Web-Access Required for Business-Critical Host Application
To manage a complex manufacturing and inventory environment, E.Miroglio deploys a production management application. This is based on an IBM mainframe which moved to an AIX UNIX environment some years ago. E.Miroglio’s distributed workforce of over 500 users of the solution accessed this through a host communication and terminal emulation package.
Maurizio Chiavazza, IT Manager with E.Miroglio, explains the challenge they faced: “Our terminal emulation solution had some functional limitations that were becoming an issue for us. It is very difficult to track and control user licenses, which resulted in critical users being denied access, negatively affecting productivity. We also really needed a web-based access solution, to support our sales people when they are closing orders with clients, and our plant managers when they are on the factory floor taking inventory. Lastly, the vendor has outsourced development and maintenance of the terminal emulation solution, and we have concerns about the future roadmap for the solution.”
Having successfully worked with Micro Focus in the recent past when Micro Focus Enterprise Developer and Micro Focus Enterprise Server were deployed to create a local test and development environment in Italy, the team turned to them for a host connectivity solution. Micro Focus Reflection Desktop makes host applications as easy to use as Office applications, delivering familiar and modern user-interface elements. And, crucial to E.Miroglio’s requirements, Micro Focus Host Access for the Cloud delivers browser-based access from any location. It provides HTML5 access to the 3270-based E.Miroglio application without the need to manage workstation dependencies, or install Java runtime environments.
Enhanced Flexibility, Security, and Ease-of-Use
“A quick proof-of-concept soon convinced us,” says Chiavazza. “Within a couple of hours it was clear that Micro Focus could enable centralized management for our desktop and Web-based users. The native HTML5 emulator gave us a zero footprint option and flexibility for over 100 users who had not been able to access the system before. We knew from our positive previous experience that the support we would receive from Micro Focus would ensure a successful outcome, so the decision was made.”
By teaming the host connectivity solutions with Micro Focus Host Access Management and Security Server (MSS), E.Miroglio can take centralized control of all host access operations. Users log onto MSS first, which is integrated into the organization’s LDAP directory for additional authentication. This directly enhances the inheritly weak security provided by the standard eight-character mainframe password and supports efforts to comply with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR.
Reflection Desktop features a screen history function which is particularly helpful when host connectivity users require support. In the previous solution they would need to manually extract and save the steps they took in the run-up to an error occurring, for support colleagues to gain a good understanding of the issue. All screen history is stored in Reflection Desktop, and can easily be exported in a convenient format so that it can be shared for support purposes, saving much time all around.
License Transparency Improves User Productivity
Chiavazza soon noticed another benefit: “The Micro Focus host connectivity solution has a sophisticated license logging function embedded within it. This really helped us gain a transparent and real-time view on what users are active on our system, be it via Reflection Desktop or Host Access for the Cloud. No more confusion or users being denied essential access to complete tasks.”
He concludes: “By partnering with Micro Focus we were able to extend our production management system to remote users, who can access it using a variety of devices, including Apple Mac and any smart mobile device. This saves us time and ensures the system is kept updated at all times, improving our response time to the business. We are pleased to take central control of the management of all host connectivity activities, while adding more secure access and providing our users with timesaving features. Micro Focus supported us all the way with a clear roadmap for their host connectivity solutions.”