VersaPath family geared to Web-to-host

The VersaPath family of integrated Web-to-host connectivity products increases flexibility and support for users, according to Kasten Chase Corp.

Dave Mulder, director of technology with Kasten Chase in Mississauga, Ont., said the crown jewel of the VersaPath family is its suite of clients.

VersaPath for the Desktop was originally known as IP Host Gateway in 1998, but has been re-released with enhanced centralized management capabilities and session security, the company said. VersaPath for Browser Client is based on ActiveX technology, and VersaPath for Citrix is designed for thin clients.

“All of the client types are concurrently supported by the same infrastructure…so you aren’t supporting and learning discrete systems…and another thing that’s common to all of the clients is end-to-end security, including the encryption,” Mulder said.

Configuration data is based on the user and not the user’s client type, which Mulder explained allows users to move from client to client without needing assistance from the IS manager. Furthermore, Mulder said user preferences are saved with the configuration and migrate with the user as well.

Mulder said Kasten Chase went with ActiveX for the browser client because it allowed more functionality than Java.

“Typically, if you move to a browser client, particularly where the browser client is Java, you have to give up a certain number of services…like host printing or host file transfer because Java didn’t implement device access in the script language, but ActiveX does,” Mulder said.

The VersaPath family also includes support and management tools with features such as remote monitoring, statistic reports, and remote control capabilities over the various clients.

“We’ve embedded remote-control-style management right into our client software,” Mulder said. “If a user enables remote support…the network support people can actually open a session back through the network and, in real time, see what the user is seeing and be able to type on their screen.”

VersaPath Gateway connects the legacy host with the IP network without requiring change to either side, Mulder said.

“It connects to each of those in their native protocol and then sits in the middle between the two,” he said.

Other members of the family include VersaPath Developer’s Kit, which allows creation of customized applications using ActiveX technology, and VersaPath NetMinder, which is specifically designed for large organizations as an enterprise management tool that actively monitors gateway and traffic conditions, the company said.

Cindy Borovick, a research manager with International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass., said some of VersaPath’s security features are slightly ahead of other vendors, but noted that Kasten Chase is up against some tough competition in the intranet arena.

“They’re competing against Attachmate and IBM and Wall Data…The challenge that lays ahead is the market for these products so far has been very much in the intranet, and there are established players in the intranet such as IBM and Attachmate,” Borovick said.

But Borovick said the e-commerce and extranet side of Web-to-host is a “wide open field” in which Kasten Chase has more opportunity to carve itself a market.

VersaPath prices range from US$15,555 for a 128-user version of VersaPath for the Desktop, to US$33,330 for a 240-user version of VersaPath for Browser Client.

Kasten Chase in Mississauga, Ont., is at (905) 238-6900 or on-line at