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May 26, 1988

AS THE USER COMMUNITY TUNE IN TO TUNING – THE VENDORS FOCUS ON INNOVATION

By CBR Staff Writer

When Ameritech’s Applied Data Research launched its MS-DOS expert system – Mindover MVS – last month, it was perhaps the first sign of the product and market development revamp underway in the performance management sector. In the drive to retain and increase market share, companies are not only looking to expert systems, but are also diversifing out of their niche markets and listening hard to what users want. According to Computer Intelligence research for January 1988 third parties had 66% of the IBM and plug-compatibles performance measurement and monitoring software market worldwide. While IBM retained 33% Candle Corp was not far behind with 32% and Boole & Babbage, had a modest 13%. But the picture is very different further down the market share line where companies are fighting for elbow room: Landmark 6%, Goal Systems 5% and ADR 4%, Morino Associates 3% and others 4%. Applied Data claimed that Mindover MVS is the first MS-DOS system that can collect data, analyse it to establish the problem causing poor overall MVS performance and recommend what should be done to solve it. Knowledge base Mindover MVS can offer this performance management over 12 domains including channel utilisation, paging and workload analysis. ADR reckons Mindover MVS can come up with recommendations in half an hour where a human expert would have taken days or weeks to solve a similar problem. Applied Data, Princeton, New Jersey – which was acquired by Ameritech for $215m three years ago, has 1,500 employees worldwide and reported a turnover of $172.9m last year – is now considering developing more specific products such as Mindover CICS. Brian Stevens, ADR product manager for Mindover MVS explains, The knowledge base is the only thing that has to change from application to application. We can use the same expert system technology. ADR says it is moving away from providing performance monitors such as its Look for which it claims 1,100 users worldwide for its VSE, MVS and Datacom/DB versions. Landmark Systems Corp, Springfield, Virginia – annual turnover $13m with 105 staff – is also moving away from its niche market which it has secured with its Monitor for CICS. Landmark’s strategy so far has been to offer easy-to-use tools aimed at as wide a range of people as possible interested in CICS performance. The company now plans to develop performance monitoring products across IBM’s other strategic environments – MVS, VTAM, TSO and DB2. But in venturing outside its traditional market Landmark faces more competition from the likes of Candle Corp, Los Angeles. Candle reckons it will have a complete range of products for IBM systems and subsystems within 18 months and claims that around 70% of all MVS sites on average already use three of its products, such as its transactions-oriented configurations monitor, Omegamon CICS. Candle says it is also developing expert systems-based technology but maintains what it really wants is to be known as the only company able to offer everything a site needs for performance monitoring, from a single vendor. Although no expert systems based products have yet shown up, as part of Candle’s drive to offer greater coverage of the IBM market, the company has just launched Omegamon for DB2, a real-time monitor for the IBM relational database. Omegamon DB2 uses realtime analysis of DB2 performance to give automatic warnings of potential problems before they impact users. It monitors systems information such as response levels and compares them against limits set by the data centre. If the limits are exceeded, visual and audio warnings are issued. Software tools for improving performance are provided. Omegamon for DB2 facilities include locking analysis, resource usage and identification of active users. It runs in a variety of modes including VTAM and TSO and supports entry of system commands in CICS, TSO and IMS environments and costs UKP19,900. Morino Associates Inc – which has focussed on TSO monitoring with its TSO/Mon and MICS management support system – is also looking for growth in new areas. The company sees c

hange control monitoring and management of system changes – as a future growth area. According to Ian Cartwright, Morino UK general manager, performance management of distributed computers is in the plan and it recently acquired DEC software specialist AMC, with an eye for growth in that market. Morino reckons 15% of the 17,000 MVS sites worldwide use its products. Database Utility Group, of Seattle, Washington has developed a DB2 performance monitor, Insight/DB2, which costs $30,000. John Hafen, Database director of marketing said users should turn to specialists for their specific performance monitoring needs, for the same reason a that someone with eye trouble goes to an optician rather than their GP. We see Candle as a general practioner. he said. Database Utility Group employs just 20 staff with $3m annual turnover. But Kathy Clark vice president at Landmark thinks Hafen’s argument is more marketing hype than anything else: We used to use that argument against Candle. We billed ourselves as CICS specialists. It’s probably not fair to call Candle a general practioner: they have the resources and reputations to hire the best. But can any of the other third party companies hope to challenge Candle – 1986 turnover of $75m with a staff of 650 worldwide? Landmark’s Clark said: Candle’s products are very technical – they are geared to systems programmers. We also try to include information which can be used by operations people who actually take the calls from users. The emphasis has been on offering such user friendly features as graphics monitors and easy access to information such as response time, input-output rates and which CPUs are being used. User friendly Yet there are signs that Candle has set out to offer products which are more user friendly. Last month users welcomed Omegamon version 350 for VM – an enhanced version of its Omegamon 300 performance management system. Harbinger Bansal, systems software manager for British Telecom central West Midlands district is one. The new release is much more user friendly. It was easier to install and easier to use. The menus have more information so you don’t have to go through the manual to find out how it works, he says. Lloyds of London VM senior programmer Roger Davis has also noticed the change: The graphic presentation of the facts is much better. With the old release you had to know all the commands and what information they display. Davis added: You get a lot more information from Omegamon than you do from the IBM’s VM Smart package. The increasing competition between performance monitoring companies will probably claim casualties as growth strategies fail but the move towards expert systems and user friendly products promises to make performance monitoring a less time consuming and difficult user task.

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