Following reports that SAP AG is struggling to get its client/server business application package R/3 to run on the System/390, Baan International BV, a major Unix rival, has announced that it will have a version of its own business suite, Baan IV, ready by the third quarter. Initially it will use the mainframe as a […]
Following reports that SAP AG is struggling to get its client/server business application package R/3 to run on the System/390, Baan International BV, a major Unix rival, has announced that it will have a version of its own business suite, Baan IV, ready by the third quarter. Initially it will use the mainframe as a database server and a full native port will follow early next year. IBM is using Baan’s announcement to beef up its claims that the mainframe is an ideal server for business client/server applications. Baan IV users who choose the mainframe version will benefit from the scalability and manageability often lacking in a Unix environment, according to the company. But some analysts argue that mainframe users who opt for Baan IV will not enjoy the same breadth of functionality as users who wait for the mainframe version of SAPs R/3. If you want complex, detailed mission-critical support, you have to go to SAP, said Mike Riffle, technology analyst at Arnold and Bleichroeder. Baan offers a lot less complex solution in a lot less time, he said. Chief executive of Baan, Jan Baan, disputed such claims. He said that Baan IV, formerly called Triton, is easy to use, not because it lacks function, but because it has been highly customized to provide added business benefits. It is based around libraries of templates, he says, which means that users will be able to implement Baan IV on the mainframe in roughly six months, compared with the nine months or longer associated with an SAP R/3 implementation. Companies like SAP force businesses to change their business processes to coincide with the functionality of their software, this is expensive and dangerous, he said. Jan Baan admits, however, that the mainframe port is not the key focus for Baan. Its just another platform that will increase our installed base, he said. NT is a strategic platform. According to Tom Tinsley, president and chief operating officer of Baan, NT will constitute 50 percent of the company’s revenues by the end of the decade. The company initially announced Baan IV running under Microsoft Windows NT on Compaq servers, in June. Since then, HP has said that it will support NT versions of the software on its PentiumPro-based NetServer LX. Digital Equipment has also said that it will support NT on its
Intel and Alpha servers using Microsoft SQL Server. Privately, however, Baan executives have expressed doubts over whether NT running on Microsoft’s SQL Server database is sufficiently scalable to support a large number of users. We only guarantee that Baan IV on SQL Server will support 200 users which is quite low. Sites with more than 200 users should choose Unix because of its scalability, said Baan’s Andrea Bottema.