News Briefs and Product Shorts
Maximum Availability Lands 10 New U.S. Customers in 3 Months
Maximum Availability is continuing to make headway in the American market for OS/400 high availability software. The New Zealand software company's sales director, Simon O'Sullivan, says the company landed 19 new customers during the fourth quarter, 10 of which are based in the United States. One of the new companies running its *noMAX high availability software is Kampgrounds of America, which operates 450 campgrounds across North America. Kampgrounds of America officials say they were attracted to *noMAX because it was simple to use and inexpensive to implement. They also liked that *noMAX is built upon OS/400 remote journaling technology and provides a GUI management screen (a green screen is optional). Today, the company is using *noMAX to replicate 3,500 files from its primary iSeries Model 810 to its backup Model 270. Overall, O'Sullivan says, *noMAX is running on 150 iSeries servers at 56 customer sites in 17 countries.
CCSS's QMessage Monitor Gets Smart About Off-Peak Paging
CCSS has added new paging capabilities to QMessage Monitor, its message management system for OS/400 servers. QMessage Monitor helps automated AS/400 and iSeries operations by filtering through the message log and ensuring that operators see the really important ones by escalating the messages through automatically generated e-mails, phone calls, pagers, or other electronic means. In prior releases, just one method of communication could be used when an unanswered message was escalated to personnel. With the new release of QMessage Monitor, the software now can send out messages in multiple communications methods until the message is responded to by an operator or administrator. CCSS says this new feature, which was requested by customers, can save users money by adjusting the communication methods according to personnel shift patterns and off-peak hours. Basically, the software knows when it's more cost effective to use e-mail instead of paging to contact a given person. CCSS has also added a new "pager chase" capability that can be used to contact a user who is not linked into the Calendar Processing schedule. The software scans historical records to see the method of communication last used to successfully contact the individual, and immediately chooses that communication device as the first preferred attempt before trying other options assigned to the individual.
Albertsons to Top 100 Suppliers: Be RFID-Enabled by April 2005
In its quest to best Wal-Mart in the grocery business, Albertsons will incorporate radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to bring its supply chain and merchandising operations in-line with those of the low-cost leader. Last week, the Boise, Idaho, company announced that it expects its top 100 suppliers--many of which are OS/400 shops, we have to believe--to start participating in its new RFID program at the case and pallet level by April 2005. The company already has a pilot RFID program underway with select suppliers. In 2003, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer as well as the largest grocery-store chain in the U.S., with $56 billion in revenue from grocery items, announced its plans to have its top 100 suppliers RFID-enabled by January 2005. Albertsons, which takes in about $36 billion a year, has seen its share of the grocery store market dwindle as Wal-Mart takes over. To stop the slide, the company instigated a top-to-bottom overhaul of its core technology (see Baseline's "Albertson's: A Shot at the Crown" for a very thorough story on how Albertsons is using technology to compete against Wal-Mart). Besides keeping up with Wal-Mart, Albertson's announcement gives more momentum to RFID. The week before, Target (Wal-Mart's largest general merchandise competitor) announced RFID plans of its own.
Symtrax Includes New PDF, Electronic Distribution Functions in Compleo
Symtrax is shipping a new release of Compleo, an OS/400 spool file distribution utility. Compleo is a three-party utility that electronically distributes OS/400 output in a variety of PC formats, including PDF, spreadsheet, e-mail, and HTML. With Compleo Version 3.2, the Los Angeles, California, company has added several new features, including the capability to convert AFPDS spool files into the ubiquitous PDF format, which should expand printing and electronic distribution options to Compleo users. Also improving electronic distribution is new support for SMTP and MAPI for e-mail, and the capability to automatically send spool file data directly to a centralized location will improve Web access, the company says. Security has improved, thanks to double-byte password support, the company says, while the capability to alter fonts, page layouts, and margins should give users better management of spool file reports.
Hobby Lobby Picks PeopleSoft's EnterpriseOne to Streamline Business
Retail chain Hobby Lobby will replace its legacy OS/400 applications with PeopleSoft's EnterpriseOne ERP application running on the iSeries, the software company announced last week. Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Hobby Lobby is a $1 billion, 319-store chain of stores offering a wide range of arts and crafts, fabrics, wearable art, picture frames, party supplies, and other merchandise for the hobby market. PeopleSoft says the chain installed several components of its J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne suite--including Human Capital Management, Financial Management, Supplier Relationship Management, Enterprise Performance Management, and Process Modeler--in the third quarter of 2003, and purchased some Web-based training to help get up to speed with it. One of the key reasons Hobby Lobby chose EnterpriseOne was that it runs natively on the OS/400 server, PeopleSoft says. New EnterpriseOne installations are split fairly evening among OS/400, Unix, and Windows platforms.
eServer Items from Around the Globe
In other eServer news, 3PAR announced the general availability of its updated X-Series storage server. Based on Intel Xeon processors, the enhanced X-Series storage server includes new templates in its proprietary InForm operating system that make it easier to set up the disk array according to specific performance, cost, availability, security, or disk use parameters. Meanwhile, Toshiba America Medical Systems announced the first U.S. installation of its Infinix i-series X-ray system with the integrated cardiac flat-panel detector. Toshiba designed its i-series system to be modular and field-upgradeable to a variety of detectors. In the wide, wacky, world of spam, Proofpoint claims its new P-Series Message Protection appliance can eliminate a company's virus and spam problem in as little as 15 minutes. The P-Series uses a hardened version of Red Hat's Fedora Linux operating system running on a Dell PowerEdge servers, and features Proofpoint's proprietary MLX "machine learning" technology. Meanwhile, Primus Knowledge Solutions seems to have scaled back its use of the eServer name. The company, which took legal action against IBM in 2000 for its use of the eServer name, which it had been using for some time before IBM's "Mach 1" server rebranding, does not list eServer on its list of products anymore, and the only mention of the "Primus eServer" name we could find was in the trademark section of past press releases. It is likely the company settled out of court with Big Blue, and has refused repeated requests for comment.