August Industry News

Hard A Port

In a surprise move, Hummingbird Communications declared that it was "turning the ship on a dime" with the launch of its family of Business Intelligence products called BI/Suite, an integrated Web-enabled solution based partly on Hummingbird's January 98 acquisition of Andyne, now known only as Hummingbird Kingston Division.

"The connectivity market is becoming a ghetto now that Microsoft has entered it," says Peter Auditore, Senior Director Marketing at Hummingbird, when referring to events, such as Microsoft licensing Intergraph Corp.'s (Huntsville, Ala.) NFS technology and Mortice Kern Systems (MKS, Waterloo, Ontario) KornShell, for Microsoft's Windows NT Services for UNIX Add-On Pack.

BI/Suite consists of BI/Broker - a middle tier application server for Windows NT; BI/Web - a Java-Web query and report access tool; and BI/Query - an integrated query and reporting tool. Auditore maintains that the BI/Suite delivers the security and administrative functions demanded by enterprise IS managers by enabling thin and fat client users to share the same server based content.

Citing IDC numbers Auditore expects at least a 30 percent annual compounded growth rate in this already crowded market of Business Intelligence.

Amdahl's MSF for Software Cost Management

Amdahl Corporation announced the availability of its unique Multiple Server Feature (MSF) to help customers better manage software costs. Before MSF was introduced, enterprises that consolidated systems to decrease hardware and facilities costs usually increased software costs where license fees are based on total system capacity. Now, MSF helps customers manage to their software budgets by allowing them to operate from two to four servers in the same footprint. Each server has a unique serial number and its own model identifier that reflects the size of that server.

Certain software vendors (ISVs) license software to each server based on the capacity of each server - and not on the capacity of the entire footprint. Installing multiple servers in one footprint can give customers the ability to control software costs for separate workloads and still obtain the benefits of a consolidated system, including reduced maintenance and environmental costs. Initially these ISVs have agreed to license their software to individual servers in a Millennium 700 system with MSF: BMC Software, Boole & Babbage, Platinum, Polaris Systems Group, Sterling and the Amdahl Software Group. Amdahl is working on expansion of the ISV list.

NCR First to Complete 'Performance Challenge'

NCR Corporation announced that it is the first vendor to participate in and post results at the 300GB level for the "Data Warehouse Performance Challenge." DataChallenge is a new industry benchmark issued last Fall by a consortium of leading data warehousing and database technology experts. DataChallenge was developed so that vendors can demonstrate to IT and business users that these databases can deliver the performance required to make dynamic data warehouses work. The new suite of tests validates database performance with complex ad hoc queries, in a true multi-user environment, as well as in other areas not addressed by existing industry benchmarks. While the consortium issued this challenge to all industry vendors - including IBM, Oracle, Informix, Sybase and Red Brick - NCR is the first to publicly accept the challenge and post its results. The company did so prior to knowing its results from the required underlying benchmark.

Best Practices Winners Announced!

Four organizations received top honors for demonstrating excellence in enterprise management and exploiting information technology within their environments to achieve superior service delivery. The second annual Best Practices in Enterprise Management Awards, sponsored by Boole & Babbage, designated three classes of winners: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Gold Awards went to Barclays Technology Services, Defense Automatic Addressing Systems Center, Ingram Micro and Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The winners were honored in an awards ceremony at the 11th annual Boole & Babbage User Conference (BBUG).

According to the panel of judges, each award winner has developed and executed a highly successful enterprise management implementation with leading best-of-breed tools which closely aligns IT with business goals. The judging panel included analysts and press from Aberdeen Group, GartnerGroup, Hurwitz Group, META Group, UBS and Computerworld magazine, as well as peer representatives from Ontario Hydro and Dow Corning, two of last year's Best Practice Award recipients. Best Practices Award winners were selected based on how the IT organization successfully addressed its critical enterprise management issues while aligning IT efforts with business goals, such as setting and satisfying service level agreements and meeting ROI targets for IT expenditures.

ODBMS Supports BEA M3TM OTM Technology

Ardent Software announced that the O2 Object Database Management System (ODBMS) is the first DBMS to demonstrate support for the BEA M3TM OTM technology from worldwide middleware provider BEA Systems. The integration between the O2 ODBMS and the BEA M3 object middleware results in a highly scaleable solution for transactional applications in distributed computing environments, and provides persistence and query capabilities for BEA M3 applications through Ardent's standards-based O2CORBA product. The seamless integration of object services provided by both products is designed to make it easier for IT organizations and application vendors to build high-performance, mission-critical, distributed object applications.

Ardent's support for BEA M3 provides users with a complete object-based solution for mission-critical applications. Because both the CORBA objects and O2 objects are based on the same data model, no translation occurs between them. This makes the development and maintenance of transactional applications both easier and more productive. Based on the X/Open XA interface, the transaction support in O2 and BEA M3 helps enable developers to build distributed object applications that deal with both legacy data and object data in a consistent way.

Silicon Graphics Unveils Cray SV1 Series

Silicon Graphics' CRAY SV1-series is a vector supercomputer product line with innovations that create price/performance up to eight times better than the market leader's current vector systems. The CRAY SV1-series features include:

  • Processors with theoretical peak performance of four gigaflops, or four billion calculations per second.
  • Vector cache memory boosts actual processor performance and one terabyte of memory.
  • A mix of 4-gigaflop and 1-gigaflop processors in each system efficiently handles varied problems and workloads.
  • Adjustable-size vector processors
  • Robust, fourth generation CMOS supercomputer archictecture
  • The Cray library of more than 500 vector supercomputer applications and tenth generation, Year 2000-compliant UNICOS.

The CRAY SV1 is scheduled to be available by August 1998, starting at $500,000.

KnowledgeLink Acquires infoMarket and Newsstand

KnowledgeLink Interactive acquired the assets and software licenses used in the infoMarket and Lotus Newsstand content services from IBM. Both KnowledgeLink infoMarket and KnowledgeLink Newsstand will continue to function as stand-alone services. At the same time, they will serve as integral components to PerSavant, which integrates digital information wherever it resides - be it on the Internet, intranet, online services or professional newsfeeds - and presents knowledge in the form of a dynamic HTML document.

KnowledgeLink infoMarket - which provides reach to 40 million documents from brand name sources - will continue to provide unparalleled reach to large data indices and commercial information sources not available through a convenient single search on the Internet. With a per-document pricing structure, infoMarket allows users to conduct free queries of both commercial and free databases, allowing researchers to find, prioritize and assess information efficiently. Newsstand, at the same time, will continue to provide users with subscription-based access to high-value business and trade publications, newspapers, magazines, periodicals and analysts reports.

IBM Business Partner Creates Impact

Norcross-based Financial Software, Inc. (FSI), one of only 53 Systems Premier IBM Business Partners in the United States, has become Impact Information Technologies, Inc.

Ed Allen, Co-CEO said, "This is more than a name change. In the 20-plus years since FSI was founded, our industry and our business has changed dramatically. Impact Information Technologies better describes our business today and, more importantly, the positive results that we achieve with our customers. It lets them know that their IT goals are our goals. By helping them be successful, we are successful. We want to make a positive impact on their business."

Mark Ryan, general manager, IBM Direct Marketing and Distribution Channels, North America, stated, "IBM's Premier Business Partners are recognized not only for their revenue performance, but also for their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Impact in the same tradition established by FSI."

TAVA Testifies Before Congress on Y2K

Rick Cowles of TAVA testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science's Subcommittee on Technology. His invitation to present to the subcommittee was the result of growing government, business and manufacturers concerns about the electric power industry's response to the Year 2000 problem.

Cowles told the subcommittee that "only 60 to 70 percent [of the nearly 8,000 entities in the electric power industry in the U.S.] are fully aware of the magnitude of the Y2K issue and are marshaling the necessary resources to address the issue." Cowles' many years of experience in the electric utility industry gives him reason to be cautiously optimistic, but points to the tremendous energy that will be expended simply in verifying Y2K compliance to various regulatory agencies. The Nuclear Energy Commission for example, has given operators of nuclear power plants a deadline of August 8, 1998, to send the NRC a written response about their Y2K compliance plans, specifically in the areas of risk management, contingency planning and remediation of embedded systems.

LegacyAid Flags Y2K Dates

Acucorp's LegacyAid is an advanced Year 2000 code remediation and maintenance tool designed for COBOL applications. LegacyAid's Year 2000 Wizzard helps companies quickly identify and fix millenium date problems, significantly reducing the time and effort COBOL programmers will need to solve their Y2K problem. LegacyAid automatically locates dates in existing systems, allowing programmers to analyze the scope of the conversion and implement required changes. LegacyAid's powerful analysis and documentation capabilities also make it a complete COBOL re-engineering solution, allowing programmers to optimize and improve performance of their existing applications.

LegacyAid's powerful editing tools assist programmers search existing source code - from individual programs to the largest enterprise systems - and easily implement desired code changes, including support of double-byte characters. LegacyAid efficiently handles systems consisting of millions of lines of code by identifying and flagging dates determined by the search criteria, examining analysis results and determining how date information moves through the system. LegacyAid then generates analysis reports and can make code changes either one-by-one or with batch processing.