Adobe Announces Dynamic Documents for Solaris Servers

By Wayne Kawamoto (Send Email)
Posted Oct 22, 2002


Adobe Systems officials say they have closed the loop in electronic documentation with three server products announced Monday. Adobe Systems officials claim they have closed the loop in electronic documentation with three new server products that run on Solaris. The Adobe Form Server, Workflow Server, and Central Output Server are scheduled to hit the market by year end.

The Adobe Form Server, Workflow Server, and Central Output Server are designed to dramatically decrease a businesses paper flow and improve efficiency. Officials said the equipment, available in rack-mount or stand-alone form, will be available to the public toward the end of the year. Currently, several companies are finishing up beta tests of the products.

"We are helping people work with paperwork in a more efficient way. Because it is still a paradigm in the currency of business; it's not likely it will ever really go away, but people are using it smarter and only when they need to," said Julie McEntee, Adobe director of product management for server products said.

She said the new server products will put an end to the "ad hoc" creation of e-documentation as well as the use of many different vendors to create the same solution these three servers incorporate.

Using the Document Server, in-house developers can create programs to dynamically update reports, graphs, and other types of .pdf files. The technology is relatively language-agnostic; developers can generate scripts in Java, Perl, COM and Web services platforms using SOAP. XML-FO scripts are also acceptable.

The servers will run on Solaris and Windows NT. The following are the system requirements:

Solaris

  • Sun UltraSPARC IIi 440 MHz processor or faster (Enterprise 280R with two 750 MHz UltraSPARC III recommended)
  • 512 MB of RAM per CPU (1 GB recommended)
  • RAM size plus 256 MB of swap disk space
  • 350 MB available on hard drive
  • CD ROM drive
  • Separate versions of the server will be available for mySAP and Oracle users

Windows NT

  • Intel Pentium III 500 MHz or faster
  • 512 MB of RAM per CPU (1 GB recommended)
  • 256 MB of available RAM
  • RAM size plus 256 MB of swap disk space
  • 350 MB available on hard drive
  • CD ROM drive

Officials said the training time to get a system administrator or mid-level IT staffer up to speed to handle the servers' day-to-day administration is small, normally around two days. Setup time depends on the amount of integration points within the company.

Pricing for the Adobe servers isn't cheap. McEntee said the servers will run between $10,000 to $75,000 per CPU. But the return on investment makes the servers worthwhile, even in today's economic environment and IT belt-tightening.

"The customers we've beta-tested, they're able to have real financial impact on their operations," she said. "The ability to save money and to reduce the amount of people it takes to execute a particular task, not to mention the customer support improvement."

Adobe's biggest customer, in terms of an organization needing the most help, is the U.S. government. The Government Paper Elimination Act, part of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, gave federal agencies five years to implement technology to reduce paperwork and accept digital signatures.

The Internal Revenue Service is one of Adobe's beta testers. While officials said they would not comment on the status of something they are beta testing, the potential benefits in one area of Adobe's e-document upgrade could have huge ramifications.

An enhancement to the Acrobat Reader, the popular application used to read .pdf files, will allow users to fill out e-documents and return them. Using digital signature technology, as well as redundant validation security checks, makes electronic forms traffic possible.

"Organizations are quickly recognizing the limitation of business processes that do not bring together highly structured data with unstructured, document-based information," said David Yockelson, an executive vice president at research firm Meta Group. "In particular, governments and highly regulated industries that rely on documents to be reliably secured, shared, viewed, and printed will look to solutions that help them automate documents in the systematic way they've addressed deploying enterprise applications."

Microsoft has something similar in the works with its XDocs application, which will be integrated with the upcoming Office 11 package.

Adobe officials, however, aren't overly concerned about Microsoft's foray into dynamic e-documents.

"The market share and the value proposition of .pdf has been very strong across the market sectors," McEntee said. "We have over 300 government agencies, 1,200 financial institutions; most people understand that Adobe's value proposition and value adds are not just forms - they extend to many types of documents."

She also said the introduction of more XML-based applications makes the industry as a whole better, with Microsoft bringing more awareness of the technology to the community.

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