OS/400 Edition
Volume 11, Number 27 -- July 15, 2002

iTera Boosted by New Partnership with MAPICS

by Alex Woodie

iTera, a newcomer in the OS/400 high-availability software market, received a big vote of confidence for its company and technology last week, when it announced that it formed a partnership with MAPICS, one of the biggest ERP providers for manufacturers on the OS/400 platform. As part of the agreement, MAPICS customers will get a discount upward of 25 percent on iTera's software, and the two companies' software will be further integrated.

"We were real exited about the partnership," said Dan Neville, who cofounded iTera with Kent McDonald in 1997 and who is also the president of the Salt Lake City, Utah, company. "We've been developing it for a long time."

iTera opened up talks with MAPICS about a year ago, and the decision to begin integrating parts of their respective products began soon thereafter, Neville said. In addition to iTera being given the opportunity to sell directly into MAPICS' installed base, which ranges from about 3,000 to 4,000 users of its OS/400 ERP platform, MAPICS has also OEM'd one of iTera's products, Upgrade While Active, which allows software upgrades to be performed on AS/400 and iSeries servers without kicking users off their applications.

That MAPICS chose to form a partnership with iTera while there were more experienced high availability software vendors in the market speaks well of iTera's applications, which have not been around for that long but which have, nevertheless, found a degree of success in the market in a short time. Neville says MAPICS chose iTera as its high availability partner because iTera's software is unique in its functionality and its price is good, compared with the alternatives.

"MAPICS sees that we have a solution that's very automated, and that it's the only [high availability] solution that uses remote journaling, effectively, which is very important," Neville said. "If you have a failure, you want to make sure the transactions are logged on the backup box. We have the only true solution that uses remote journaling . . . . And it's inexpensive."

MAPICS officials said they chose iTera because of the unique combination of iTera's solutions and MAPICS software. "iTera's solutions provide capability that our smallest companies will benefit from and that our largest customers have been asking for," said Craig McKay, MAPICS director of partner management. "This will carry on the tradition of providing best-of-breed customer support."

iTera's partnership with MAPICS covers iTera's full range of software, in addition to its high availability solution, called Echo2. Other products that will be sold into the MAPICS installed base by iTera, MAPICS, and other iTera resellers include Upgrade While Active/Convert While Active; Test and Train; Purge/Archive; and Reorganize While Active.

iTera is the only OS/400 high availability software vendor that is a member of MAPICS solution partner program. At MAPICS' annual user conference in Florida this May, iTera was the only high availability software vendor with a booth. iTera's high availability software is by no means the only high availability product set that will work in MAPICS environments, and it would be surprising to learn that others aren't successfully deployed in MAPICS environments. But the partnership program does provide price breaks for customers, and the collaboration between MAPICS and iTera will undoubtedly help to ensure that their respective technologies are in lock step with each other, especially as they're upgraded.

While most application vendors don't have exclusive relationships with specific OS/400 high availability software providers, it isn't unheard of. Lakeview Technology, one of the three vendors currently in IBM's High Availability Business Partner program, has an agreement to be the exclusive high availability software provider for OS/400 banking software provider Jack Henry & Associates. Similarly, Vision Solutions, another HABP program member, has a partnership deal with OS/400 commercial banking software provider Misys. Neville also said iTera has a similar partnership in place with Siemens Health Services, which provides OS/400 solutions for the healthcare industry.

But most application vendors are agnostic when it comes to pledging loyalty to one OS/400 high availability vendor. J.D. Edwards, the largest OS/400 software vendor, besides IBM, partners with all three HABPs--Lakeview, Vision, and DataMirror. A quick survey of the Web sites of some of the more prominent ERP vendors in the space--Baan, Geac, H.T.E., Interactive Business Systems, Infinium Software, Intentia International, JDA Software, Lawson, Manhattan Associates, and SSA Global Technologies--indicates that most do not have partnerships with any HABPs or other providers of OS/400 high availability software.

By the end of the year, there will likely be another member of IBM's HABP program. Neville said iTera is working to become the fourth member of that elite group of software providers. There are a number of requirements companies must meet before they qualify to become an HABP, but probably the most important among them is to have a clustering solution. iTera and another upstart OS/400 high availability vendor, Maximum Availability, have thus far been excluded from the HABP program primarily because they do not offer clustering. iTera is working on a clustering application and should have it ready by the fourth quarter, Neville said.

Incidentally, while Neville agrees that clustering provides the highest level of availability across an OS/400 system, he said he doesn't think there will be much of a demand for it when iTera announces it, especially with the economy the way it is. He said the decision to develop a clustering application was made mostly to be allowed entry into the HABP program. "I don't know why we shouldn't be in the HABP program anyway," Neville said. "IBM recognizes [Echo2] from a tools network standpoint. But it's nice to get IBM to list you with the other guys."

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Managing Editor
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Contributing Editors:
Dan Burger
Joe Hertvik
Kevin Vandever
Shannon O'Donnell
Victor Rozek
Hesh Wiener
Alex Woodie

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Last Updated: 7/15/02
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