Topic: Saros Mezzanine

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Saros Mezzanine, acquired by FileNet, is a document management system. Document management is a loose term which describes any system which replaces a filesystem with more organized storage of large, relatively unstructured data structures.

Mezzanine consists of an API on the client implemented in a set of DLLs, and a server portion which stores documents in a set of managed directories, maintaining data about the documents (metadata) in an SQL database.

Mezzanine is thus application-, network-, and database-independent. The server runs on Windows NT or on any of several flavors of Unix, and three databases are supported: Sybase or Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle.

FileNET's new document management direction is called Panagon or Panagon IDM (Integrated Document Management.) Up until version 5.0 of DS (Document Services), Panagon relied on Mezzanine as its server engine, and the Panagon objects utilize the old Mezzanine API for communication with the server. As of version 5.0, however, the old API is gone.

That said, there is still a large installed base of Mezzanine users. Most of them access Mezzanine through Saros's front-end application SDM (Saros Document Manager), but many have developed custom front-end applications or integrated the front end with other software. Mezzanine's API makes this possible in an extremely flexible way, although the API has a truly intimidating learning curve. (This was one of the primary motivations for FileNET to completely rewrite the API into a set of COM objects, which is what Panagon is, and they've done a very good job. But I still miss the old days of FileShare, gum, and baling twine.)

Unfortunately, there is very little online information to link to about Mezzanine, as it really predates the advent of the popular Web. Its technical audience has traditionally been large organizations, hence the primary mode of information transfer has always been classes given by Saros/FileNET or by third parties, and no technical information is really accessible online.

  • API flexibility. It's quite easy to write any sort of integration with Mezzanine.
  • Search capabilities. Both metadata and content searches are supported in a very robust manner.
  • Stability and age. Mezzanine is a very stable document-management engine.
  • Support. Since Mezzanine isn't cheap, FileNET pays a lot of attention to their customers. In addition, there is a large number of third-party integrators and solution providers who understand something of Mezzanine (including Vivtek, of course!).
Gee, there just aren't many.
Vivtek has a few inhouse Mezzanine debugging and spy tools that we intend to spruce up and put on sale. We've been using them for some time, and they're very useful in the Panagon environment, too, which makes them somewhat viable. Once they're ready, we will link this page to those tool pages, where you will be able to find some further technical information.

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