Partnership Provides for Quicker Access to AS/400 Data

NetManage, a Cupertino, Calif.-based supplier of e-business access and application integration solutions, has joined forces with StarQuest Software (Berkeley, Calif.). Through the partnership, NetManage will now be able to provide its ViewNow users with quicker access to AS/400 data and also be able to support the current ODBC standards.

Moving 25,000 records normally takes 9 minutes -- with StarQuest, it took under 4 1/2 minutes.
Under terms of the agreement, NetManage will bundle StarQuest’s StarSQL ODBC driver--which provides fast, direct access to IBM’s DB2 relational database from any ODBC-compliant desktop application--with its ViewNow product line.

The ViewNow product line provides Windows users with a set of connectivity applications for access to mainframe, AS/400, and UNIX hosts. ViewNow 400 is a high-performance solution for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT connectivity to AS/400 servers.

Although ViewNow supports other host systems, the StarQuest StarSQL ODBC driver will only be bundled for NetManage’s AS/400 customers. According to Thomas Frischknecht, NetManage’s director of worldwide business development, the reason for this lies in the fact that 50 percent of its AS/400 customers use ViewNow for database access. ”This was a strategic decision because we are committed to the AS/400 market,” he says. “It’s very important for us to provide the tools to quickly access AS/400 data because that’s what a lot of our customers use it for.”

Previously, NetManage had a partnership with another vendor who provided an ODBC driver to support ViewNow. However, when Microsoft launched Access 2000, that all changed. “Our old partner was not able to meet the new ODBC standards, so we weren’t able to provide that support to our customers,” says Frischknecht. “We realized that for our larger enterprise customers it was mission-critical for them to have access to a full range of AS/400 data.”

Right away, NetManage began searching the market for a company that could provide quick AS/400 data access and also support the new ODBC standard. They quickly turned their attention to StarQuest, a company that specializes in providing Internet infrastructure solutions linking IBM enterprise customers to the Web.

“We began evaluating the market and came across StarQuest,” Frischknecht says. “They were extremely responsive and we ran them through a series of internal tests. What we found is that they were able to double the transactions per second that our previous partner could. We moved 25,000 records, which normally takes us nine minutes. With StarQuest, it took us just under four and a half minutes.”

NetManage is currently shipping StarQuest StarSQL with the ViewNow suite for AS/400. Existing customers with a maintenance contract can simply go on line and download StarSQL from the Internet. Customers without a maintenance agreement must purchase the ODBC driver directly from NetManage.

In addition to the StarSQL OBDC driver, NetManage is also selling separately the StarSQL server version. The server version is only available upon request and is designed for AS/400 users who want to run their software on an NT server.

For NetManage, the partnership prevented what could have turned out to be a big problem. “It took us seven months to support the new standards,” says Frischknecht. “We were really pro-active in pursuing this so it didn’t hit us very hard, but it had the potential to do so if we didn’t do something about it.”

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