Briefing: Business Services Network

Grand Central Business Services Network
starting at $25,000
Grand Central
San Francisco, California
(415) 344-3200

New technologies provoke new opportunities, and service oriented architecture (SOA) is no different. This past week I talked to the folks from Grand Central about their offerings in this space. Their basic goal is to be the phone company of SOA exchanges between different corporations. They provide a centrally hosted switchboard and a set of services designed to make it easy to tie your business into their network.

The basic idea here is pretty simple. First, before you hook up with Grand Central, you need to figure out which of your applications to expose and what sort of interfaces to use. You can use a variety of protocols here, including Web services, but you're not limited to the latest and greatest - they also support everything from FTP transfers to older EDI protocols. Grand Central supplies the secure messaging goo to tie your services into their network.

Once you're tied in, you can use Grand Central's own BPEL tools to set up business processes. These are all hosted at Grand Central's own servers, so you don't have to worry about setting up your own orchestration engine. Use their directory to publicize your services, or invite your own business partners on board, and you can start doing business.

Recent advances include the ability to set up a private interface so that your services (and their confidential data) do not travel over the public Internet and AS2 certification. If you'd like to see what it's all about, you can register at their Web site and get up to 25MB per month of data transfer for free. Once you get up and running, actual pricing is usage-based.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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