Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 10 • November 2000
Plumtree Software Introduces Corporate Portal 4.0

Plumtree Software, Inc. has announced the release of Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.0, featuring the new Massively Parallel Portal Engine. According to the company, this engine processes user requests for corporate information and applications from a wide variety of computers in parallel, offering customers improvements in scalability, openness, and fault-tolerance.

Based on the new Plumtree Portal Network Architecture, the Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.0 empowers a network of more than 100 customers, 25 technology alliance members, and 50 systems integrators to share information and services between portals and with other platforms and devices. The release also offers customers a new community-user experience and enterprisewide manageability for administrators, including lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) support.

“Plumtree’s synchronization with our LDAP directory of nearly 100,000 users allows us to bring new users online without creating a duplicate set of administrative processes,” said Dan Gerbus, corporate project manager at Procter & Gamble. “In addition, major improvements to the user interface offer users the flexibility they have been asking for. Features like multiple MyPages and communities allow Procter & Gamble to design a portal that delivers information and applications in a much more efficient manner than version 3.0.”

Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.0 is powered by the Massively Parallel Portal Engine, a patent-pending technology for assembling information and services from other systems in parallel. The portal integrates these resources as Plumtree Portal Gadgets, distributed portal components that embed key information and services from enterprise applications and Internet sites. Designed to support global deployments with hundreds of thousands of users requesting information and services from thousands of sources, the Massively Parallel Portal Engine integrates gadgets operating on separate computers, which simultaneously prepare information or services to embed in each user’s portal page.

“Massively parallel portals will become a requirement for large organizations seeking to scale access to their critical applications while maintaining performance,” said Thomas Koulopoulos, president of Delphi Group. “The Plumtree Portal Network Architecture is ideal for the increasingly demanding distributed enterprise and business-to-business applications that today’s portal solutions are being built for.”

The Massively Parallel Portal Engine communicates with gadgets on computers separate from the main portal server via HyperText Transfer Protocol (http). To support interactive gadgets, Plumtree has developed a unique approach for embedding gadget commands in http headers, which brokers dynamic Web services between gadgets and the main portal server. Processing gadgets on separate computers precludes them from interfering with the main portal server and with one another, isolating slow-running or faulty gadgets to improve scalability and reliability.

The Internet-based architecture of this release allows the customers and partners in the Plumtree Portal Network to share portal resources with one another, and with other businesses, platforms, and devices. This architecture, known as the Plum-tree Portal Network Architecture, connects customers and partners using the following technologies:

These technologies allow separate business units within a company and separate businesses within an industry to work closely together.

Because the portal communicates with gadgets via Internet standards, Plumtree’s customers and partners can host gadgets on the Internet that are available to other customers, or to the entire Plumtree Portal Network. As a result, each new customer can draw on a set of shared services and distribute its own resources to a broad range of businesses in the network. Moreover, by hosting gadgets, Plumtree partners can contribute electronic services to any Plumtree deployment without requiring customers to install the associated software. The same technology allows customers to share resources between portal deployments within a large organization, supporting global scalability.

The Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.0 also features networked search—the ability to search other portals in the Plumtree Portal Network in parallel and, through the development of plug-in search components, other search indexes available on local networks and the Internet. With this capability, Plumtree Corporate Portal users can access in one search all the documents in their own portal, an Autonomy document index, a portal deployed in another department, and Google’s index of Internet content. As a result, companies can incorporate external sources of information into an expansive virtual knowledge base.

In addition, this new release includes a new, extensible security scheme, with the ability to synchronize user and group affiliations from a wide variety of user directories via plug-in components known as Plumtree Authentication Providers. Plum-tree Corporate Portal 4.0 also offers automatic security mirroring to match the security of documents in the portal index to that of the original documents, easing maintenance for large-scale deployments.

 “Our mission is to bring together all of a business’ electronic assets and to project those to a broader audience than has traditionally been able to benefit from computers,” said John Kunze, Plumtree’s CEO. “The Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.0’s Massively Parallel Portal Engine can assemble resources quickly and reliably, and the network creates a vast pool of resources from which each deployment can draw.”

Source: Plumtree Software, Inc., San Francisco, 415/263-8900;

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