Gcom Success Story

The first Gcom ISA-based (and, shortly thereafter, PCI-based) board and software stack solution quickly established itself as a solid, low-maintenance, high-performing enabler for some of VISA’s largest banks. The unexpected surprise was the new PCI VAP’s speed. Gcom’s new board and stack technology was so fast that many banks began to happily recognize that they could replace many PS/2-based VAPs with one of the new PCI VAPs. The other bonus was the reduced system complexity and the recovery of expensive computer floor space.

Based on the SNA and X.25 successes, VISA approached Gcom again to see if they could help with the legacy bi-sync protocol. As good as the new PCI VAP was, it was limited in its potential rollout. VISA members still needed to talk to the VISA VAPs using the bi-sync protocol. Despite VISA’s desire to move to an all-IP solution, the reality was that many members, for mostly technical reasons, could not migrate to IP as quickly as VISA had hoped. Fortunately, Gcom had the requisite access to graybeard talent who still remembered bi-sync. They were able to quickly integrate bi-sync capability into its standard product without compromising the architecture of its SNA and X.25 implementations.

From an architecture vantage point this would normally be a very complex undertaking. However, since Dave Grothe had based his company’s product architecture on STREAMS technology, the change was just a SMOP, i.e. small matter of programming. With all three legacy protocols available from one vendor and housed in a single PCI VAP, VISA was now well positioned to continue its migration off of the PS/2 VAP and onto the PCI VAP for its worldwide members. This migration to the PCI VAP is still going on and, with the exception of the VISA USA region, it is essentially complete.

Today, Gcom is well positioned as one of the few one stop shopping vendors in the industry. In 1997, Dave wrote STREAMS for Linux and is now the official maintainer of the software (LiS). Applying this technology, Gcom can configure a migration to an all IP backbone processing model while allowing customers (using the legacy protocols of X.25, SNA and bisync) to operate transparently during the migration to IP. Word is spreading about Gcom’s technical expertise and flexibility with synchronous data communication protocols. This little giant is now a major player in the protocol software industry.