Unisys Corp’s new Communications Access Processor, which enables Unix servers to plug into SNA networks built around IBM Corp mainframes (CI No 2,034), has a rival in the form of Halkey from Melbourne, Australia-based Haltek Pty Ltd. Process Logistics, a division of Milton Keynes-based Ranzau Trading Ltd, is to distribute the 18-month-old product exclusively in […]
Unisys Corp’s new Communications Access Processor, which enables Unix servers to plug into SNA networks built around IBM Corp mainframes (CI No 2,034), has a rival in the form of Halkey from Melbourne, Australia-based Haltek Pty Ltd. Process Logistics, a division of Milton Keynes-based Ranzau Trading Ltd, is to distribute the 18-month-old product exclusively in the UK and Europe. The company claims that the VTAM-based software application is both easier to install and cheaper than the Unisys product, as well as being transparent to users. The product links into RACF and ACF/2 mainframe security controls, and uses the normal 370 mainframe print spooling system. It is aimed both at customers that want to downsize their IBM and compatible 370 mainframes and those that cannot afford to replace or duplicate their existing networks. Halkey resides on a 370 mainframe. It controls and processes communications between 3270 terminals on an SNA network, and both synchronous and asynchronous Unix processors, VAX, Pick and Prime computers. It takes up a single address space on the mainframe, and has no direct links to the operating system. Halkey converts the data stream transparently, so from any point on the network, the user can simply select his desired application from a menu, no matter where that application is situated in the system. The Unix processor treats the mainframe terminal as if it were an ASCII screen. Likewise the ASCII network uses the Unix machine to access mainframe applications. Halkey handles log-on security procedures, and can be configured to permit access to authorised users only; the applications menu is user-specific and shows only those applications that the user is authorised to access. Up to 46 programmable function keys are provided, and can be configured to suit individual applications. Halkey also supports full-colour screens. The Halkey product cannot deal with a heterogeneous Unix environment. For this, an ASCII protocol convertor is needed. Alternatively, Haltek’s Halink can be used on a dedicated RS/6000. Halink resides on the processor, and automatically routes data between the mainframe and the different Unix processors or networks. The Halkey and Halink products together cost between ?14,750 for 16 concurrent users and ?61,750 for 96 concurrent users and above. Halkey alone costs 30% less. Australian customers include American Express Co, British Petroleum Co Plc, National Mutual, and Canon Inc. Process Logistics launched the product here last month, but it has made no sales to date. It is currently looking for other distributors in continental Europe.