EDI Hardware And Infrastructure: Operating System & Servers
EDI hardware and infrastructure setup can range from a personal computer with internet access to a mainframe supercomputer depending on the processing requirements. It is important that all EDI software components (e.g. not just the translator) follow the same standards of appropriately selecting hardware and infrastructure environments. In extremely sophisticated EDI implementations, the EDI components may be separated into multiple servers, for example the communications software will reside on a different machine from the translator software.
Most EDI software packages support multiple operating systems. The most popular environments are: Windows Servers, Unix/Linux, and IBM based mainframes such as the AS/400 and MVS. The operating system of choice should be determined by the company’s IT department infrastructure. For example, if a company is a Microsoft shop, and uses Windows servers and network stations and Microsoft SQL Server databases it would not make sense to install an EDI solution based on a UNIX environment. On the other hand, if the company’s infrastructure is based on a UNIX environment with an ORACLE database as a backend, it would not make sense to implement EDI in a Microsoft environment. Some software vendors imply that UNIX and Mainframe environments are more dependable for heavy volume data processing. In a large size organization, the EDI solution installation, the EDI software package and its related components will be installed on two or three separate server environments:
- Development/Sandbox – Safe place for creating and testing implementations without affecting the production environment. For example, software patches or upgrades can be tested here before applying them to the test or production servers to check how they will affect the overall EDI environment.
- QA/Test/Staging – The QA server can be used as a safe area to build, compile and test new EDI maps before applying them to production. The QA environment can also be a staging area to test transactions with new trading partners.
- Production – The production environment is where the day-to-day EDI operations are running. This environment should be locked down and no changes should be made to production without going through proper change control and quality assurance methods.
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