With SecureTransport 5.2.1 being out of support on July 2020, we are seeing a large number of customers taking the opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of SecureTransport 5.4 this year.
SecureTransport 5.4 great features!
After seven years of support, it’s somewhat sad but also rewarding to see this long-time version slowly moving out of business. With SecureTransport 5.4 there are so many great features and enhancements, that is our goal, to help all customers upgrading to the latest version and educate them on how to take advantage of all the new features.
An extensive list of enhancements done in the version between 5.2.1 and 5.4 (5.4, 5.3.6, 5.3.3, 5.3.1 or 5.3.0) can be found in all individual Release notes (conveniently linked behind each version number here). Just to name a few of them…
- Advanced Routing as SecureTransport’s intelligent routing engine
- SecureTransport’s ReST API v1.4 for administrators and end-users provides a great potential to integrate into various ways with the product
- Custom Advanced Routing steps allow you to create and execute native Java exits in the safe context of a Route Package
- Pluggable Transfer Sites to safely enhance the way SecureTransport can send and receive files
- Pluggable authentication and authorization provides a safe integration point to use custom methods and logics when authentication to SecureTransport
- New connectors (e.g., Syncplicity, SMB, S3, Google Drive, SharePoint, Hadoop), authentication plugins (e.g., Radius, LDAP for Admins, Login Certificate Validation, OAuth) are available and updated through Axway’s Marketplace
- New User Web Client enhancement to support HTML5
- On-demand folder sharing through the new Web Client performed by end-users
- ICAP server integration in file transfer processes to ensure data loss prevention and anti-virus scanning
- File archiving for all transfer types helps to define global or user-based rules for archiving
- Manageable through Central Governance and Flow Central
Benefits from new features
Besides benefiting from all the new features, another major goal for Axway and its customers is to move away from complicated support and maintenance models around previous customizations delivered for individual customers. “Move customers from their islands back to the mainland.” Many customers were and are still stuck on that island because of customization that cannot be easily migrated to newer versions of SecureTransport.
Our MFT Customer Success Organization team takes great efforts in helping customers on that journey. Alone in this year, we have helped nearly 30 customers to upgrade from 5.2.1 to 5.4 with most of them live or targeting to be production-ready by the end of October.
READ MORE: Managed File Transfer advantages.
At least half a dozen more customers are expected to be fully upgraded by the end of this year. Most customers are coming from the legacy version 5.2.1, but a few have even been upgraded from older versions such as 4.7 or 4.9.
Looking at customers from various industries such as pharmaceutics, healthcare, energy provider or governmental departments, etc. we see many small success stories for each of them.
Many of them not only took advantage of new features introduced with the most recent version of SecureTransport but also took the opportunity to upgrade their operating system, move away from physical or virtual appliances or even move to Axway’s Managed Cloud service.
All of them can now benefit from functionalities available in 5.4 after upgrading. One long-standing customer could finally extend the usage of ST’s Web Client for their end-users by offering ad-hoc folder sharing based on custom address books. They are also planning to use Advanced Routing to implement e-mail notifications based on various routing and sharing events.
Another long-standing customer stuck on 5.2.1 because of their ExTRA implementation, was eagerly awaiting their completion of the upgrade to benefit from security enhancements and fixes delivered in SecureTransport 5.4. They can now control cipher suits per partner when necessary. This allows to open up certain unsecure ciphers for only some partners that might still work on older systems.
And most importantly, they can now apply every patch without awaiting validation against their custom ExTRA accelerator. Several customers were able to redesign their file transfer architecture by utilizing SMB Transfer Sites (available and regularly updated through Axway’s Marketplace) to facilitate transfers to and from Windows shares. Also available through the Marketplace is the Amazon S3 Storage connector, which opened up the future plan to route all AWS S3 traffic through SecureTransport for one of the upgraded customers.
Many customers were eager to use LDAP authentication for administrators without the hustle of going through additionally licensed plugins delivered by Axway’s Tactical R&D group for SecureTransport versions 5.2.1 or lower.
Other customers were able to replace a various number of custom scripts for e.g., compression, archiving or line ending conversion or email notifications using out of the box Advanced Routing capabilities. This allows to remove any script maintenance and validation against each new version and also grants full visibility in SecureTransport’s file tracking and Axway’s Sentinel Monitoring application.
The main challenges for most upgrades were and still are migrating customized Transaction Manager rules to 5.4 out of the box features, as well as migrating Extended Routing Application (ExTRA) to the newly (since ST version 5.3.x) introduced Advanced Routing capabilities.
For the first challenge, the project team needed to work closely with the customer to analyze the existing functionality of the customs rules and then to find the best strategy and approach for a smooth migration without impacting existing use cases and integration points and of course, limit manual – mostly error-prone and slow – work.
For the second challenge, an in-house transition tool developed and maintained by Axway’s special force R&D team they are of great help to successfully migrate customers using ExTRA. This migration tool is used to accelerate the conversion and identify gaps and manual adaption of use cases.
For both challenges, SecureTransport’s own ReST API was utilized to automate migration tasks such as mass creating or updating Route parameters, updating Transfer Sites with newly available attributes, disable User Accounts or any other tasks that would help to convert old features into new 5.4 features.
Even for customers without of the box deployments, an upgrade can become complicated considering the several version jumps from 5.2.1 to 5.4 (we are talking about at least a six- or seven-year period). To help minimize any human errors in calculating the number of upgrade steps, Patches, Service Packs and Upgrade Packs the Upgradationator or also known as SecureTransport Upgrade Bot is accessible for all humans logging in to Axway Sphere.
Even after a successful upgrade, there are still a lot of customers who do not utilize and take full advantage of new features that would not only ease some pains on their side but might open new possibilities and use cases or even create additional business for the customer.
It is on us to help those customers to see the value in what they have already in front of them and be more than just an SME. We can be a Trusted Advisor by understanding the customer’s pain points and potential and show the value of our AMPLIFY MFT solution even if this goes beyond the task of a simple upgrade.
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Send us an e-mail with your upgrade request! ST.Upgrade.Request@axway.com