After 20 years in the software business, most of it tied to the IBM mainframe world under its former name of Cullinane, Cullinet Software Inc has been having a pretty hard time of it over the last two years. The reason, according to UK managing director Robin Dahlberg, was the shuddering halt experienced in that […]
After 20 years in the software business, most of it tied to the IBM mainframe world under its former name of Cullinane, Cullinet Software Inc has been having a pretty hard time of it over the last two years. The reason, according to UK managing director Robin Dahlberg, was the shuddering halt experienced in that market in 1986. Customers were telling us we needed to support departmental systems, or we wouldn’t be around very long, says Dahlberg. In fact, Cullinet’s blinkered dependence on the IBM market led to it missing both the rise of interest in departmental and distributed databases, and the new popularity of relational databases over the older generation of hierarchical systems such as Cullinet’s IDMS. The result was heavy losses, as the company sank 24% of its annual turnover into research and development in an effort to catch up. Last May, Cullinet laid off 19% of its workforce in order to drive its expense level down permanently. But during those two years, the company claims to have re-thought its approach to the software market, and through acquisitions and internal development is now ready with its new Enterprise range of products, initially aimed at VAX/VMS systems, but with Unix versions due early next year, and IBM versions within a calender year. The technology behind the new products – which include an SQL-compliant relational database, applications builder and generator, and an expert system development tool – comes largely from three acquisitions made during 1986 and 1987. The database originates from California based Esvel Inc, which arose from the same stable of ex-IBMers that also resulted in the formation of Sybase Inc – hence the similar client-server approach taken by both Sybase and Cullinet in the database design. Applied Development Corp provided application development software, and Distribution Management Systems artificial intelligence skills. Cullinet rates its Enterprise:DB database for VMS at 43 transactions per second running the TP1 benchmark on a VAX 8820, which it says far outperforms Oracle’s recently launched Version 6, and credits its Enterprise Builder and Generator with similar high performance, due to its ability to output third generation language code through a target machine’s optimised compiler. The Unix version of Enterprise:DB is due within three months, and Cullinet also has a full set of Unix tools under development.