Ilminster, Somerset-based IBM Corp system house C&K Software Ltd is moving towards open systems with its Single Image System that combines its Common User Interface, security and synchronisation software to front-end disparate mainframes, local area networks, databases and Unix systems. The move is strategically important for C&K, which since 1983, has focused its business on […]
Ilminster, Somerset-based IBM Corp system house C&K Software Ltd is moving towards open systems with its Single Image System that combines its Common User Interface, security and synchronisation software to front-end disparate mainframes, local area networks, databases and Unix systems. The move is strategically important for C&K, which since 1983, has focused its business on IBM mainframes – now a shrinking market. The Single Image System combines three existing C&K systems: the NC-Access Network Services Manager, NC-Syncom Password Synchroniser and NC-Pass Secure/NC-Pass Authenticator. The NC prefix stands for C&K’s development language, Network Control Interface, which the company describes as a highly customised system, capable of supporting over 10,000 users on a single version. The NC-Access software comprises a single sign-on system for VTAM Virtual Telecommunications Access Method networks; a Gateway Access Component that connects to applications and enables transactions to be selected directly from the menu; and a Multiple Session Component to provide multiple concurrent sessions from a single terminal. NC-Pass Secure links with NC-Access and secures access to all applications via Virtual Telecommunications Access Method Session Security Exits.
Hundreds of thousands of users
Networks are monitored centrally. The Pass Authenticator requires users to verify their identification by supplying information such as a personal number or sample signature in addition to their user identification or a standard password. The NC-Syncom co-ordinates user password changes across multiple databases under IBM MVS and VM systems or across multiple ACF 2 databases under MVS. This simplifies the management of password strategies for administrators – and for users, who have to remember one password only. C&K originally designed the system for IBM mainframes, but it can be extended to any Advanced Program to Program Commmunications / LU6.2-based system and NetWare network. Compatibility with native TCP/IP is planned for early 1993. The cost of the system depends on which modules are used and how many users are involved – C&K says it can support not just hundreds, but hundreds of thousands. The average cost is around UKP35,000, and this can go up to UKP250,000. It is available directly from C&K’s offices in the UK, Germany and US, and through the company’s European distribution network. Other C&K software includes the NCI/XF toolkit, a Virtual Telecommunications Access Method programming tool; the Multsess High Performance Option multiple session manager; PC-Access Co-operative Processing windowing software; and NC-Node Information Manager that displays the current status of applications. The company has around 1,000 corporate customers including major banks, credit companies, and service companies, including British Telecommunications Plc in the UK. It says its software is used by 150 large UK businesses and around 40% of all UK MVS sites. UK revenues currently account for 30% of the company’s annual turnover; 50% is generated from US operations and the remainder from Germany. The UK market is shrinking however and the focus is expected to shift towards the US and Germany, C&K says. The company, which is privately owned, distributed its products through Westinghouse Electric Corp until 1989 when Westinghouse abandoned its software operation. As a result, C&K opened its US and German sales offices and set up a network of nine European distributors. Business has continued to boom since then – the company has 65 staff and is continuing to recruit more – and saw its best performance to date last year when profits rose 250% – it prefers not to supply figures, however.