Windows terminal emulation software is used to bind our modern computers to the older mainframes and systems of the past. Terminal emulation software is always improving, and that means you will need to upgrade. This article looks at some of the crucial support and features you should be looking for when buying this sophisticated software.
A Windows terminal emulator is an application that allows us to access older mainframes (console) from our personal computer running on Windows. Many of the mainframes that were adopted in the early days of computing are still running on older ‘dumb’ applications. Back in the 70s, a hardware terminal, a device that looks much like an old personal computer, but it actually lacked the computer part, was the device used to access and use a mainframe’s resources. This was way before the birth of the personal computer and the Windows operating system. With constant improvements in technology and constantly increasing needs for higher security, terminal emulators need to be updated. These very sophisticated applications actually act like a piece of hardware. They ‘emulate’ the old hardware terminals of the past. Terminal emulation applications are not cheap and have become essential to many of the early adopters of technology such as banks, multinational organisations and governments, which are still using those mainframes. Here is a look at the main features you should be looking for if you are purchasing terminal emulation software for your company or organisation.
- Package Support. The IBM 3270 was the most popular ‘display device’ and the most popular protocol of the time, and therefore, 3270 emulation is still the most commonly used emulation application type today. There still is a range of other protocols that are in operation outside of the IBM 3270. If you are considering terminal emulation software, it is important to find a supplier who has full package support. Purchasing a new license or new application for every protocol will be much more expensive.
- Lite Versions. For larger organisations which only have a single mainframe to access, lite application software with many licenses makes much more sense. A streamlined application suitable for the single type of emulation will be more cost effective. Other types of lite software have limited functions while retaining the strength of the original software. If you need limited functions, lite versions of the software will also be a better financial choice. There is no point paying for functions you don’t need.
- Security. Security of communications between your company’s computers and your mainframe is absolutely essential. Secure communication protocols are not only necessary; they have become legal requirements in many countries.
- Support. Support for your software and application package is a must. If your company has a particular issue, you need to know your software provider is there for you. Support should also be there before you have a problem, and show you and your IT support, how to get the most out of the application package.
Cost. Comparing cost is essential. You will need to upgrade in the future, and the best software suppliers know this. You will be paying for this software for some time to come, and you should expect some incentive. The best suppliers should be offering you a great deal if you are going to start using their package instead of their competitor’s.