Most file transfer protocols follow RFCs, and AS2 is no exception. (AS2 is specified in RFC 4130, and the “MDNs” AS2 relies on are specified in RFC 3798). However, the AS2 protocol and Drummond certification are closely tied together like no other file transfer protocol or certification because of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer. In 2002 Wal-Mart announced that it would be standardizing partner communications on the AS2 standard, and that companies that wished to connect to it must have their AS2 software validated by Drummond. As Wal-Mart and its massive supply chain led, so followed the rest of the industry.
There are two levels of tests in Drummond certification. Interoperability is the basic level against which all products must test and pass. There is also a second level of “optional profile” tests which check optional but frequently desirable features such as AS2 Restart. There are also minor implementation differences, such as certificate import/export compatibility, that, combined with optional AS2 profiles, allow for significant differences between Drummond certified implementations, though the core protocol and basic options are generally safe between tested products.
Not every product that claims its AS2 implementation is Drummond certificated will itself be entirely Drummond certified. Some software, such as Ipswitch’s MOVEit and MessageWay software and Globalscape’s EFT software, make use of third-party Drummond certified libraries such as n Software’s IP*Works! EDI Engine. In those cases, look for the name of the library your file transfer vendor uses instead of the file transfer vendor product on Drummond’s official list.