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CROSS-PLATFORM CONNECTIVITY

This client was using a Cray Computer, an IBM RISC System/6000, a NetWare file server, and PCs to perform architectural studies for bridge and highway designs.  The IBM RS/6000 created these design drawings in conjunction with the Cray Computer.  To print these drawings in color, the IBM RS/6000 generated and saved PostScript graphics to a diskette that required an outside printing service at a cost of $35 per copy.  The client wanted to use an in-house Cannon color copier to perform the same task.

To attach the copier to the network, a front-end processor was required, which only operated on an AppleTalk network. Since the IBM RS/6000 communicated using TCP/IP only, and NetWare communicated using IPX/SPX only, a significant networking challenge was presented.

The solution involved attaching all units via Ethernet, and using the NetWare server to translate IPX/SPX and TCP/IP to AppleTalk.  This enabled the front-end processor to drive the color copier output from all workstations and PCs.  As a bonus, the network was customized to allow UNIX workstations to print to NetWare printers, PCs to send output to UNIX printers and plotters, and file transfers among all platforms on the network.

The TNS solution resulted in a substantial cost reduction where the cost per color page was reduced from $35.00 down to $0.50. Subsequently, the hosting platform was moved from NetWare to Windows NT, where the same services are now being provided at the same reduced rate.

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