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Integrating with the DataPower XI50

Sep 01, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* DataPower’s latest: the XI50

We have covered DataPower here in this newsletter a couple of times (see editorial links below), looking at its XA35 XML Accelerator and its XS40 XML Security Gateway. Today, we’ll take a quick look at its latest device, the DataPower XI50 Integration Appliance.

The XI50 is a diskless appliance-style device that provides “any-to-any” transformations covering a wide range of binary, text and XML formats, including COBOL Copybook, CORBA, CICS, ISO 8583, ASN.1 and EDI. The device also supports lightweight protocol-independent message brokering, integrated message-level security, fine-grained access control, and support for several transport protocols including IBM MQSeries.

The XI50 includes visual tools to help business analysts configure format descriptors, mappings and message choreography.

DataPower provides something the company calls “Data Oriented Programming” or DOP, which it distinguishes from the “adapter” technology that other vendors use to interface their products to other protocols and XML formats. DataPower’s argument is that adapters require reprogramming every time a format changes.

According to the company, the DataPower XI50 XML Integration Appliance DOP technology provides a simpler alternative: “For each data format, a single format descriptor can be created using an easy-to-use visual tool, then mappings can be created among different formats. All the information can be stored in metadata text files, eliminating the need for costly coding and recoding. Format changes only require changes to centrally stored text files, greatly simplifying management.”

This method is certainly flexible, but using data descriptions requires generalized parsing and rewriting on the fly, which usually incurs a significant performance penalty. DataPower claims that its DataGlue technology makes the data description approach practical and involves little or no performance penalty.

The DataPower XI50 starts at $50,000.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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