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July 23, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

Britton Lee Inc yesterday introduced three major new products, headlined by the BL300 Shared Database Systems intended to address the need to share SQL relational databases between IBM Personal computer workgroup systems and departmental systems such as the DEC VAX line. The new models of Britton Lee’s BL300 Shared Database Systems range in price from $17,950 to $90,950, plus software licence fees. The BL300 series consists of four models differentiated by disk storage capacity and backup devices. All models of the BL300 Shared Database Systems contain a dedicated database processor, 4Mb memory, slots for communications to the host systems and a variable amount of disk storage for the relational databases. All run Britton Lee’s Integrated Database Manager software which provides SQL relational database management. The conventional approach with a software only database facility on each micro and departmental system usually provides for limited or no database sharing with the other systems, the company said, It has expensive disk storage replicated on each system, and a substantial portion of the computer’s processing capacity is used doing database management. Those costs greatly exceed the price of the Britton Lee Shared Database System alternative. The idea of the Britton Lee system is that the application programs execute in the host systems, such as the IBM Personal or DEC VAX, and the relational database software executes in the Britton Lee system. The BL300 Series systems can attach to multiple host systems such as IBM PC-DOS, DEC VAX/VMS, AT&T Unix System V, and Apollo and Sun workstations. It attaches to the host systems via Ethernet or RS-232 communications links. Software licence fees for Version 1 of Britton Lee’s Integrated Database Manager are in addition to the systems prices, and range from $10,000 to $85,000 depending on the BL300 model and also the size of the host computer system to which the system is attached. IDM is described as a full function SQL relational database facility which off-loads the database function from a host computer into the Shared Database System. A special PC Starter Package is available for use with the BL300 Model 20 and 25 systems at the bundled price of $7,000 for 10 Personals and one BL300 system. It consists of Britton Lee Integrated Database Manager host PC system resident software, IDM/RDBMS software that provides SQL relational database management on the BL300 Models 20 and 25 and PC/SQL-Link software for the IBM PC-DOS systems. PC/SQL-Link offers menu-driven SQL language generation, allowing Personal users who are not familiar with the SQL relational database language to access databases stored on the Britton Lee System. The BL300 Model 20 consists of a database processor and memory, 63Mb of disk, expandable to 126Mb, and cartridge tape back-up in a floor standing tower. System price is $17,950. The Model 25 consists of a database processor and memory, 300Mb disk going to 600Mb, and tape, in the same floor standing tower, at $24,950 for the system. The Model 40 has 400Mb disk going to 800Mb, choice of cartridge tape or 9 track reel-to-reel tape drive mounted in a 40 high single bay cabinet. System price is $49,950. The Model 60 takes up to 3.5Gb disk and starts at 95,950. Britton Lee also announced plans to introduce a new version of its Integrated Database Manager software that will conform to industry standards such as ANSI SQL and IBM’s DB2. The current Version 1 of Britton Lee software runs on more than 800 of its BL700 and BL300 systems worldwide. The new Version 2 has been extended to accommodate the new BL8000 Shared Database System capabilities. It provides the functionality to support the flexibility and power of relational database management, including full facilities for database definition and modification, query processing, transaction management, data integrity, security, back-up, recovery and database optimisation. Version 2 will include extensions for the 32-bit architecture of the new generation of Britton Lee Shared Database Systems, beginning wi

th the newly announced BL8000. It will be released in July 1988. IDM Version 2 consists of two modules: IDM host-resident software and IDM/RDBMS which resides in the Britton Lee Shared Database System. The licence price of the host-resident IDM Version 2 software is from $5,000 for 10 IBM Personals to $60,000 for the IBM 3090 and DEC VAX 8900. The IDM/RDBMS software for the BL8000 is $75,000.

Focus on VM/CMS

And the company also announced an interface to the Focus applications generator, providing direct access to Shared Database Systems in the IBM VM/CMS mainframe environment. Focus on VM/CMS, a product of Information Builders Inc of New York, can now access Britton Lee systems in the same way that it accesses IBM’s SQL/DS. Focus users will be able to share data with users from DEC, IBM Personal and Unix workstation environments. Communications between VM/CMS hosts and Britton Lee databases is through IBM Block Multiplexor Channel attachment. Focus is a complete information control system with report writing, graphics, spreadsheets, statistical packages, superior analytical capabilities and decision support facilities. It will be available from Information Builders beginning in October on the BL700 Series and in 1988 on the BL8000. Details of the new BL8000 were not available.

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