Brokat


Brokat

Brokat AG was a software company based in Stuttgart, Germany. Former names were BROKAT Informationssysteme GmbH and BROKAT Systems. It was founded and led by Stefan Roever.

The company was first headquartered in Böblingen, Germany and it moved to nearby Stuttgart in December 1997.

Origins

Brokat developed mostly banking-related software and provided professional services mainly to financial institutions. Brokat was known for its encryption server and applet technology named XPresso, which made strong encryption (128bit symmetric) available without US (especially NSA) interference. Brokat sold its software to many large financial institutions mainly in Europe, especially Germany.

In addition to providing systems to established institutions, Brokat also created solutions for startup companies. A prominent example for the latter is Cortal Consors.The company tried to get in the middleware software business by developing the application server Twister. Twister was the base technology for nearly all customized solutions implemented by Brokat.

After completing acquisitions of several smaller companies, Brokat was caught in the bust of the dot-com bubble and declared bankruptcy in 2001. [ [http://www.itworld.com/App/441/IDG011126brokat/ Brokat declares insolvency] ITworld.com 11/26/01 ]

During the liquidation, the engineering core was spun off as [http://www.encorus.com Encorus Technologies] . Encorus focused on software and professional services for the "mobile payment" business (payment by the means of mobile phones). Encorus was founded by [http://www.eoneglobal.com eONE Global] which itself was "formed" by [http://www.firstdata.com First Data] . On August 9, 2005, First Data wrote-off its investment in Encorus.

The Professional Services department and the rest of Brokat was bought by Brokat's longtime opponent in the German market, [http://www.datadesign.de Data Design] in 2001. They are still in business (February 2006) and offer former Brokat Twister customers migration solutions to other middleware products.

Twister

Twister was the main product of Brokat AG. It was a proprietary middleware software that was created in the late 1990s and was always sold as the central software product in all projects. The software was mainly sold to financial institutions which often also relied on the "XPresso" encryption software of Brokat.

The base of Twister was a CORBA Object Request Broker written in C++ that handled requests from so-called "Gateway"s and routed them to so-called "RDO"s. RDOs are comparable to the more modern EJB JavaBeans (server software objects). Backend systems such as legacy mainframe applications or database servers were accessed through so-called "Accessors".RDOs could be written in TCL, Java or C++ and interact with each other regardless of the language. Despite this cross-language functionality, most projects were implemented in a single language, most often TCL or java.

Twister 4 also supported the EJB java object model.

Twister was capable of handling very high loads and was thus used by electronic stock traders like "Cortal Consors" for real-time trading. During the morning hours when the stock exchange opened, the Twister System at Consors was known to handle several thousand connections/requests simultaneously.

Technologies invented by Brokat

Brokat was a pioneer in encryption technology by providing a java-Applet based encryption toolkit, named Xpresso. The protocol of this toolkit was named SRT (Secure Request Technology). Technically, it was a 128bit-key implementation of the SSL protocol.

In the final years, Brokat refocused on Mobile Commerce, which is defined as electronic commerce done on mobile devices such as Smartphones. This led to a technology called Mobile Digital Signature, an XML-based message format for encoding and signing business contracts.

For the implementation of business logic, the company devised a very simple object model, called RDO (repository defined object). RDOs had a very simple interface structure, consisting of a flat key-value structure. RDOs could be written in many programming languages and would interoperate easily.

Brokat was awarded several patents on encryption technology (eg. random number generators) and for the RDO cross-language programming model.

Key Engineers

Achim Schlumpberger (Twister)

Malte Borcherding (Encryption)

Jürgen Hagel (Twister)

Jürgen Thumm (Xpresso)

Notes

External links


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