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October 20, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Obliged to explain why a Lotus Development Corp represe-ntative should be chosen to discuss The Distributed Database choice, managing director Paul Bailey told delegates at the recent IBM PC User Conference that the company will offer a database product by next year. Warming to his theme, Bailey argued that OS/2 had been responsible for spearheading a clear future requirement for relational database management systems, and claimed that the current market was on the verge of a major transition. Justification was presented in the form of a historical overview, with the mainframe, dumb terminal, and strong centralised data processing era of the early 1970s described as Phase I. Phase II, argued Bailey, was triggered by the IBM Personal Computer revolution six years ago, which led to a loss of control over data processing procedures, and the invasion of the DP department by data and application islands. Consequently, although some 25% more was spent on personal computer investment than mainframe investment, return on investment became difficult to establish and harness. Responding to this need has apparently brought the market to the current, Phase III, era of computing integration. With the DP department back in control, and the increased tendency to integrate micro applications with corporate data, Systems Application Architecture, argued Bailey, was born to facilitate cross platform integration and meet additional user demands for easy access to multiple data sources, data and application sharing, and a high degree of compatibility. The thrust of Bailey’s argument appeared to be that a sucessful database product could slot into this environment, by applying the broader integration and distribution principles to specific facilities and features. To this end, he continued, Lotus would provide a separate but integratable offering, comprising a database server with a set of workstation productivity tools. The adoption of Presentation Manager would provide dialogues, windows and an easy-to-use int erface, while SQL, although invisible to the user, would act as the connection between the database and applications. The database server could, he indicated, be located either locally, or on a network node. Specific components would include roll and commit, roll forward for auto-start, deadlock and recovery issues, and tight spreadsheet integration. On the question of a standard database interface, he added that Lotus had developed a blueprint interface specification embracing IBM LU2 and LU6.2 communication protocols, which would enable the user to interface a wide range of Lotus applications and operate across a range of different computer systems.

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