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November 11, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Data General follows AViiON announcement with avalanche of software

Having announced its latest low-end AViiON servers – the AV5500s – a few weeks ago, Data General Corp president Ron Skates unveiled a raft of new software partnerships and supported availability in London last week (CI No 2,291). Skates claims that 20,000 AViiONs have been installed since the launch in 1989 (that compares with 50,000 of its proprietary Eclipse boxes, though sales of these have slipped to $109m this year from $763m in 1989). However, doubt remains that Data General chose the right horse when it backed Motorola Inc’s 88110 RISC for the AViiONS, and that customers will face a migration to another chip over the next few year. Although Data General says it has yet to decide on its strategy, and claims it has three to four more years of life in the 88000 architecture, Joel Schwartz, vice-president of Data General’s AViiON Business Unit confirmed hints that the company has been making for some time about converting DG/UX for other RISCs. Schwartz said that the DG/UX Unix operating system was being put up on more than one RISC processor and that it would be available on other systems within 15 to 18 months. Aside from giving Data General an exit path from the 88000, the strategy will give its customers access to systems also capable of running Microsoft Corp’s NT operating system, said Schwartz. Data General claims its DG/UX operating system is more than 90% compatible with the new Spec 1170 Unix application programming interface. The company scooped up at least six months’ worth of Unix software announcements into what it calls its Enterprise Software/Service Portfolio. Steve Gardner, vice-president of corporate marketing with the Westborough, Massachusetts-based firm, says that of the 20 or so new products and relationships embraced by the announcement, at least half have been generated by software houses approaching it, a marked change from the days when Data General went cap in hand to indpendent software vendors. Gardner claims some 3,000 or so applications are now up on the AViiON Unix systems, which now account for some $400m of the company’s annual revenues.

OpenView, Tivoli and Unicenter for management

Top of the pile of announcements is Data General’s decision to plump for Hewlett-Packard Co’s brand of network management. Reston, Virginia-based Digital Analysis Corp will put HP OpenView up on AViiONs and integrate it with OS/Eye*Node, its own network management system, which is already offered by Data General. Hewlett has already won support for NetView from Digital Equipment Corp, IBM Corp and NCR Corp, and says it has more deals in the pipeline. The combined system will ship from spring next year. Concurrently with Data General’s announcement, Hewlett-Packard said it was now offering support for IBM SNA networks from within OpenView. In view of the delay – or abandonment – of the Open Software Foundation’s Distributed Management Environment, Data General has also picked up Tivoli Systems Inc’s TMF distributed systems management framework, although even the current version 1.6 of the Tivoli technology won’t be up on AViiONs until the middle of next year. Although Data General is offering TMF alongside Computer Associates Inc’s rival CA-Unicenter systems management software, Gardner claims the two address entirely different markets. CA-Unicenter – now out at Data General sites in beta form and due to be generally available on AViiONs by the end of the first quarter of next year – is being positioned by Data General as a solution for customers coming from the mainframe world, while TMF is regarded as more appropriate for those that have already grasped the open systems stick. Also new on Data General’s Enterprise Management ticket is Patrol Software Inc’s DDS/Patrol automatic monitoring and management tool – out now – and Sterling Software Inc’s Connect:Queue scheduling and workload balancing system, expected in first quarter next year.

Coming down from mainframes

There are new tools to enable customers with a range of di

fferent systems to recompile existing applications and software environments for AViiONs. They include Cincom Systems Inc’s Supra Starter Pack – aimed at Supra 1 users and due immediately – and Bombay-based Datamatics Pvt Ltd’s xPort and dBridge Pace and Cobol conversion kits, which are due by the end of the year, targeted at Wang Laboratories Inc users. Datamatics will also now co-bid with Data General to Wang customers. Data General will support Information Builders Inc’s EDA/SQL database access middleware and will work with Information Builders to help mainframe users move applications written in the firm’s Focus language to AViiON systems. Bull North America’s Integris division is working with Data General to optimise its UniKix software for symmetric multiprocessing on AViiONs – Data General will distribute the new version, in North America only. Information Management Corp’s Open TransPort mainframe to Unix file transport and SyncSort batch processing software will also feature on AViiONs, from the first quarter of next year.

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Financial applications to fore

Data General expects the greatest returns on its latest software ventures from a raft of new financial packages it will be offering. These include Datalogix Inc’s GEMMS integrated Oracle financials environment and up and coming Peoplesoft Inc’s Oracle-based client-server personnel and financial applications, all due by the first quarter of next year. Platinum Software Corp’s SeQueL to Platinum, Concepts Dynamic Inc’s Informix-based Control Series and Dun & Bradstreet’s Smartstream 2.0 are all available now, with Computer Associates’ Masterpiece due in the first quarter of next year. And via an expected pact with Belgian firm Soft Cell NV, Symix Computer Systems Inc will offer its Symix Solution combined with Soft Cell’s financial software.

Development environments

Data General has chosen CenterLine Software Inc’s ObjectCenter and CodeCenter C++ and C development environments – both due in the second quarter of 1994 – and with Forte Software Inc for its client-server Forte middleware, due by the middle of next year. Forte, which Data General is also using internally, runs under Motif, Macintosh and Windows interfaces and supports Oracle and Sybase databases. Forte also has strategic partnerships with Apple Computer Inc, DEC, IBM and Sequent Computer Systems Corp.

Corporate support to integrate office into the enterprise

With what it admits is the lofty goal of integrating the office into the rest of the enterprise, Data General is also to offer a number of what it describes as corporate support solutions. Saros Corp’s Document Manager repository and Oracle Corp’s Parallel server are due by the end of the first quarter of next year, Uniplex Ltd’s onGo environment – part of which was contributed by Data General – is out now, while its agreement with Sybase Inc has been renegotiated to include System 10 tools by the end of the year and the all-important Replication Server by the end of the second quarter of 1994. – William Fellows and John Abbott

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