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Volume 9, Number 21 -- May 26, 2009

Halcyon Revs Up U.S. Channel Effort

Published: May 26, 2009

by Alex Woodie

U.K.-based Halcyon Software, a developer of systems management software for i OS and other platforms, is growing its presence in the U.S. with the goal of attracting new customers. But instead of concentrating on individual AS/400 shops, Halcyon will primarily target outsourcing firms that run large data centers, which in turn will use Halcyon's software to manage the individual clients' systems. It's a practice that has already provided successful for the software company in the U.S.

Halcyon Software was at the recent COMMON conference in Reno, Nevada, to announce the expansion of its office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the launch of new versions of several products. While it wasn't Halcyon's first foray into the U.S. market by any means, it was the first COMMON for the British software firm in recent memory, and a visible indicator that it plans to establish a long-term presence in the world's single largest market for IT goods and services.

Halcyon brings a solid collection of systems management and automation tools for the i OS platform. Core functionality includes: message and job log monitoring and management; a job scheduler; disk space management; spool file management; record and playback (automation); audit journal monitoring; performance monitoring; and management of restricted tasks. Other products monitor AIX and Windows environments, and all platforms can be managed from a single graphical interface, called the Enterprise Console.

Software development continues out of Halcyon's U.K. headquarters, which will unveil several enhancements to its four bundles of i OS software later this year. In the meantime, Halcyon U.S. headquarters will be concentrating on building momentum in the States.

A key component of that strategy is to hook up with large outsourcing operations that can use Halcyon's systems management tools to manage their clients' environments. Current outsourcing customers include Network Service Plus and SunGard, which collectively run dozens of System i servers for hundreds of clients in the manufacturing, distribution, and government sectors.

This channel approach is the keystone of Halcyon's U.S. strategy, according to John Dominic, channel manager for Halcyon's U.S. operations. "We're just working in the background," he says. "They bundle our software as part of their service package. It's kind of like we're selling product to the data centers, and they just pass it on like a service, along with high availability and other services."

The poor economic climate is a major factor driving Halcyon's managed services approach to channel sales. That strategy has already proved effective, and now the company is looking to build on that success as more AS/400 shops outsource their IT.

"We're getting lots of requests from traditional hardware vendors who are looking at offering managed services," Dominic says. "We're not getting a lot of requests, honestly, from people who are saying 'I want to buy something.' They want to work with a partner. They're shifting to a managed service, or they want to look at something from a subscription standpoint because capital expenditure for the iSeries is not happening anymore."

Development on Halcyon's i OS systems management suite continues. At COMMON, the company launched Message Management Suite version 3.0, a new release of its entry-level package that brings several new features. One of these is a new service level agreement monitoring and "uptime" monitoring tool that shows the availability of multiple subsystems. This will be particularly beneficial to outsourcing operations and managed services providers who need to report on the availability of multiple subsystems or LPARs. Version 3.0 also brings new monitoring and alerting templates, providing more out-of-the-box functionality.

The vendor also launched Network Server Suite version 6.0 at the COMMON conference. Initially focused on monitoring and managing Intel-based Windows servers, the software has recently been adapted to support monitoring of AIX systems running on System p and Power Systems boxes. The new release brings new features such as a new script monitor that gives customers more flexibility in monitoring custom scripts; new disk space monitoring features; and more error monitoring capabilities.

Later this year, Halcyon will introduce new versions of its other three i OS systems management suites, which include the Systems Operations suite, the High Availability suite, and Operations Center suites. In all cases, the new releases will focus on improving the usability of the products, Dominic says.

"They're going to be more intuitive than they are. That's our focus," he says. "We're trying to make it as intuitive as possible so that if you don't have an iSeries expert behind the controls, people can easily see and use the products, which I think is a real challenge with some of the green-screen products."

Just the same, Halcyon will continue to offer the green-screen 5250 interface for customers who prefer this interface.

Message Management Suite 3.0 is available now. The software can be obtained with a traditional license for $5,000 for a P10 box. Or a customer can purchase a subscription for the software that costs about $200 per month for a P10 box. For more information, visit www.halcyonsoftware.com.


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