VM Software Inc of Reston, Virginia came out with a second version of its VMCentre product last week, bringing its three latest products, VMMonitor, VMOperator and VMBatch into the product; and adding new versions of some of its older utilities, which it says work better together. The move was in response to growing criticisms that its products were difficult to use together, were each written separately rather than as an integrated suite, and that they were difficult for the DP department to ‘sell’ internally to its own end-user departments simply because they weren’t friendly enough. VMCentre II is now all 10 of VM Software’s products bundled into one price, with cost savings for users of something like 40% to 50% over buying them seperately. The basis of the changes in each individual product is that they now show common end-user screen formats, and loading procedures, with the loading procedures centralised so that a single administrator can manage all product users on a large mainframe site, from a single terminal. The company says that new versions of some of the products mean that they all work better together, and offer all the management needed for any data centre that works entirely with IBM’s VM operating system. The company has been selling individual products in the UKP8,000 to UKP9,000 price range, and in 1985 decided it had enough products to cover most of the problems of managing a VM data centre, so bundled them into a single price and a single sales strategy. VMCenter II is the second attempt at that stategy and the firm hopes it has got it right this time. Users can still buy the individual products, but the pricing pretty much prohibits it. VMCenter II prices vary with processor size from UKP15,875 on the smallest 4300s and the 9370s; up to UKP55,300 on a multiprocessor 3090. VM Software is well known throughout the VM community for VM versions of a number of standard utilities, with VMBackup, VMArchive, VMSecure, VMSort, VMTape, VMSchedule and VMAccount, doing pretty much what their names suggest, but tailored for VM usage. A couple of these products, notably Secure and Sort have made good ground in mature market areas, displacing long established favourites such as IBM’s RACF, and Computer Associates Inc’s ACF II security packages, and making some inroads into Syncsort’s stanglehold on the IBM mainframe sort utility market. The company believes there are 900 processors licensed to run VM in the UK – but as IBM says, we know how many people have VM in their shop, but we don’t know how many actually use it.