NCR Corp took center stage in the transaction processing world late last month, detailing a plan to make Top End open by turning source code and implementation rights over to an additional half dozen master distributors, which will peddle the transaction processing software, plus value-added technologies, through their respective channels. Due to be floated off […]
NCR Corp took center stage in the transaction processing world late last month, detailing a plan to make Top End open by turning source code and implementation rights over to an additional half dozen master distributors, which will peddle the transaction processing software, plus value-added technologies, through their respective channels. Due to be floated off by AT&T Corp later this year, NCR is moving swiftly to resuscitate key middleware and databases technologies stifled under its masquerade as AT&T Global Information Solutions. Its LifeKeeper fault-tolerant software will be the next boat it pushes out to partners. Bridgewater, New Jersey-based EnterSoft Systems Corp is the first of NCR’s new Top End recruits and the summer 1995 start-up already has Silicon Graphics Inc and Santa Cruz Operation Inc Unix implementations on the runway, plus MVS CICS and IMS, and Tuxedo gateways in the hangar. EnterSoft will market Top End through channel partners and won’t sell to end users direct. It claims five integrators and vendors in the program but declined to name any of them; potential customers will have to wait for a marketing campaign to roll out in about three weeks’ time. EnterSoft claims Top End is technically further advanced than Tuxedo and vastly better suited to large-scale implementations and as a result will gradually de-emphasize and phase out its Tuxedo products. It says Top End has 25% of the open systems transaction processing market, BEA Systems Inc claims Tuxedo’s share is 40%. EnterSoft says the LifeKeeper software it will get under a further agreement is inexpensive – less than $14,000 at the high end – fault-tolerant software especially suited to Windows NT environments that are less robust than Unix. EnterSoft’s president is Ward Geise, formerly of Information Management Co, one of the transaction processing companies swallowed by Tuxedo start-up BEA Systems. It expects to double its headcount to 24 within a couple of months, following which it will be ready for a second round of venture funding.
Farming Top End marketing out
The company isn’t saying who its backers are or how much they have given. Open systems transaction processing vendors are positioning themselves best to catch whatever part the $70,000m investment already made in mainframe transaction processing systems spills over to open systems. NCR’s plan for farming Top End marketing out is not as extensive as the relationship BEA Systems has created with Novell Inc for Tuxedo (CI No 2,839); NCR will retain responsibility for core Top End development, albeit with its distributors’ input. Its Object Linking & Embedding- enabled Windows NT version – release 2.03 – is due shortly, and features and functions of it will be integrated with the current 2.02 Unix version in a 2.04 release by the year-end. Top End badly needs wider industry exposure, as only 20% of installs are currently on non-NCR systems. The company wouldn’t say how many Top End customers it has or how large the business is, but it reckons that for every dollar spent on Top End it gets a further $80 of business in systems, service and support. It lists Top End’s key advantages over Tuxedo and Transarc Corp Encina as scalability, high-availability, distributed transaction processing and global administration. NCR’s other master distributors and source licensees include Nippon Steel Corp’s Enicom IT arm in Japan, Samsung Electronics Co in Korea and Independence Technologies Inc, the Fremont, California company that’s also part of BEA Systems. ITI Technologies Inc has already implemented Top End for Solaris and HP-UX, it has Unisys Corp, Digital Unix and Pyramid Technology Corp versions in beta test. NCR says it is currently lining up a licensee in China and has a set of mainframe gateways for Top End on the runway.