GoFaster Governor Buster Marketed, With Discretion
Published: January 5, 2010
by Alex Woodie
When it comes to the class of i OS software known as a governor buster, people tend to speak evasively, in hushed tones. Nobody wants to experience the wrath of IBM lawyers for making and selling software whose sole purpose is to unlock computer processing power that customers have not paid for. Everybody remembers what happened to Fast400. And while the Spanish company American Top Tools avoids the limelight, it continues to sell the GoFaster CFINT buster to AS/400 and iSeries shops around the world.
American Top Tools started selling GoFaster in 2002, soon after IBM ramped up its policy of restricting interactive 5250 processing power on its iSeries line of servers, and about a year after a company called TigerTools, located on the Isle of Mann, introduced its own governor buster called Fast400. The Fast400 saga ended in late 2005 after a series of events--including FBI raids, emergency PTFs, sale of the code base, and a good helping of lawsuits--had taken their course, which ended with Fast400 folding up its tent.
Despite the hullabaloo surrounding Fast400, American Top Tools continues to develop its version of a CFINT buster--so called because it somehow circumvents the operating system's 5250-squashing CFINT job from sucking up all available interactive processing capacity when the server has reached its predetermined limit.
American Top Tools has not experienced the kind of legal pressure that IBM applied to Fast400, according to Ricardo Lopez, a management assistant with the Barcelona company, adding that there is nothing illegal about making governor busters and that it intends to continue serving the demand for tools that allow older AS/400 and iSeries iron to run 5250 interactive programs at their full capacity.
"We are not aware of any known laws which can affect GoFaster's legal existence or its users," Lopez writes. "When IBM acted against Fast400, it [was] more of a kind of blackmail to force Fast400 to withdraw from the market. IBM actually didn't win the case, but came to an agreement with its owner to make it disappear from the market."
A big potential impediment to GoFaster's business model occurred way back in 2003 when IBM (mostly) moved away from the interactive/batch pricing model--a move made in large part to combat the uproar over the CFINT governor and the rise of Fast400. With the introduction of standard and enterprise editions of the operating system, iSeries (as the box was then called) customers could get a server without any restriction on 5250 processing, which IBM then started calling online transaction processing, or OLTP.
Despite the availability of the unrestricted enterprise version of i5/OS and i OS, the bulk of iSeries, System i, and i OS-based Power Systems servers sold over the last decade use the standard edition of the operating system, and therefore have limited 5250 throughput, according to Lopez.
"It has been a decade where most of the AS/400 machines sold had their interactive limited," he writes. "We believe that another 10 years must go before we can say all our potential customers have vanished."
But Lopez is mum when asked to cite the names or number of customers, or to provide a receptive customer with which to speak, for the purpose of determining their opinion of the software. A reporter probably has a better chance of handling the remains of Geronimo at a Skull and Bones meeting.
"Our customers don't want to make publicity about their experience and we have to make the effort to guarantee the required discretion," Lopez writes. "Forget not that our customers are also IBM customers and have to have a good relationship with them. With our discretion, we do lose the possibility of boasting our success and GoFaster acceptance, but we win the confidence and faithfulness of our customers. It is our implicit commitment with our customers."
The same goes for the resellers and distributors of GoFaster, who prefer not to chance their relationships with IBM to further their sales of GoFaster. Suffice it to say, the product's biggest distributor in the United States is Kisco Information Systems, an i OS software reseller in Upstate New York. The other major markets are Japan and Spain, Lopez says.
This month, American Top Tools expects to release GoFaster version 9, which supports IBM i 6.1. The beta of version 9 has gone well, according to Lopez. "We expect that by January the testing will have been satisfactory," he writes.
For more information on GoFaster and American Top Tools, visit www.gofaster.us.
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