ecKnowledge provides information for the Enterprise
The challenge facing the eCommerce and B2B world has been how to make
information available among business partners as quickly and easily as
possible, with a minimum of overhead cost and a maximum of flexibility.
Enter Casahl’s ecKnowledge 7.1, a new generation of software designed
to achieve the elusive solution of synthesis, integration and synergy
for information sharing. The new software, which is essentially an upgrade
to Replic-Action (RA) 6.0 with additional B2B functionalities and a new
XML connector, seeks to build collaborative peer networks to share information
within and between enterprises. The product fills this niche well.
Despite a somewhat lengthy list of requirements (including ODBC drivers
and messaging software), installation was straightforward and quite simple.
The software includes examples and samples; within a short time, everything
was up and running smoothly.
The well-written documentation includes a 100-page installation and configuration
booklet and a 350-page developer’s guide. The online help was adequate
and equally well organized.
ecKnowledge turns out to be nothing less than a powerful ASP-hostable
eBusiness solution that addresses collaboration, information exchange
and XML transaction requirements. The product allows the user to integrate
existing systems within a company and securely share information with
eBusiness partners and customers over the Internet. These Enterprise Peer
Networks are robust, flexible and resilient.
This collaboration framework also enables companies to collect information
from one or more locations, transport the information securely over a
data network, and consolidate it. The consolidator could be the headquarters
of a worldwide organization that gathers information from its multinational
offices or a regional office that collects data from its branches.
Among ecKnowledge’s more valuable capabilities are those that allow businesses
to send and receive information securely via the Internet. The product
lets you create publication, subscription and broadcast jobs.
A publication sends information across the Internet from one eBusiness
partner to another. The information can be formatted in either XML or
ecKnowledge’s own internal format. A broadcast is a publication with multiple
recipient partners. The Server Manager includes tracking for these job
Consolidation jobs allow users to gather information from multiple eBusiness
partner sites and consolidate it at a single location. This is a one-way
job that collects information, transports it to the consolidating partner’s
site (through communication protocols such as HTTP and FTP), and absorbs
(i.e. extracts and writes) the incoming data into a single target data
source on the consolidator’s site using a variety of formats (including
If flexible means being able to deal with a variety of environments,
applications, protocols, security models, servers and data sources, then
ecKnowledge isn’t merely flexible, it is double-jointed. In addition to
flexibility of communications, the system catalog and log can be stored
in SQL Server, Sybase ASE, Access, Lotus Notes, Exchange and Sybase System
10/11. LDAP can be used as a data source.
ecKnowledge works with existing enterprise security infrastructures and
doesn’t require changes to firewalls.
It’s unlikely that the average MCP is going to find a use for this product
on a home computer or in a workgroup environment. But having said that,
I’d be remiss in not pointing out that—in the burgeoning world of information
exchange and eCommerce—it won’t to be too long before we need to be familiar
with products in this class.
David W. Tschanz, Ph.D., MCSE, is author of the recent "Exchange Server 2007 Infrastructure Design: A Service-Oriented Approach" (Wiley, 2008), as well as co-author of "Mastering Microsoft SQL Server 2005" (Sybex, 2006). Tschanz is a regular contributor to Redmond magazine and operates a small IT consulting firm specializing in business-oriented infrastructure development.