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In early nineties X400 MHS competed against SMTP for inter-personal communication. For several reasons including, readability of specifications, price, ease of use, and address format, SMTP was the winner as an inter-personal messaging system over the Internet.

The technical gap between X400 and SMTP is diminishing due to SMTP enhancements. But SMTP still doesn't supports well inter-application messaging, which was not part of original design, as for X400. Development of distributed and loosely coupled applications, brings to the front asynchronous communications, and underlying Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM). In the GRID and UDDI framework only synchronous communication is on the way of a standard with SOAP.

X400 was designed as a networked multiprotocol application based on OSI stack. But TCP/IP is now dominating the market as a foundation of internet. Therefore less complexity is available in every day use, lowering implementation and administration costs.

Although others protocols like ATM are still used, they wrap TCP/IP (e.g. for xDSL), at the expense of some overhead, but gaining standardization and interworking, through Internet standard. Nevertheless, new protocols are spreading like UMTS for 3G mobiles, or Bluetooth for personal area networks. X400 is also still used over INMARSAT satellites protocol by some providers (HU, RU, UK).The OSI model could provide a naming scheme and it's multiprotocol mechanisms for universal applications.

Many professional messaging systems are compliant with X400 standard like Microsoft Exchange (more...) and IBM Lotus Note. It is therefore easy to interconnect these inter personal products, with a native X400 MHS, for Inter application messaging. Microsoft Exchange 5.5 was a full X400 implementation. Since 2000, Exchange is based on SMTP and is integrated with active directory (based on X500/LDAP), but X400 connectors are available. The open source model allows a tight integration using JMS with X400 and JNDI with X500/LDAP. This is achieved by osiJMS as a JMS provider with underlying X400 application protocols.

The X.400 standard itself does not define an API for accessing the Messaging system. This is where X400 could be enhanced using a more common programming model: JMS. it defines a set of interfaces and semantics that allow Java applications to communicate with other messaging implementations, allowing true ESB (Enterprise service bus) implementations. JMS clients can make use of all existing Java APIs. Note that point-to-point (queuing) and publish-subscribe models are supported, allowing GRID operations


X400 is still used in several markets because of it's technical quality, it's embedded security features, delivery acknowledgement and management features. In addition X400 was also designed for inter application messaging.


    Legacy X400 markets are military messaging systems (like US DMS); law enforcement messaging (like Schengen Information System- SIS - more .and more..), Governmental messaging, large corporations messaging and aeronautical message handling system (AMHS) from ICAO (more) ....