Making the case for XML hardware

While XML is primarily a software technology, DataPower Technology Inc., Cambridge, Mass., offers a vision of hardware for processing XML, especially in Web services applications.

''We have a core belief that XML is very verbose, it's very heavy and difficult to process,'' said Kieran Taylor, director of product management for a network box called the XS40 XML Security Gateway, which DataPower announced this week. He said this is a ''first-of-its-kind network device'' designed specifically to ''parse, validate schema, decrypt, verify signatures, transform, sign and encrypt XML message flows with wirespeed performance.''

This is the second XML hardware device developed by the privately held start-up company founded in 1999. Last May, DataPower announced an XML accelerator for speeding processing. Taylor said his company believes it is on the leading edge of a trend toward the greater use of hardware in XML applications.

''We believe that XML processing isn't going to occur in software; it's going to migrate to hardware devices that provide acceleration, security and management,'' he said. ''There are historical precedents for this. If you hearken back to the early days of routers, the initial IP routers were built on Unix DSD. If you look at Web servers, they used to provide load balancing, SSL and caching functionality. That has now migrated into hardware devices. The same thing will happen with XML processing. You'll have dedicated devices to do acceleration, security and management of XML.''

To prove that XML hardware has a place in Web services applications, DataPower also announced this week that its XML security box has been selected for a major auto dealer credit system. That application is being developed by RouteOne LLC, a joint venture of DaimlerChrysler Services, Ford Motor Credit Company, GMAC and Toyota Financial Services, Taylor said.

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About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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