While IBM is due to make its major mainframe announcement today, three of the companies that produce rival relational databases to IBM’s DB2 chose Friday to launch new products and to state their future development directions. First off the mark, just, was Applied Data Research which introduced release 1.4 of its fourth generation applications development system Ideal – the product’s third enhancement in 17 months. The Ameritech subsidiary claims that Ideal 1.4 improves batch and online system throughput and reduces CICS temporary storage input-output, both by 25%, improves response time by 20% and reduces CPU use by 15%, when compared with release 1.3, itself a similarly significant improvement on Ideal 1.2. Release 1.4 also contains enhancements to security, report writing, and data definition and manipulation facilites, as well as the ability to distribute Ideal reports through an electronic mail network based on ADR/eMail. Minutes after the Ideal 1.4 announcement, Software AG, vendor of the Adabas relational database, announced, in West Germany, a new version of its applications development rival to Ideal, Natural. However, no-one at the company’s UK offices was able to provide any further details. The upgrade to Ideal is the first of a long string of announcements ADR has planned for this year. The next launches, according to executive vice-president Bill Gifford, will include a tool to ease conversion from Cincom Systems’ non-relational Total database to ADR’s Datacom/DB; Look/Ideal, a complete performance management and capacity planning tool for all IBM mainframe operating systems and teleprocessing monitors including CICS, and for Datacom/DB; Datacom/DB to DEC VAX links; and complimentary versions of all the company’s mainframe products for the IBM-compatible Personal Computer. But, Gifford’s highest hopes are reserved for products for the IBM 9370, a range which Gifford describes as an absolute winner. ADR is working on extensions to its distributed database D-Net product which will support replicated and partitioned databases on the 9370. Company president Dennis Strigl, until November president of another Ameritech subsidiary Mobile Communications, says that despite the coming launch of new products for the Personal Computer, ADR will continue for the foreseeable future to take 90% of its revenue from packages aimed at 370-type architecture users.