Port business-critical applications from Windows to UNIX and Linux
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux is an enterprise-class application porting platform for the
cross-platform development and deployment of mission-critical enterprise
applications. It enables developers to write C++ applications in the productive
Microsoft Visual Studio development environment and rapidly deploy them
natively to multiple UNIX platforms.
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux is comprised of two main components: the Software Development
Kit (SDK), a cross-platform plug-in to Visual Studio, for application
development and the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux runtime, a high-performing and robust
Windows runtime on UNIX for deployment.
The latest version of Mainsoft's application porting platform, Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux
5, delivers enterprise-class performance, security and robustness, has an
emphasis on enterprise technologies such as XML, DCOM and Java EE Application
Servers, and forms a scalable foundation for XML Web services.
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux components
Let's take a look at the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux components in more detail:
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux SDK: Cross-platform Plug-in to Visual Studio - The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux SDK extends the Visual Studio user interface and functionality to
support multiple platforms. The plug-in enables Windows developers with little
familiarity with UNIX, to build UNIX versions of their Windows applications
directly from Microsoft's Visual Studio using native UNIX compilers installed
on a remote UNIX server. (See Figure 1)
The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux runtime
Windows runtime on UNIX - includes an extensive set of Microsoft
technologies such as MSXML, SSL, MSHTML, WinSock, COM/DCOM and ATL. These are
based on the original Microsoft implementation, tuned for UNIX by Mainsoft. (See
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux Core Services
- The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux kernel provides core functionality such as synchronization
objects, threads and primitive graphic functionality utilized by the Windows
runtime. In addition, the Core Services include Mainsoft's RPCSS service and
registry services that provide the robust infrastructure required to support
large numbers of Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux processes concurrently on the same machine.
Java EE Integration Package (J2IP)
- Enables seamless interoperability between COM objects ported with Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux and
Java EE Application Servers. The J2IP enables developers to leverage advanced
technologies such as Java Server Pages and EJB's that can invoke COM objects
ported with Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux to create end-to-end solutions combining Microsoft
and Java technologies on UNIX platforms.
Focusing developers on their core competency
One of the challenges in delivering the same application on a heterogeneous
set of operating systems is to manage the complexity involved with learning and
using different development and deployment environments. Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux
dramatically reduces this complexity by enabling cross-platform development and
deployment from within Visual Studio.
Leveraging Windows development knowledge and experience - Development
managers who have spent a considerable amount of time recruiting and building
productive team of Windows developers find that rewriting a Windows application
Java (often considered as an initial option for deploying cross-platform
applications) may not only be time consuming and expensive, but often
impossible based on the team's skill set. Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux enables development
teams to leverage their core skills, and continue enhancing their products with
new competitive features - not rewriting code.
- Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux produces a native binary, linked with the highly scalable
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux runtime. The newly ported application is at least on par with
handwritten UNIX code, saving developers hundreds of hours fine-tuning their
implementation for various platforms. Independent Software Vendors with
significant investments in Java can leverage the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux Java EE
Integration Package to implement computationally intense components of their
code in Visual C++. This approach has proven to be very appealing for
components (such as mapping and reporting tools) that are accessed through Web
browsers and process large numbers of XML documents or are graphically intens
ive, rendering thousands of data points onto bitmaps that are displayed by thin
Accurate implementation of the Windows programming model
A licensing agreement with Microsoft gives Mainsoft full access to the Windows
OS source code. Ported applications are assured of running exactly as they do
on Windows, since Mainsoft uses millions of lines of test suites, also licensed
directly from Microsoft, to ensure compatibility. This approach makes certain
that ported applications maintain the all- important functional compatibility
with Windows as they take full advantage of the performance and reliability of
A decade of cross-platform development knowledge
Over the past decade, Mainsoft has helped port some of the most complex
Windows applications available. These include Microsoft's Internet Explorer,
Outlook Express and Windows Media Player, the Siebel eBusiness Application
Suite, and CA's Ingres OpenROAD. The company's extensive knowledge and
experience in solving crossplatform issues is made available to Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux
customers throughout the lifecycle of their UNIX product. This starts during
the early stages of the porting process with initial help planning the
cross-platform development processes, delivering recommendations on porting
infrastructure, porting processes, version control tools, bug databases etc.
And extends throughout the porting process with assistance in analyzing porting
problems and implementation issues. After the product has been deployed,
Mainsoft can assist with the tracking of deployment issues specific to
particular UNIX operating systems, like the runtime configuration.
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux Platform Architecture
The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux platform is designed to support robust and scalable
applications. It provides an infrastructure that allows multi-threaded,
multi-process, multi-platform, distributed applications a way to interact among
themselves using a rich, object oriented interface, while preserving process
isolation and promoting robustness. (See Figure 2)
The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux runtime libraries link with the application code and
implement the Win32 semantics inside the process space. Win32 system kernel
data (such as file handles, events, mutexes and semaphores) is stored in the
application's own memory space. This yields a very high-performance
implementation of kernel functionality such as threads and processes
management, synchronization object management, memory management, file mapping
support, asynchronous communications support and Asynchronous Procedural Calls.
Performance and scalability
High-performing, scalable, XML engine
- Mainsoft's advanced Microsoft XML engine implementation for UNIX was designed
and fine-tuned to deliver a high performance, highly scalability XML
infrastructure. The result is a state-of-the-art XML implementation that
provides unbeatable performance and scalability.
Multi-process and multi-threaded support - Full and efficient support
for the Windows processes and thread API semantics is provided, including:
creating and terminating processes/threads
waiting on processes/threads
synchronizing between processes/threads
suspending and resuming threads
Support for thousands of concurrent connections
- When designing Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux's implementation of file access, sockets and
pipes, special care was taken to use highly scalable POSIX APIs. As a result -
when using the WinSock APIs, Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux applications can maintain as many
open socket connections and file descriptors as the application demands.
Minimal consumption of scarce system resources
- Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux has been fine- tuned to the architecture of the underlying
UNIX platforms to minimize the system resources required to support each
thread. For example, the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux kernel was designed so that there is no
use of System V shared memory objects. On AIX, this saves two address space
segments that consume 256 MB each, enabling thousands of threads and processes
to be created and run concurrently.
COM/DCOM transport layers designed for maximum performance and scalability
- Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux implements a specially tuned local transport layer to support
COM intra-machine interaction. On Solaris, this implementation takes advantage
of a Solaris-specific high-performance synchronous transport layer called
DOORS. On other UNIX platforms, an alternate highly scalable multi-threaded
scheme was utilized, enabling concurrent support for hundreds of clients.
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux was designed using an open and extensible approach. It
integrates with existing enterprise infrastructure and solutions :
- The Java EE Integration Package (J2IP) included with Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux enables Java
applications to efficiently invoke and interact with COM servers through
standard Java class method calls. Java applications can load a COM object
in-process and directly call it without the overhead of marshaling the
parameters to other processes. It is also possible to access COM objects in
other processes and even take advantage of Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux DCOM support to
access COM objects on Windows (such as Excel, Access and Word).
Easy Web access to applications via Java Server Pages
- The Java EE Integration Package connects ported enterprise applications to JSP
pages, providing Web server and Web service support.
Universal Database Access
- Through the ODBC add-on to Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux, applications can be vendor
neutral, allowing enterprises to seamlessly select their database of choice.
Web Server Integration
- UNIX Web servers can link with or dynamically load Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux ported DLLs
and utilize them for high-performance processing of HTTP requests.
Interoperability with DCOM components
- Integrated COM/DCOM support enables interaction with any local or remote DCOM
server, including Windows applications such as Excel running on a remote
Validating the ported application with standard UNIX tools
- Mainsoft has made extensive efforts to ensure that ISVs can leverage standard
UNIX validation tools such as Purify and Quantify to debug and fine-tune Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux ported applications.
Interoperability with third party libraries
- Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux ported applications can link with any standard UNIX libraries,
including third parties such as RogueWave's component libraries and RSA BSAFE.
Enterprise level security
Support for NTLM authentication and Windows integration
- The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux 5 DCOM implementation supports secure authentication
through the Windows NTLM protocol. This provides interoperability with Windows
DCOM components in a secure manner.
Support for HTTPS protocol
- HTTPS support is integrated with RSA's BSAFE security package.
Secure Registry Access
- As part of the support for multiple users, the Registry Server uses standard
UNIX authentication to authe nticate users when performing registry access.
This ensures that the user's Registry data is secured by the UNIX OS standards.
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux benchmark results
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux has been tested at Sun, HP and IBM labs on a variety of servers
ranging from one to 24 CPUs. This section presents two diagrams that
demonstrate the high levels of performance, scalability and robustness reached
with Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux.
XML parser benchmark demonstrating superior performance and scalability
Due to XML's extensible and open nature, it is the preferred method for
describing information. As Web services that make heavy use of XML technologies
become more pervasive, efficient XML parsing will be critical to the overall
performance of enterprise applications.
The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux XML engine is based on the same source code as the Microsoft
engine that is considered to be one of the most advanced implementations of the
latest XML standards. The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux XML engine has been tuned by Mainsoft
to leverage the scalability of the UNIX platform.
Mainsoft conducted extensive benchmarking of the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux XML engine,
comparing it to the Xerces XML engine, which is recognized as the leading XML
engine in the UNIX world. Xerces has been included in many commercial products,
including IBM WebSphere, Sun JDK 1.4 and BEA WebLogic. The benchmark results,
outlined in Figure 3, show the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux XML engine provides better
performa nce and scalability than the Java Xerces implementation. For more
details about the benchmark study, please refer to Appendix A.
Web stress scalability test case
The Web stress test is one of the many stress tests designed to verify and
ensure the scalability of Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux. At the foundation of this test is a
server application ported with Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux. The ported server application
was plugged into an Apache Web server executing on a 24 CPU SunFire 4800
machine, running Solaris 8.
The test used the Microsoft WebStress tool running from a Windows client
machine to "bombard" the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux server by simulating 100 users
simultaneously issuing repeated requests to the server.
Figure 4 shows that as the number of active CPUs on the machine
increases from one to 24, the Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux server utilizes the available CPUs
to provide a linear increase in performance. For example, with one CPU, the
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux ported server application processed about 50
transactions-per-second. When the same machine was configured with four CPUs,
the application processed about 200 transactions-per-second. Doubling the
number of CPUs to eight, also doubled the number of transactions-per-second to
Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux 5.0 is an enterprise-class application porting platform that
brings together more than a decade of experience in porting technologies. It is
a highly productive and open porting platform that enables ISVs and IT
organizations to build native UNIX and Windows applications from a single set
of source-code. Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux integrates well with other UNIX solutions and
delivers unparalleled performance, robustness and scalability for today's
demanding enterprise applications.
Appendix A: XML Benchmark Methodology
This section discusses the methodology used in the conducting the XML
benchmark, a study that included several configurations of the Xerces XML in
various real world configurations.
- Xerces is recognized as a leading XML engine and is included with many
commercial distributions such as IBM WebSphere, Sun JDK 1.4 and BEA's WebLogic.
The Apache Xerces XML engine is an open source product, based on code
originally developed in IBM and Sun in two, independent projects. The two XML
engines were merged by the Apache organization into one product.
XML engine configurations tested
- The benchmarks compared Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux XML with both the Java and the C++
versions of Xerces 2. When testing the Java XML engine, the tests were run with
the Java server runtime configuration.
- The benchmark created 100 threads that used the different XML engines to
parse and build a DOM representation of a variety of XML files ranging in sizes
from small (~0.5KB) documents such as SOAP messages, through medium and
large-sized documents (10-70 Kb) that may represent results of XML queries to
databases. The tests were designed to ignore overheads such as the time taken
to read files from the disk and the time taken to load the XML engine classes.
The Java benchmark was run repeatedly until the Java results became consistent.
This enabled the Java Virtual Machine to make full use of its dynamic
optimizations and excluded the startup overhead of the JIT compiler.
Overall, 540 individual tests were run. Each test executed 100 threads
concurrently and each thread parsed the tested file 500 times. The tests
measured the XML engine processing capacity. In other words, the results show
how many Kb of XML data could be parsed-per-second.
- Xerces was linked with the Lightweight Process thread library that provided a
significant performance and scalability boost relative to the default
configuration of Xerces, which utilizes the POSIX thread library. In addition
Xerces was linked with the standard Solaris allocator that provided better
performance than the multi- threaded Solaris allocator (mtmalloc) or the Hoard
open source allocator.
- The Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux XML implementation demonstrated linear scalability and
outperformed both Java and C++ Xerces by up to five times for larger XML
documents and up to seven times for smaller ones. The following charts
summarize the results:
Below is a summary of the Windows runtime technologies supported by Mainsoft for UNIX and Linux.
Structured Exception Handling
Processes and Threads
National Language Support
Unicode and Character Sets
Handles and Objects
Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
Visual Studio runtime support
C runtime Library
Web Development and Scripting support
XML (Extended Markup Language)
Script runtime (SRCRUN)
Secured HTTP (HTTPS)
Asynchronous pluggable protocols
Hit Logging API
HTML Components (HTC)
Information Delivery API
Internet Component Download
Open Software Description (OSD)
Shell Helper API
Tabular Data Control (TDC)
URL Security Zones
Win32 Internet Functions
Component Services (COM) support
AciveX Controls and Property Pages
OLE and Data Transfer
Secured Distributed COM
Graphics (GDI) Services support
Coordinate Spaces and Transformations
Fonts and Text
Lines and Curves
Painting and Drawing
Printing and Print Spooler
User Interface Services support
Messages and Message Queues
Multiple Document Interface (MDI)
Date and Time Picker Controls
Drag List Boxes
Flat Scroll Bars
IP Address Controls
Month Calendar Controls
Progress Bar Control
Tree View Controls
Rich Edit Controls