But Wait, There's More
Secunia Issues Alert on SMNP Security Hole After IBM Creates a Patch for It
Danish security monitoring expert Secunia says that there is a potential security vulnerability in OS/400's SNMP protocol that can lead to a denial of service attack. The hole affects OS/400 V5R1 and V5R2 as well as i5/OS V5R3. The Secunia advisory, which you can read here, says that the SNMP server in OS/400-i5/OS V5 has an error in the way it handles malformed SNMP messages that can allow the server to be exploited. This report was issued on September 9 after IBM put out a PTF patch on September 8. You can read the PTF report here.
IBM Issues PTF to Patch Bug in Shark Disk Arrays
If you have one of those fancy, schmancy new "Shark" TotalStorage DS6000 or DS8000 arrays from IBM in your data center, then you might want to check that it has all of the latest patches installed. Apparently there is a bug in the Shark's microcode that makes it start acting peculiar after it has been running for 49.7 days, which is a funny number (and probably some base 2 thing like millions of seconds since it is turned on or something silly like that, which I am not going to try to figure out right now). Because the DS6000 and DS8000 arrays are only obliquely supported by the iSeries and most OS/400 shops use the internal disk arrays that are designed for the iSeries server line, this problem has probably not affected very many OS/400 shops. But if you have a Shark array, look into the issue. I'd tell you what APAR describes the problem and what PTF fixes it if IBM's storage Web site were not so horrible. I only know about the problem because a colleague told me about it.
BCD's Figura Joins iSeries ISV Advisory Council
Business Computer Design announced last week that Eric Figura, its director of sales and marketing and one of the more vocal proponents of the iSeries among the independent software vendor community that serves the OS/400 installed base, has been asked by IBM to sit in on its pseudo-secret iSeries ISV Advisory Council. IBM formed this council in June 2003, and it has a rotating lineup of representatives from the top ISVs in the OS/400 community. There are 15 members of the council right now, counting Figura.
While Figura has been a pretty strong critic of IBM's WebSphere middleware and Java-centric strategy, he is an ardent supporter of OS/400 and RPG even though BCD's development tools also support Java. He also has over two decades of experience marketing tools in the iSeries space and BCD has over 10,000 iSeries customers, making it one of the biggest ISVs (in terms of reach) in the OS/400 arena. "IBM has made some welcome steps to grow the iSeries marketplace having recently demonstrated positive numbers over the past 12 months," Figura said in a statement. "IBM is taking the steps needed to promote the most secured server out there. I look forward to voicing my opinions."
ProData's Suite of Tools Added to the iSeries Developer's Roadmap
The list of companies being added to the iSeries Developer's Roadmap just keeps growing. Last week, ProData Computer Services, the Omaha, Nebraska, provider of OS/400 and DB2/400 utilities, had its entire suite of products added to the roadmap. This includes DBU, DBUnifier, SQL/Pro, RPG Server Pages, and the Stored Procedure Test Environment. DBU, which is a database utility that allows programmers to access DB2/400 databases through a graphical user interface, and RPG Server Pages, which provides a Web-based extension to RPG applications and their related DB2/400 databases, are probably ProData's most popular solutions. All of ProData's products have achieved ServerProven status, which is an initial requirement for inclusion on the iSeries Developer's Roadmap and which proves that the solutions have been certified on the latest i5 hardware and software and are actually in production at a customer site.
ProData has been in the IBM midrange market since 1981, and was one of the first companies to deliver tools for IBM's System/38 relational database. It has over 14,000 installations worldwide, giving it one of the largest installed bases among iSeries independent software vendors.
Lakeview Technology Opens Office in Singapore
Yet another iSeries software vendor is opening an office in the fast-growing Asia/Pacific region. Last week, iSeries high availability software maker Lakeview Technology announced it is opening an office in Singapore. That country, which is just off the tip of Malaysia and just to the north of Indonesia, is one of the high-tech and manufacturing capitals of the world, and it is growing very quickly. As such, the iSeries business in this tiny country has grown monumentally. Lakeview has been operating an office out of Hong Kong and using that to support its customers and partners in the Asia/Pacific region, but the Singapore office puts it that much closer to Australia and New Zealand and right in the heart of the island nations of the Pacific Ocean. Lakeview also support its AP customers from its European offices and from its headquarters outside of Chicago.
LANSA Webinar Series Focuses on Application Modernization
With well over 200,000 customers and many of them still using green-screen applications that were developed in-house, the market for application modernization tools is probably the single biggest sales opportunity in the OS/400 base. This is why so many of the companies in the iSeries Tools Network and on the iSeries Developer's Roadmap are peddling products that extend DB2/400-RPG-5250 applications out to the Web and give them a modern look and feel.
Development tool maker LANSA was one of the pioneers of the client/server revolution in the AS/400 market, and it has used its technologies and know-how to create a set of tools to move green-screen applications into the Web world. But getting there is not easy, and that is why LANSA is rolling out a series of four Webinars on how to modernize iSeries applications. Because LANSA understands that IT pros can't always fit Webinars into their schedules, each of the four Webinars is actually hosted three times. They each last an hour and start at 1 PM Central Time. The "Enhance & Extend the End User Experience" Webinar will run September 28, October 11, and October 25; it talks about the benefits of Web and handheld device interfaces. The next in the series is called "Application & Business Process Integration," will discuss EDI and XML technologies, and it runs September 29, October 13, and October 27. "Enterprise Systems Transformation" talks about digging a little deeper and actually creating re-usable code modules in the core applications; it runs October 4, October 18, and November 1. The final Webinar in the series is titled "Extreme Tools to Renovate and Innovate Your Business," and it runs October 5, October 20, and November 3. While vendors typically use Webinars to push products, the concepts discussed in the Webinars apply to most OS/400 shops. It is still a free education.
AMR Says Hosted CRM Market More than Doubled in 2004
In what could be a wave of the future, the analysts at AMR Research say that in 2004, companies ponied up over $400 million to buy hosted customer relationship management (CRM) software, representing a 105 percent growth rate compared to 2003. In 2001, 2002, and 2003, sales of hosted CRM software was steady at about $200 million a year. CRM was one of the few hot areas of software growth in the late 1990s, but sales of licensed versions of CRM software declined from $4.4 billion in 2001 to $3.8 billion in 2003. While sales rose by a little more than 5 percent in 2004 to reach $4 billion--and utterly dwarfing the sales of hosted CRM solutions--the question now is whether hosted CRM (as best exemplified by Salesforce.com will become the dominant way for companies to do CRM. Considering how companies have been traditionally wary of using hosted ERP solutions, it seems unlikely that hosted CRM will ever be preferred.
The total CRM software market (including license and hosted software as well as services and support) tallied up to $10.9 billion in sales in 2004, according to AMR, up 10 percent from 2003's $9.93 billion in sales. AMR is projecting a more modest 5 percent growth rate for the CRM market in 2005, with sales of $11.44 billion.