At the foundation of any SIF deployment is a Zone Integration Server (ZIS). It is software, the invisible courier that reliably delivers information from one source to one or more destinations. Not blindly, but aware of the information objects that are of interest to the various applications, aware of what they're privileged to send and receive, and aware of the security requirements of each application's connections. Translating this awareness into enforced policies, it provides secure and reliable message broker services.
ZIServer is Visual Software's Zone Integration Server, built for today's needs and tomorrow's growth. Built using Microsoft's Entity Framework, Silverlight (for the administration utilities) and SQL Server, it is designed for flexibility, performance, scalability, auditability, manageability and security.
With the new ZIServer V7, we've added:
|Virtual ZIS Capabilities|
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Agent Viewers: This new user type is allowed to view information about a specified agent or agents, including limited agent information and the agent's audits, but does not have the ability to change anything.
Improved scalability: Our version 6 ZIServer product was by far the most scalable, high performance ZIS on the market - but for us, that wasn't good enough. Our Version 7 ZIServer back-end has gone through extensive performance testing and rewrites and our user-facing utilities have been completely re-written using Silverlight, providing a much more responsive and feature-rich user experience.
Visual Software has several current ZIServer customers with the need to support several hundreds to thousands of SIF zones simultaneously, millions of daily transactions and regularly browse through tens of millions of audit records; all from their single ZIS installation, and all of these zones are typically managed by a relatively small staff. For this reason, we've listened to their many recommendations and suggestions and come out with our newest administrative interface: ZIServer V7.
The ZIServer dashboard give administrators a quick overview of the health of the ZIS, how busy it has been lately, how the tunable parameters are set and, in general, how servers in the server farm are balanced (if this server participates in a load-balanced server farm).
Each of the dashboard's four panels can be maximized to either provide more detail (as with archetype libraries or with zone health) or provide system administrators the ability to override ZIServer's tunable parameters. The detailed view of the Zone Health panel displays agent health for each agent that has messages pending.
We have redesigned ZIServer's interface to support many thousands of SIF zones by making the list of zones a paged, scrollable list. When a zone is selected from the top list, the lower half of the screen updates to show:
When the '+' icon is pressed at the beginning of one of the zone rows, that row expands to show information for all of the agents in that zone. The lower half of the screen now becomes detail information for the selected agent in the agent list. For each agent, the lower screen display shows:
While a message is waiting, it can be viewed by pressing the hourglass icon at the end of its detail row. This will bring up a window that looks like this, displaying the message:
ZIServer is the only Zone Integration Server that has the capability to audit all message traffic and provide a user interface that allows its users to view and search the message repository. Some of the features of this interface are:
This interface has been designed to work efficiently with hundreds of thousands to millions of audit records and is user-account sensitive. If a zone administrator views this page, the audit records displayed will only be from agents in the zones that he or she is allowed to access. Similarly with Agent Viewers.
Normally when an audit message is viewed, it is displayed in a pop-up window. If the user drags that window to the side of the screen, it can be docked and the audit list will be resized accordingly.
If multiple messages are viewed simultaneously, the message window can be dragged (see below) to join an existing message to form an tab-card collection of such windows.
ZIServer is the only Zone Integration Server available to offer true high-availability capabilities in every sense. In both our Standard and Enterprise models, we offer configurations that allow our customers to set up their environments with full redundancy for both the database services and web components. We also support a remote disaster recover center model where the ZIServer implementation is split across two data centers in different cities for locations that may be prone to flooding or other natural challenges.
For more on high-availability ZIServer configurations, see "ZIServer at the Enterprise Level".