Vision, IDION Merge to Create "High-Availability Powerhouse"

The high-availability software marketplace may soon reach new heights, as Vision Solutions Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) and IDION Software (Johannesburg, South Africa) have merged to form what Nicolass Vlok, CEO of IDION Technology Holdings is calling a "high-availability powerhouse."

Under terms of the agreement, holding company IDION Technology Holdings Ltd. has purchased Vision for a total consideration worth $62.5 million. Vision in turn has merged with IDION Software—a subsidiary of IDION Technology Holdings.

IDION's expertise in clustering and partition as well as Windows NT and Unix has Vision not only planning to accelerate its strategy to become the high-availability standard for AS/400, but also to expand its efforts enterprisewide.

"The biggest benefit of the merger is that it provides us with an influx of technology resources that we would otherwise be unable to find in Southern California," says Chris Turner, Chairman and CTO of Vision Solutions. These additional resources will be used to develop a single-source availability solution for the enterprise, he explains. In attempting to achieve this goal, Vision is focusing its efforts heavily on enterprise application integration (EAI) with particular emphasis on clustering and data sharing.

CATSvpe—a product from the line that fostered an OEM agreement between Vision and IDION 18 months prior to the merger—figures to play a substantial role in Vision's single-source strategy. According to Vlok, CATSvpe is the only virtual partitioning solution on the market. Virtual partitioning allows hardware and software properties to be shared across partitions. CATSvpe, specifically, can partition a single AS/400 up to 96 times so that 96 independent entities could operate off a single server without having to invest in separate hardware and software packages.

To fully take advantage of CATSvpe's potential, Vision is in the midst of developing clustering software that is cross-platform compatible. "We're already working on an enterprise clusterware offering that can be managed from a single interface," says Vlok. The product, tentatively scheduled for a mid-2001 release, would make Vision, according to Vlok, "the only high-availability player with a complete clustering solution."

Vision is also in the process of revamping its data-sharing tool, SYMBIATOR, to improve its compatibility. Turner says the new version will provide functionality for seamless exchange of information between AS/400, NT and Unix.

The potential flexibility offered by Vision's proposed clustering and data-sharing products, when considered in conjunction with CATSvpe, would, theoretically, permit the sharing of hardware and software properties as well as the exchange of information, regardless of platform differences.

With several new products on the way, Vision "will continue to establish OEM relationships with ISVs and storage-level manufacturers," says Turner. Vision foresees an intense marketing initiative as the best way to quickly position itself as the dominant player in the availability-solutions market. “The goal is to become the de facto standard for high-availability software,” he adds.

Vision has loftier aspirations for the future, however. "We'd like to get to a point where we're working closely with IBM Rochester, SAP (Walldorf, Germany), J.D. Edwards (Denver), PeopleSoft (Pleasanton, Calif.) and other industry players to develop self-healing systems," says Turner. "Because it's just not possible to produce in today's workplace when a network is down. When a network is down, you can't do your job."

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