by CData Arc Marketing | June 19, 2020

Why Certified EDI is Critical to Your Business


EDI encompasses some of the most mission-critical B2B exchanges between partners. If your EDI solution breaks, it can have drastic consequences on your business. You'll miss purchase orders and forfeit revenue until the connection can be fixed. Shipments will be missed, and delivery orders will go unfulfilled, with inventory sitting idle in warehouses eating up profits. Worse, you'll be hit with expensive chargebacks by partners, actually pushing you into negative profit margins on certain sales. Simply put, you cannot afford for your EDI to break.

Your AS2 solution is the link between you and your EDI partners. If your AS2 solution can't connect and communicate with your partner's system, your EDI connection is broken. So how can you avoid this costly disruption?

Enter Drummond Certification.

As the premier certification for interoperability among AS2 file transfer solutions, Drummond Certification guarantees you can transfer files with your trading partners. Interoperability errors are worked out in rigorous testing across thousands of scenarios, so you have reliability in production. At CData Arc, we've achieved the highest level of Drummond Certification for the past 16 years.

What is Drummond Certification?

Drummond Certification is the standard interoperability certification that proves an AS2 solution can securely and reliably communicate with all other certified AS2 solutions.

The Drummond Group administers interoperability testing and certification for a number of technologies used for secure B2B/EDI file transfer, including the applicability standards: AS1, AS2, AS3, and AS4, ebXML, and others — AS2 is by far the most commonly used standard and certification.

To achieve Drummond Certification, each AS2 solution must prove it can communicate across a range of core and optional connection scenarios. The exhaustive process involves running thousands of tests to ensure the premier certified products, such as CData Arc, Axway, Cleo, Dell Boomi, IBM, Informatica, Mulesoft, and Tibco, can all reliably communicate with each other. These solutions test against Drummond's test clients and with each other as a group, and each solution must pass each required test to certify for a given round.

AS2 interoperability testing is offered twice per year. Only a handful of companies pass the full suite of both required and optional testing — CData Arc is one of these companies. Organizations have the option to test their products every cycle or less frequently. As products evolve and change, if a given solution skips interoperability testing rounds, it risks being unable to reliably communicate with the newer versions of other products. Given the need for 100% reliability and interoperability with all of your partners, who are likely running the latest versions of their AS2 solutions, that presents a very real risk to your business. CData Arc is one of only a handful that has run and passed every single Drummond test for AS2 and AS4 since 2004.

How Does the Drummond Certification Process Work?

An automated framework drives the Drummond testing process. This framework creates test cases, as well as monitors & logs the test cases to ensure each vendor's product works flawlessly with all the other Drummond-Certified solutions.

When a company wants to perform Drummond testing on their product, they download a testing client, which communicates with the Drummond testing server, and enter their product into the testing framework. The automated testing cycles through all the products submitted by Drummond's clients. For each test, the framework compares the original file checksum and the checksum the partner receives to determine whether they match. In addition to testing basic file transfer, the testing client is used to configure a matrix of test cases that evaluate:

  • Signed MDN receipts
  • Various signing algorithms
  • Various encryption algorithms
  • SHA-1 and SHA-2 certificates and signatures
  • Whether errors are recorded when a payload fails to transfer properly
  • Retry tests
  • Restarting files — the tests will stop, interrupt, or kill a transfer and then determine whether the product will begin resending files from where it left off
  • Transmission reliability

After the testing, clients receive detailed reports on the results. The process involves multiple rounds of testing, including debug and dry-run certification rounds that allow each client company to resolve any interoperability issues the testing uncovers.

Since we launched our AS2 solution in the early 2000s, we've observed the AS2 products that work reliably, with minimal tweaking, tend to be those that complete each round of biannual or annual testing. Companies that skip rounds usually have more errors and must go back and make extensive revisions to their software before they can receive Drummond Certification.

Why You Should Never Use Uncertified, Open AS2

So what happens when you use an AS2 solution that isn't certified?

When organizations try using solutions that are not Drummond Certified, they inevitably run into reliability issues and must perform workarounds to trade EDI documents with partners.

In one example, we attempted to interoperate CData Arc with an open-source solution that was not Drummond Certified. It turns out that this open-source solution improperly calculated message signatures. Specifically, the solution signed text containing mixes of LF (life feed) and CRLF (carriage return line feed) line endings as though the payload were normalized as follows:

<Signed data>
This is a test. (LF)
This is on a test.
</Signed data>
<Signature checksum>
This is a test. (CRLF)
This is on a test.
</Signature checksum>

It was not clear from the S/MIME specifications whether the data being signed should be normalized along with the checksum.

These anomalies meant that working with this partner required special knowledge to configure settings in a manner that ensured the transfer would work. If the solution had been Drummond Certified for AS2, this issue would have been worked out in testing, rather than requiring customers to debug the process in the field.

Customer Example: B2B Gateway

Now consider the case of B2B Gateway, a Value-Added Network (VAN) that offers EDI as a service to thousands of clients, handing more than 30,000 EDI transactions each day. When B2B Gateway needed a new AS2 solution to connect with Amazon, it chose the Drummond Certified CData Arc. By using CData Arc, B2B Gateway was able to ensure that the interoperability it offered to its customers was exceptionally reliable and trustworthy. In addition to its Drummond Certified reliability, CData Arc offers a suite of managed file transfer capabilities that are complete, robust, lightweight, and scalable enough to handle large volumes of files.

See Case Study

CData Arc: Rock-Solid AS2

CData Arc is one of the first Drummond-Certified solutions to achieve certification, and it's one of only a handful to pass the full suite of the optional testing across every Drummond scenario. CData Arc is tested and certified twice per year for 16 years and counting. It's one of the reasons why thousands of organizations across the world rely on CData Arc for their AS2 connectivity.

Learn more about how CData Arc can provide you with reliable AS2 or AS4 file transfer or download a free trial of CData Arc.