Twelve-year old Candle Corp last week announced two new products designed to bring performance automation to IBM mainframe sites. First off is Candle’s Automated Facility or AF/Operator, which links to the company’s flagship performance management software, Omegamon, via a bi-directional interface. Omegamon now operates in MVS, VM, CICS, IMS and DB2 environments. Essentially, AF/Operator stores a set of user-defined procedures, written in a REXX-alike programming language, which can be invoked to correct a range of system problems. Candle has also developed an expert system-based sample library of canned routines for standard problem situations. When a problem is detected, Omegamon alerts the AF/Operator; the system then establishes the appropriate course of action, and issues the necessary Omegamon commands. It can also interrogate Omegamon, if it needs further information. In addition the AF/Operator streamlines day-to-day MVS running procedures, by actioning routine messages, and suppressing unimportant ones automatically. The second product, AF/Remote, is an IBM AT-based software package designed to accomodate remote problem solving by providing links to the mainframe master console. Candle believes the product will be used in two different ways. Instead of having to travel to a site, experts equipped with AF/Remote running on an AT or AT-alike, can dial up modem-to-modem links with an AT running AF/Remote at the data centre. By adding dedicated master and operator console cards, together with major application cards, to the on-site AT, experts can gain access to the console, and identify and correct problems without having to leave their desks. Alternatively, AF/Remote can be used by companies with a control bridge overseeing a number of different data centres. In this instance, Candle envisages leased lines being used to connect AF/Remote at the bridge end, with AF/Remote at each data centre. Pricing for the AF/Operator varies from site to site, but is placed at around UKP20,000 for a 3090 40-A type installation; AF/Remote costs UKP7,500. Both products are available now. Candle’s European chief Bill MacDonald says that AF/Remote has been installed by a Scandinavian company, and that both products have generated interest within Candle’s UK customer base. MacDonald also claims that a REXX version of AF/Remote will be out by the middle of this year. At a broader level, MacDonald is convinced that Candle will remain an independent company. Morino-Dusquesne and VM Software would clearly be wasting their time with Candle founder Aubrey Chernick, who apparently feels contented with his one-yacht-and-a-Beverley Hills-home lot. – Sophie Hanscombe
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