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  1. Technology
March 29, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Information Builders Inc has set up a division to implement its Focus database management system and fourth generation language on the IBM AS/400. The New York-based company is also recruiting value-added resellers to develop and market Focus applications, writes Computer Systems News. The division represents the company’s first foray into the IBM mid-range; it never offered Focus products for the AS/400’s precursors – the System/36 and the System/38. This means however, that it has no reseller or user base, ready to convert applications. Paul Magel, manager of operations for the AS/400 division rationalises the move by arguing that the System 3X was simply unable to provide the necessary power to support the Focus product range – a problem which the AS/400 does not share. However, a number of resellers appear to have misgivings. David McKelvey, the vice-president of Information Associates, value-added reseller for the education market, is quoted as saying that the company currently has no plans to develop applications for the AS/400. According to McKelvey, even colleges and universities which currently use the Focus product are not interested in the the AS/400. In his experience, large universities tend to use mainframes for application development, while schools usually opt for DEC VAXes. The fact that IBM bundles a database manager with the AS/400 operating system is an additional problem confronting all third party software houses. For example, it will undoubtedly hinder Information Builders’ attempts to sell its Focus database engine. However, Magel points to a number of Focus selling points for potential AS/400 customers. For instance, Focus users will be able to query the OS/400 database, and retrieve data from a wide range of hardware. The product also enables users to join Focus data stored on systems running under Unix, MS-DOS, and VAX/VMS, with data held in Oracle or DB2 databases. Finally, with Focus 4GL, developers can port applications written on an MS-DOS micro directly to the AS/400. Short-term, the company is waiting for IBM to deliver the OS/400 C compiler – Focus for the AS/400 is being written in C. If the compiler arrives by mid-year, as scheduled, Information Builders says it will ship its AS/400 version in the fourth quarter.

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