IBM targets middleware at 7,000 banks

IBM has announced a middleware suite that aims to provide financial institutions with a method of moving to Internet-based...

IBM has announced a middleware suite that aims to provide financial institutions with a method of moving to Internet-based payments and settlements.

WebSphere Financial Network Integrator will become available in the second half of the year, offering public-key infrastructure (PKI) authentication services and IBM MQSeries adapters that enable legacy back-office applications to link with new XML applications.

The need for the shift arises from a move by Belgium-based banking organisation SWIFT s from its mainframe/Unix-dependent X.25 messaging standards to a Web-based system by 2005. More than 7,000 financial institutions use SWIFT's messaging service for overnight payment clearance.

IBM has supported SWIFT's existing messaging platform with its Message Entry and Routing with Interfaces to Various Applications system, known as MERVA, for more than 20 years.

The new middleware is designed to take those customers and graft Web capabilities on top of the existing infrastructure.

In particular, IBM will handle the trust services and authentication required to complete online transactions on its own systems.

"We will not expect the customer to install any more PKI in order to use the system," said Melanie Rose, director of solutions technology development at IBM.

IBM is not the first company in this space. Omgeo and the Global Straight Through Processing Association in Zurich have also been designing systems to synchronise IP-based financial trades with legacy systems.

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