HostBridge Technology: Bridging the Gap between Existing and Emerging Technology

CIO VendorRuss Teubner, CEO & Co-founder
Russ Teubner has been passionate about integration since he launched his first company over thirty years ago and delivered products that integrated IBM mainframes with UNIX systems, fax server systems, and the newly emerging World Wide Web. In 1999, soon after selling that company, Teubner co-founded HostBridge Technology with Scott Glenn. They met over dinner with a long-time customer who needed a way to integrate CICS® applications into a Web-based front end but would “never again use any technology that employs screen scraping.” On the butcher-paper table cloth, Teubner and Glenn sketched the architecture of a new integration approach. It was the genesis of the first technology to XML-enable CICS transactions, now patented. Today, HostBridge integrates IBM z Systems application and data assets with virtually any distributed system, from Web and mobile applications to SOAs and cloud architectures.

“Since the beginning,” Teubner says, “our design objective has been to enable existing technologies, like CICS or CA Ideal™, to coexist gracefully with emerging technologies like Web, mobile, and cloud. We believe the most effective way to do so is by leveraging the same industry-standard technologies used by today’s mobile, Web, and cloud innovators –JavaScript for Web services-based integration and Redis for ultra-scalable data integration and replication. Ultimately, this approach adds value to the mainframe and to every other investment in an organization’s IT arsenal.”

When discussing guiding principles, Teubner often uses analyst firm Gartner’s Pace Layered Strategy as a conceptual model. Gartner describes three types of technology systems – systems of record, systems of differentiation, and systems of innovation.

Nearly every enterprise relies on a system of record–applications and data systems running on a core enterprise platform. Proven, trusted, and representing decades of investment, they are the operational backbone. A business requirements and technology
evolve, organizations often implement newer systems to distance themselves from competitors. Examples of systems of differentiation might include frontend applications providing unified employee access to multiple backend systems or automation systems that streamline customer interaction. Many organizations want more–technologies that rewrite the rules. Web, mobile, cloud, and analytics technologies are seen by many today as systems of innovation that fundamentally change the business landscape.

Inherent in this layered model is a problem. Even as enterprises adopt newer systems, their systems of record don’t go away. Far from it. They continue to provide the critical foundation for core business functions.

“This is where HostBridge fits in,” Teubner explains. “We enable z Systems customers to build fast, flexible, dynamic bridges from their system of record to any other system they might deploy. With our products they can make existing applications and data vital contributors to business innovation, renew the mainframe’s economic viability, and add the deep value of the mainframe to any emerging system.”

Since the beginning, our design objective has been to enable existing technologies, like CICS or CA Ideal™, to co-exist gracefully with emerging technologies like Web, mobile, and cloud

HostBridge includes a server-side JavaScript engine running inside z/ OS, as well as a complete set of tools and technologies to Web serviceenable any mainframe application and data asset. Customers use HostBridge to orchestrate and automate CICS transaction “micro flows” into a single Web service; orchestrate and aggregate transactions, programs, and data into composite services; integrate anything mainframe with anything distributed; and create dynamic new apps for modern environments. HostBridge products are all eligible to run on the zIIP specialty engine, and HostBridge is CA Validated.

“Many of our customers depend on CA applications and databases as critical system of record assets. So we have always made sure our software embraces the nuances of CA products,” says Teubner. “We have a depth of experience with CA Ideal for CA Datacom®, CA Telon,® CA Gener/ OL™, and CA ADS™ for CA IDMS™.”

A number of customers in the insurance sector use HostBridge to extend CA assets to Web and cloud. “After their government mandated online access to insurance information, a Swiss insurance company asked us to assist in Web service-enabling CA Ideal and Datacom. We helped them integrate their CA assets into a national eHealth cloud infrastructure–a very innovative way to comply with regulations,” says Teubner.

Teubner stresses the importance of listening to customers when developing products. “I want customers to see us as a business partner as well as a vendor, to come to us knowing we listen. I also hope they appreciate our passion for fidelity, functionality, and a real drive for performance.”

HostBridge is continuing to develop products that help organizations extend the value of their IBM z Systems apps and data. Recently HostBridge introduced Redis for z/OS, a product that brings Redis, the ultra-scalable in-memory data cache used by many of today’s mobile, cloud, and analytics innovators, to z Systems for the first time. With its replication capabilities, Redis will let CA customers share Datacom and IDMS data to non-z Systems platforms within and beyond the enterprise. “By replicating system of record data to other systems,” Teubner says, “customers can make it available at the lowest possible cost for all kinds of purposes – richer user experiences in Web and mobile apps, or near-realtime availability to business partners.” HostBridge Redis for z/OS is one more example of driving business value by breaking down barriers between systems of record, systems of differentiation, and systems of innovation.

HostBridge Technology

Stillwater, OK

Russ Teubner, CEO & Co-founder

Develops and delivers software products that integrate existing and emerging technologies within large organization.