NetManage Keeps Pace with Host Access Developments

With the end of the millenium less than 11 months away, NetManage Inc. (Cupertino, Calif.) continues to find ways of growing its presence in the AS/400 host access market while preparing its products and services for Year 2000 compliance.

In mid-December, NetManage began shipping the latest version of its NetSoft/Portfolio product family. The availability of NS/Portfolio Version 3.12 was accompanied shortly after by a Year 2000 upgrade to OnNet Host and OnNet Host Suite as well as a Y2K-compliant version of PC/TCP, NetManage's PC-based TCP/IP networking solutions.

NS/Portfolio 3.12 is designed to keep pace with OS/400 enhancements and includes a feature that enables PC access to AS/400 databases directly over TCP/IP links using enhanced ODBC drivers. Portfolio now also includes TN5250e support to identify IP sessions as OS/400.

Version 3.12 still includes NS/Router Portfolio as well as integration and NetWare Directory Services (which provide support and enable direct data importing to MS Word mail merges and Excel spreadsheets). NS/Portfolio for AS/400 is Microsoft Office integrated and includes OpenWizard and OpenWrite. These products allow users to download AS/400 data directly into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or Word document.

NS/Portfolio 3.12 includes features that help users better take advantage of V4R2 and V4R3, according to Chuck Cruz, director of product management for NetManage. With Client Access Express, for example, IBM is removing the router portion of that product and going IP links only. "Within the Portfolio product, we can go direct IP and still maintain the SNA link capability," he says. "If you’re looking for a migration software, I think Portfolio stands pretty well there because we not only support the SNA link, we support direct IP. And of course with the new TN5250e printing enhancements and device naming, we’re right up to snuff in terms of operating system compatibility."

The release of 3.12 "tells a pretty good story for NetManage," says Stephen Drake, research analyst with International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass.). "The NetSoft products are still a good piece of NetManage's revenue, so it's important to keep that product up to date, particularly in the area of Y2K and compatibility with new versions of operating systems like OS/400."

NetManage continues to pick up where NetSoft left off when it was acquired in July 1997. "When you look at the midrange market in general, there was a decline in the traditional host access market in 1997, but NetManage actually gained some market share on the strength of its NetSoft products," Drake says. "AS/400 shops tend to be just AS/400, so there's still a need for a stand-alone midrange host access product."

NetManage has also been busy in other areas of its business. December also saw the announcement of an upgrade to its OnNet Host and OnNet Host Suite terminal emulation and TCP/IP suite software. The new releases are designed to address customer requirements for Year 2000 compliance and support for Microsoft Windows 98, while ensuring that performance is optimized in areas such as TN5250 and TN3270. New features include support for the Interdrive version 5.0 client, a Network File System (NFS) utility that includes improved NIS automount and YP commands.

In addition, NetManage continues its flurry of development by announcing the availability of PC/TCP Network Software V5.0 and PC/TCP Kernel V5.0, the Year 2000-compliant versions of its PC-based TCP/IP networking solutions. "With the PC/TCP announcement, NetManage acknowledges that there are a lot of users out there that haven’t migrated to a 32-bit operating systems," Cruz says. "There are a lot of customers out there looking for a TCP/IP stack that is Y2K compliant."

In related NetManage news, the company announced that OnDisplay Inc., a San Ramon, Calif.-based developer of rapid integration solutions for ERP, e-commerce and Web portal applications, has selected NetManage's OpSession for showcasing OnDisplay's CenterStage products. OpSession is NetManage's Internet-based, real-time customer interaction tool.