is very common for all to be included in a single package.  Packages without the mapping software are also common since many large companies prefer to develop or acquire mapping software or services separately.


XML Parsers

There are currently two prevailing parsing (mapping) methods being used for XML files, DOM and SAX.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.  Be sure to ask your solution provider which method they use, in order to determine if it matches your needs.


Communications Audit Trail

A communications audit trail provides the user with a log detailing the transmission of each interchange or file.  Information typically provided with an audit trail includes: times, dates, identifiers, acknowledgments, errors encountered, etc. Audit trails are useful for debugging transmission problems, generating reports, and verifying that an interchange was sent or received by a trading partner.


Viewing Utility

There is a variety of communication data which might need to be viewed by an gateway user. This information includes scheduled transmissions, audit trails, outstanding functional acknowledgments, configuration data, and others. Rather than manually editing files, a gateway product might provide a utility for viewing various aspects of communications data.


EDI Gateway Software Costs - 1997

80% of EDI-enabled companies in the U.S. use a PC or Mac Front-end solution.

Last updated 02 March 2003