It has upgraded the core software that manages connections inside the hub to Grand Central 4.0.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

January 9, 2004

2 Min Read

Grand Central Communications Inc. has upgraded its offering of a Web-services hub as an online-integration service, upgrading the core software that manages connections inside the hub to Grand Central 4.0.

Grand Central was co-founded in 2000 by Halsey Minor, shortly after he resigned as CEO of technology news publisher Cnet. Although other startups, such as Hubspan Inc. and Viacore Inc., offer online hubs as an integration service, they're oriented toward a single company integrating many partners. Grand Central is a many-to-many integration service meant to substitute for expensive in-house integration packages.

"We build the whole integration software stack," Minor says. Grand Central 4.0 supports subscribers to the service making many connectivity decisions on their own through self-service tools.

"A partner uses Grand Central as a point of entry into different services. [Users] have broad visibility across many different services," such as Simple Object Access Protocol messaging, connectivity to BEA Systems' WebLogic or IBM's WebSphere application servers, or links to Microsoft's BizTalk XML server, he says.

In Grand Central 4.0, customers may choose from a Public Directory Service of resources available online, including the Security and Exchange Commission's Edgar database, fax services, and XML Stylesheet Language Transformation, which converts an XML document from one format to another.

The Grand Central integration service is available free to developers, who are limited to using 25 Mbytes of memory per month. Prices for business integration services range from $25,000 a year to $500,000 a year and up, Palmeri said. Each company registers its preferred way of communicating, and Grand Central 4.0 builds intelligent links between the two parties as requested, with reliable messaging guaranteed. It can link to either Java or Microsoft .Net platforms, says Ron Palmeri, VP for strategy.

"We let them meet in the middle. If a service is not operating, that's somebody else's problem, not yours," Minor says.

Business partners can map out shared business processes, since Grand Central 4.0 supports Business Process Execution Language 1.1. Business processes may be wired together using a drag-and-drop graphical user interface tool, ProcessExpress, that eliminates the need for programmer coding to achieve business process workflows and routing, Palmeri says.

Another business-process-orchestration tool included in the updated integration hub is BPL4e, or Business Process Execution Language For Everything, which Palmeri says is the first commercial implementation of BPEL 1.1. BPEL4e allows business processes to be extended and made more secure as a network service.

Grand Central includes a rich-client-development environment, Palmeri says, so customers may aggregate Web services into a single page browser window.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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