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Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is #8 ranked solution in top Managed File Transfer (MFT) tools. PeerSpot users give Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct an average rating of 8.6 out of 10. Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is most commonly compared to IBM Sterling File Gateway: Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct vs IBM Sterling File Gateway. Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 84% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a financial services firm, accounting for 35% of all views.
Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Buyer's Guide

Download the Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022

What is Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct?

IBM's Sterling Connect:Direct is a software product that offers security-hardened, point-to-point file transfers to reduce reliance on insecure File Transfer Protocol (FTP) transmissions. It is designed for high-volume file distribution within and between businesses. The solution guarantees more reliable file movement, from batch integration and movement of large images or catalogs to synchronization with distant sites. Sterling Connect:Direct also enables hybrid cloud deployment through certified containers, allowing for simple and consistent deployment lifecycle management.

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Features

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

  • Performance capabilities such as extraordinary scalability and low latency.
  • Automated, dependable file transmission that permits unattended, round-the-clock operations.
  • Designed to run on a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, UNIX, Linux, IBM z/OS, OpenVMS, i5/OS, and HP NonStop.
  • Advanced security features with cutting-edge encryption to meet regulatory and industry standards.
  • IBM certified containers for Sterling Connect:Direct are enterprise-grade, secure product editions that are scalable, secure, easy to install, and manage update and rollback processes. They also have integrated common software services for consistent deployment lifecycle management.
  • Boosts transfer speed for large files over high-speed networks by up to four times the previous speed while reducing latency.
  • Gives existing FTP transfers the ability to retry, checkpoint, and compress existing transfers.
  • Supports a variety of network protocols, including TCP/IP, Systems Network Architecture (SNA), and an optional high-speed add-on based on Aspera FASP technology.

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Benefits

There are many benefits to implementing Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

  • High performance: Takes care of your most demanding workloads, including multi-gigabyte files to large volumes of small files.
  • Reliable file delivery: To help ensure predictable, assured file delivery, it offers automated scheduling, checkpoint restart, and automatic recovery.
  • Secure transmission of files: Maintains the confidentiality of customer information and supports regulatory compliance measures.
  • Speed up patching and installation: By deploying your solution with a certified container that contains all necessary components, you can drastically cut installation and patch time from hours to minutes.

Reviews from Real Users

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its robust file processing and its security for file transfers. PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features in their reviews:

Michele I., Business Unit Manager at Innovery, writes of the solution, “The file processing is done very well. By default, there are a lot of configurations that can be customized. Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is one of the stronger MFT solutions in the market, it is available in each type of installation, and offers SaaS, PaaS, YaaS, on-premise.”

Camilo M., Pre-sales Engineer at Dell EMC, mentions, “It's a great tool because it offers secure file transfers and it has a fast and efficient protocol for very large files.”

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Customers

HZMO, Bank of Communications

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Video

Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct pricing:
  • "The price and licensing of Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is expensive."
  • "Annual licensing fee."
  • Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Reviews

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    Michele Illiano - PeerSpot reviewer
    Business Unit Manager at Innovery
    Real User
    Top 5
    Customizable, beneficial file processing, and overall good support
    Pros and Cons
    • "Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is a solution that is on the market for a very long time. There is an integrator that has been developed and evolves every year. On the roadmap, there is always a new integration. For example, it's one of the solutions in the market that out of the box can handle EBICS protocol. The file processing is done very well. By default, there are a lot of configurations that can be customized."
    • "Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct could improve by adding some of the functionality that some other vendors have. For example, GoAnywhere has call agents, which are small clients that can be installed on the endpoints and can be handled by the central point on the server. If I want to do this with the IBM solution, I have to sell a lot of account addresses. The price could be unprofitable for the customer. There is some small functionality that could be implemented and could be easily done to improve this solution."

    What is our primary use case?

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct can be deployed in many ways. We mainly deploy it on-premise, because the cloud and hybrid deployments are more recent. It's has been in the last five years that they have been implementing the cloud and hybrid versions. I had been installing and providing services in a hybrid role with containers, on-premise, public cloud, and private cloud for different customers.

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is an MFT solution, and in this case, IBM offers the same solution that can also work for B2B, such as file translation. These are solutions that are independent of the industry of the customer. For example, I live in Spain and the target market was finance. I work on several different finance customers with some specific use cases. In Italy, for example, I work with logistics, distribution, manufacturing and the use case are different. In the financial sector, we propose the MFT solution to banks in corporate areas to get the onboarding of the customers of the banks. It allows each bank to propose to their customer a file sent automatically using each type of protocol and providing a lot of facilities. If we talk with the logistic or distribution departments they are most focused on EDI messages to interchange with their providers, such as orders, invoices, and dispatch advisement. 

    With IBM it is on the same solution. Depending on the target market where we move on, we can identify a different business case. In the last two years in the financial market, consider that there is a huge migration of standards related to SWIFT. All the banks around the world must translate their MT messages, SWIFT messages, to ISO 20022. We are proposing a combination of the MFT solution with the ITX, that is the IBM mapper. This is the use case most used in the last two years, more or less.

    What is most valuable?

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is a solution that is on the market for a very long time. There is an integrator that has been developed and evolves every year. On the roadmap, there is always a new integration. For example, it's one of the solutions in the market that out of the box can handle EBICS protocol. The file processing is done very well. By default, there are a lot of configurations that can be customized.

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is one of the stronger MFT solutions in the market, it is available in each type of installation, and offers SaaS, PaaS, YaaS, on-premise. It can allow the customer to do everything on the file interchange.

    What needs improvement?

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct could improve by adding some of the functionality that some other vendors have. For example, GoAnywhere has call agents, which are small clients that can be installed on the endpoints and can be handled by the central point on the server. If I want to do this with the IBM solution, I have to sell a lot of account addresses. The price could be unprofitable for the customer. There is some small functionality that could be implemented and could be easily done to improve this solution.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct for 15 years.

    Buyer's Guide
    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct
    September 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
    633,952 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is stable vertically and horizontally.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This solution is scalable both horizontally and vertically. While using containers it's automatically scalable. For example, by using Kubernetes. I can add many clusters. I can power on the system that was implemented and I can tune the solution in order to use more resources of the system.

    How are customer service and support?

    In the first two, three years that I used the solution after IBM acquired it, we had some issues because the technical team was not skilled. We had some more delays with technical resolutions. After three or four years, we did not have any large issues. On the new development, we have some issues with the use cases. For example, in the integration of Kafka, we don't have a lot of experience. We did not get a lot of information from the support about how it should work, or how it is normally supported to work. Overall the support we have received has been good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have used many other solutions, such as GoAnywhere or HelpSystem. When comparing this solution to GoAnywhere, we have to customize everything but in Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct it's not necessary.

    How was the initial setup?

    The on-premise deployment it's quite easy to install. For example, the new load has little impact on the workflow of the projects that are running.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The price and licensing of Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct is expensive. The containers can allow the customer to have flexibility in the ability to move the container on the cloud. They have to purchase all the containers that they need. Even if most of them can be switched off, it's quite expensive compared with the other offering. The other offering that is related to PBU and based on the power of the machines, sometimes it's quite expensive for the use case that we found. Other vendors, such as Primero, which sold specific license packages, such as by protocol, are most competitive than the licensing of IBM.

    I used to offer this solution when the customer had more than one use case. One business case, or some business case with a lot of budgets or a lot of revenue. Otherwise, I used to propose different solutions, such as Software AG, AppSystem, or Primero, that are good challengers because they are smaller solutions for smaller businesses and use cases.

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct an eight out of ten.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Ankit Rahangdale - PeerSpot reviewer
    Infrastructure Tech Lead at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Secure, fast, and 100% reliable
    Pros and Cons
    • "The most valuable feature is that it provides 100% reliability for file transmission. It ensures that files get delivered in a secure manner. When you use Connect:Direct, your file 100% gets delivered to the next delivery location. If the log shows that a file got delivered, it will have all the transmitted data without truncation or other data issues."
    • "They have File Agent, which is an additional utility and a component of Connect:Direct, for automated file transmission. In that utility, there is some issue with the file name. There is a limitation on the file name, and that is being fixed by IBM."

    What is our primary use case?

    Its primary use case is secure file transmission. We are currently providing support for it to a client. They are using ConnectDirect in their environment, and it is a vast implementation of ConnectDirect. 

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is that it provides 100% reliability for file transmission. It ensures that files get delivered in a secure manner. When you use Connect:Direct, your file 100% gets delivered to the next delivery location. If the log shows that a file got delivered, it will have all the transmitted data without truncation or other data issues.

    What needs improvement?

    It is improving consistently. IBM is providing all the new patches for enhancements and any vulnerabilities related to security. They recently did the Log4j remediation. They have File Agent, which is an additional utility and a component of Connect:Direct, for automated file transmission. In that utility, there is some issue with the file name. There is a limitation on the file name, and that is being fixed by IBM.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    It has been 8 years and 10 months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is 100% stable. Many different companies are using this tool for secure and accelerated file transmission. It is being used by the banking chains, and it is a very stable tool because it does not have that much complexity. If you use this tool, you will have 100% delivery assurance. It is a very stable tool.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is scalable.

    How are customer service and support?

    They are very helpful. Whenever you raise a case, it generally takes about 24 hours to get a complete solution on that, but if it is something that requires additional support or enhancements, then it can take a while. In such a case, it can take a week or a maximum of 15 days to get a proper solution.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    They are replacing SFTP with Connect:Direct because it is more reliable and efficient, and it has faster transmission capabilities.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup depends on the requirement. In the current environment or current project, we have it as a middleware. We have other tools for displaying the output of a file, and there is an application that is taking it to the display servers so that it can display the data. That is one implementation in the current project. There are also multiple implementations for their finance-related file transmission because that requires security. All the financial data is automatically transferred by the Connect:Direct whenever the application team puts a file into one of the directories. We provide the directory where they need to put the file. We have the automation job that picks up the file and delivers it to the user or the application that needs to utilize that file.

    Its setup is straightforward. The concept is straightforward. All the related information is also available on the internet. If any of the newbies want to check or get some info on Connect:Direct, they can go to the IBM site, and they will get all the details regarding the implementation, configuration, and any issues they are facing. They can just check with the error message, and they will be able to get some details about it.

    It is a pretty straightforward tool. In open systems servers, the setup and configuration take 10 minutes or less than that. It also supports silent installation, which hardly takes two minutes.

    It can be deployed anywhere. It supports on-premises and cloud deployments. IBM recently provided a patch for cloud HPE servers. There were a few vulnerabilities that caused data leaks, and they have fixed that in their recent updates.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I don't have much idea about the price. Customers take care of the price. We are only supporting projects for customers.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would advise being familiar with this tool before doing the implementation. It is a cross-platform tool, and you can utilize it on any operating system, but I would recommend using it with Unix or shell for more efficient transfer flows. You can automate through shell scripting, which is free and economical for implementation.

    There is an additional encryption capability of Connect:Direct to transmit data in encrypted form where the tunnel is getting encrypted. In that one, you don't need to use the open SSL certificate because that will not be very reliable. That's one lesson that I have learned by using this tool.

    I would rate it a 10 out of 10. It is the best tool.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct
    September 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
    633,952 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Byron Ahrens - PeerSpot reviewer
    Manager 3rd Party Application Support at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Secure and stable with a straightforward initial setup
    Pros and Cons
    • "The product has been very stable."
    • "The user interface needs to be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    We primarily use the solution for file transfers.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The solution effectively reduced large transfer file transit time across global regions by over 50%.

    What is most valuable?

    The solution's most valuable aspect for our company is the Checkpoint Restart. We also appreciate the capabilities of the FASP technology. 

    The initial setup was very straightforward. 

    The product has been very stable. 

    The solution is highly scalable. 

    The solution is very secure. 

    What needs improvement?

    The user interface needs to be improved. It's very rarely used.

    Technical support is difficult to work with.

    I would like to see more adapters created that allow other protocols to send to it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using the solution for a very long time. it's been 15 years. It's been well over a decade at this point.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is very stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability of the solution is very good. It's highly scalable. A company should have no trouble expanding it. We have many customers that use the solution. It would be hard to pinpoint the exact number.

    The solution is being used extensively. It's a part of our ecosystem. We will continue to use it going forward.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We've been in touch with technical support and have found them to be difficult to work with. I wouldn't say that we are fully satisfied with their level of support.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I wasn't at the company when they originally decided to use the solution. I cannot speak to any other solution the company may have previously used. However, likely the company switched to move to this product, which likely was more secure. I'm sure the other thing that swayed their decision was the Checkpoint Restart capability for large files and the fact that originally it connected directly to mainframes.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was not difficult. It was not complex. It was very simple and quite straightforward. 

    That said, the implementation depends upon how your security is. It can be very complex, depending upon what you have to do for your guidelines. However, the general base install is pretty simple.

    The deployment generally takes a few hours.

    I have three people that manage the solution, and there is 24/7 support. They are systems engineers. They're also there to add users to the system and to user groups. 

    What about the implementation team?

    We didn't need an integrator or consultant to help us. We managed the implementation by ourselves in-house.

    What was our ROI?

    I would say that the company has noticed an ROI. For example, the solution has reduced large transfer file transit times by over 50%.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    This is the cheapest of the product's line of solutions.

    Their licensing model is based upon the size of the hardware that it's sitting on. Therefore, the more robust hardware, the bigger your license costs will be.

    Companies can try to get into negotiations with them. However, that's not simple. That's not a reflection on the product. That's a reflection of the relationship with the company.

    What other advice do I have?

    We're a customer. As far as I know, we're not a reseller. We were talking to them about coming to an arrangement where we could offer their product for our customers who don't have a relationship with them already. However, that's not in place just yet.

    We're using the latest version of the solution. We're always constantly dealing with version control and updates.

    We use multiple deployment models, including the cloud and on-premises. When we use the cloud deployment model, we tend to use more than one cloud provider.

    I would recommend that other companies look at this product as opposed to the other major file transfer products - even for small files - due to the high-speed capability. By far, it could be the biggest workforce of your systems. Large or small.

    I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    Tasso Tsonis - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Site Reliability Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Good security however, other solutions are easier to manage
    Pros and Cons
    • "Security is the most valuable feature of this product."
    • "User interface is not user friendly."
    • "Technical support is the number one concern."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Sterling Commerce ConnectDirect for limited transfers where the third party only wants to use this protocol. 

    Currently we have five administrators that manage, maintain and set-up the exchanges with other partners.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We are actually looking to decommission this product to migrate to IBM's Sterling B2B Integrator because it is has a built-in Connect Direct and is easier to manage.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature of this solution is the security.

    What needs improvement?

    The product could be improved by making the user interface more user-friendly. Adding nodes, connections and managing the support is too complicated. 

    Sterling Commerce ConnectDirect would be better if it had a reverse proxy integrated into the DMZ because usually the nodes are installed directly on secure sites internally. We need to put them through additional servers, which is not easy to do. If the product came with its own DMZ portion server it would be helpful.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Sterling Commerce ConnectDirect is a stable product and has never gone down or had maintenance issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This solution is used for high volume transfers so scalability is not an issue.

    How are customer service and support?

    The technical support is the number one problem. Every time there is an incident or ticket opened, the first response from IBM is to send you a link to a page that is a similar problem. They do not take the time and effort to actually read your problem.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We did not use a previous product, Sterling Commerce Connect Direct is only used when a third=party vendor indicates that it's the only option for security.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup of Sterling Commerce was complex. Troubleshooting an issue has too many possibilities of multiple failure points. To diagnosis, a problem is extensive and takes too long to find the issue.

    The deployment did not take very long. The installation of the product itself was simple, however, the integration of clients and transfers to put in place was complicated.

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented the solution ourselves.

    What was our ROI?

    We have not seen a return on investment. It is an additional cost to overhead to use Sterling Commerce ConnectDirect. The knowledge and support required is something you need to learn. To use this product you need special expensive licenses.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The licensing is on a yearly basis.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    At the time, there was no other option available or acceptable to the third-party vendor.

    What other advice do I have?

    IBM B2B Integrator could easily answer the Connect Direct need instead of having pure Connect Direct.

    I would rate this solution a 5 out of 10.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    PeerSpot user
    Camilo-Meli - PeerSpot reviewer
    Pre-sales Engineer at Dell EMC
    Real User
    Top 20
    Offers secure file transfers with a fast and efficient protocol for very large files

    What is our primary use case?

    We use this solution for the secure internal transfer of information. We also use it as a way of introducing people to the different products that we offer. I'm a presales engineer and we are customers of Sterling Commerce Connect.

    What is most valuable?

    It's a great tool because it offers secure file transfers and it has a fast and efficient protocol for very large files.

    What needs improvement?

    The user interface could be more user-friendly. The internal protocol for NEO file on file transfer could be improved because the user can sometimes find themselves lost.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using this solution for a year. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is stable. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is scalable. 

    How are customer service and support?

    The customer support is good. 

    How was the initial setup?

    For anyone with experience, the initial setup is relatively straightforward and simple. 

    What other advice do I have?

    This is a good solution and I rate it 10 out of 10. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    PeerSpot user
    Senior Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    A very stable product, with excellent security features that can be built to exact requirements

    What is our primary use case?

    We mainly use this solution for node-to-node file transmissions.

    What is most valuable?

    The Security Plus feature of this solution is excellent, and allows you to send encrypted files very securely to remote destinations.

    What needs improvement?

    This solution cannot be deployed on a root_squash NFS, which limits superuser privileges.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with this solution for three and a half years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This is a very stable solution, in our experience.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have found that scalability is possible with this product, but it is not straightforward.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup of this solution is very simple, and deployment only took 10 minutes.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would encourage any organization implementing this solution, to give access to every potential user during the initial configuration; scaling up with this product is complicated, once the initial implementation has been carried out.

    I would rate this solution a 10 out of 10.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: September 2022
    Product Categories
    Managed File Transfer (MFT)
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Sterling Commerce Connect:Direct Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.