Published December 22, 1998
Volume 6, Number 12

ObjectStream Translates Between Worlds
Company Brings Telecom, Enterprise Technologies Together

By Jay Hipps
Network Editor

When archaeologists discovered the Rosetta Stone, it changed what we know about language. The relic contained the same written passage in three different languages, including ancient Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphics. It proved to be the key to unlocking the language of the Nile dwellers. 

Translating information from one language to another is a big part of ObjectStream's task. Instead of deciphering communications in ancient languages, however, the company translates information for people working in two worlds: telecommunications networking and enterprise networking. 

ObjectStream was founded in 1994 as a company to develop software to manage telecommunications networks. The company's initial development efforts led to the creation of ObjectStream Mediator, a technology that allows telecom network operators such as phone companies to use one software program to manage a network composed of different types of equipment. The company has filed a patent on this technology that translates information between network elements and applications. Naturally, they call it Rosetta. 

Rosetta's creation was the first step on what has proven to be a familiar plan for the company: creating tools that allow unrelated software and hardware components to speak to each other.

A Networking Convergence
In working with their customers in the telecommunications industry, the company became aware of a convergence between telecom networks, such as those traditionally used by the phone company to handle voice traffic, and enterprise networks like the Local Area Networks (LANs) found in most businesses. 

"In roughly the year 2000, there will be as much data traffic on telecom networks as there is voice traffic," notes ObjectStream CEO Jack Harrington. "Data traffic is growing at about 300 percent per year and voice traffic is growing about five percent a year. That means five years after the crossover point, about 95 percent of the network will be devoted to data. Telecom networks are going to look like huge LANs." 

Using just the pre-existing tools from the telecom networking side, this transition would have been daunting. Traditionally, separate systems were used to control the switches, routers, and transmission equipment that make up a telecommunications network. 

"ObjectStream software help manage all three types of devices at the same time, and then within each type, the product can handle a number of devices that's only limited by the processing power of the computer itself," explains Ken Croley, ObjectStream's executive director of product marketing. "It's a stunning development, frankly, in the telecommunications industry." 

Ken Croley, ObjectStream's executive director of product marketing, thinks that they've hit the target with their latest products.

The company's products don't stop there, however. "The biggest advantage is that you can add equipment from any vendor at any time. Previously, you could only add equipment from one vendor into a system, and it had to be of the same type of what was already installed. Now, you can have a network with equipment from the standard telecom equipment providers like Lucent and Nortel combined with equipment from the standard enterprise network providers like Cisco and 3Com, and manage that with one software system." 

ObjectStream's translation abilities are further showcased in their new products, introduced in early December. These two new tools ease the process of converting between old network information models to current, state-of-the-art visual models. 

Rose MIB Link and Rose GDMO Link allow for conversion of GDMO, ASN.1, and SNMP MIB files to Unified Modeling Language (UML) files. Rose Link works as an add-in to Rational Rose, the industry's leading visual modeling software. 

In layman's terms, the new products are the first tools that allow software developers to convert these traditional file formats to the UML visual modeling language. Using visual models allow software developers to use pictograms and flowcharts to build software systems, instead of writing line upon line of code. 

The pictograms are usually boxes, however — not hieroglyphics. 


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