Networks do an incredible amount of work. It may not seem like it, but it’s true. The amount of data transmitted over a network in the normal course of a workday is incredible. For the most part, we don’t notice all the traffic. Information moves quickly and freely over the network, programs access data, and all we have to do, in many cases, is make sure the Ethernet cable is plugged into the machine we’re using. For small organizations, making a seamless system is pretty painless, but with large organizations host integration services are required.
There is a bit of a double meaning to the term “Host Integration Services.” In once sense this refers to an automated service provided by a server, but it also refers to the process of setting up such a service. Host integration is the practice of streamlining the communication and data transfer traffic on a network and integrating disparate elements of an organization’s resource into a common interface.
If that sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Technology is always advancing, and most producers of office applications try to keep their software integrated and standardized so that the various applications can work together. However, not every new generation of a software application is an improvement and there are many reasons why an organization might want to stick with older, proven technology is some cases, while shifting to the new cutting-edge technology in other cases. That means getting all the elements of your business systems integrated can be difficult.
This can also present problems in terms of network architecture. Different types of programs use network resources in different ways. Generally, developers try to keep things as separate as possible to avoid unforeseen conflicts, but it’s impossible to anticipate all eventualities. In large organizations, it’s easy to end up with dramatically increase loads on network resources and conflicts that arise from the incorrect prioritization of different types of traffic.
This is where host integration servers some into play. In terms of software, the point of such a system is to act as a bridge between all the disparate host applications dispersed over a network and to integrate them into one common access point that can be configured to properly prioritize traffic and workflow, improving network efficiency and making tasks simpler in the process.
The current trend in host integration services is to focus on making business information web-ready. Mobilizing information, formatting it in a way that it can be securely accessed from remote locations or transmitted to external business partners can create new prospects for an organization while increasing the productivity of established project.
Host integration services are available from several different companies, both in terms of the necessary server technology and configuration. These are enterprise-level applications, the architecture of which is extremely complex, and so generally the installation and configuration of the systems is part of the overall package. Microsoft and IBM are two of the leading contenders in this arena. IBM in particular offers both the physical technology and comprehensive consultation services.