U.S.A. Gets New OS/400 Systems Management Suite from SEA
November 2, 2004 Alex Woodie
Software Engineering of America wants to shake up the market for OS/400 systems management software. The 22-year-old software vendor from Long Island has traditionally focused on providing utilities for the mainframe. But now, through a partnership with an Australian software firm, the company has launched a suite of nine OS/400 utilities that it calls the REV Suite for AS/400, and it intends to capture its share of the U.S. market.
The Rev Suite for AS/400 was originally developed by RevSoft, a company based in the Australian Gold Coast city of Nerang that provides OS/400 software and services. RevSoft started developing its suite of systems management products more than 10 years ago and today has some of the largest customers on the continent, including Coca Cola, Bear Sterns, and Amway.
SEA struck up a partnership with RevSoft to bring the products to a new market in the United States. “Software Engineering of America saw a strong suite of products and recognized it as a good opportunity,” says Laura Setikas, marketing director for SEA. “Although our background is in mainframe software, we see the operations automation market as a natural fit.”
There are already some strong players in the OS/400 operations and systems management space, and, depending on the product and the customer, SEA will find itself competing with one or more of them, including Bytware, CCSS, LXI, Help/Systems, and Tango/04, among others.
In terms of an established American software vendor with a product set most closely resembling SEA’s, that would have to be Help/Systems. In fact, RevSoft has created a migration package for moving Help/Systems customers onto the REV Suite, and SEA’s sales team will be using that to try to attract Robot users to the REV Suite.
THE REV SUITE FOR OS/400
REV View forms the cornerstone of the REV Suite for AS/400 product set, and provides the networking framework that allows the various products to communicate, via a common scripting language. This software installs on a Windows PC and provides a graphical Control Center console, where administrators can view information about the status of their iSeries and Windows servers, provided by other REV Suite products. The REV View product uses “focal points” to enable Control Centers to be set up from other locations, which boosts availability by eliminating a single point of failure. The software supports both TCP/IP and SNA networks and features an adapter that sends iSeries data to Tivoli Enterprise Console.
The REV Backup product can back up and save any object on the OS/400 server, including IFS files, spool files, and Domino mail box bins. It provides media management capabilities that help users keep track of backup tapes–whether they’re offsite, loaded into a tape library, or in the scratch pool–and it also keeps a log of all activities, for compliance with industry initiatives like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. REV Backup uses the same scripting language used by other products in the Rev Suite for AS/400, which enables tight coupling and communication among the products, particularly the big three of the suite–REV Backup, REV Scheduler, and REV Message. Software licenses for REV Backup are based on processor size and range from $4,000 to $46,000, the vendor says.
Any job that can run on an OS/400 server can be managed by the REV Scheduler. This tool features a graphical Windows interface through which the administrator sets up different “job events,” such as payroll processing, to run in different “environments,” such as development or quality testing. Administrators can restrict access to authorized users, create job “dependencies” with other OS/400 or Windows servers, or turn on the “high availability” mode, which “shadows” jobs between OS/400 servers. Software licenses for REV Schedule are based on processor size and range from $3,000 to $37,000.
The suite’s message management console, called REV Message, allows users to view and manage OS/400 messages from either a Windows GUI or a 5250 interface. Messages in the Windows interface are color-coded to aid users in recognizing which ones the utility has deemed important, according to the filters put in place. Additionally, the message filter can execute scripts, send Short Message Service (SMS) notices to mobile phones, send e-mails, or send messages to Tivoli systems management software. One of RevSoft’s customers, IBM Global Services in Australia, currently uses REV Message to stay within tolerances of its customers’ service level agreements. Software licenses for REV Message range from $3,000 to $37,000.
REV Dataflow is a data transfer product that automates the task of moving libraries or objects from one OS/400 machine to another. The software features a Windows or a 5250 interface, and uses scripts to kick off events before and after data has been moved. This component works well with the data compression product in the REV Suite, called REV ZIP. The REV Dataflow costs between $2,000 and $27,000, depending on the size of the machine.
REV ZIP uses industry-standard ZIP compression technology to compress OS/400 objects, IFS objects, and output queues to get the most out of expensive iSeries DASD. Like other REV Suite products, REV ZIP features a Windows or a native command line interface. In addition to compressing objects, REV ZIP can encrypt them using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm, and protect them with 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit keys. Software licenses for REV ZIP range from $2,000 to $20,000.
Whereas REV ZIP can help free up space on a hard disk, the REV Disk component of the suite can tell the administrator that he has a problem in the first place. This component monitors total DASD utilization for libraries, objects, and files in the IFS, and displays results in a series of interactive graphs, grids, and tables that are displayed on a Windows interface, and which the administrator can right-click on and drill-down into for more details. The software can be set up to watch certain groups of libraries that are prone to rapid DASD consumption, and even have scripts automatically started when DASD thresholds are met. Software licenses for REV Disk also range from $2,000 to $20,000.
While the REV Disk component watches disk consumption, another product in the suite, called REV Scope, watches other aspects of performance, such as processor utilization rates and average response times, and brings it all together in a Windows GUI. The REV Scope allows administrators to sort through various performance metrics, such as the number of current jobs, interactive and batch CPU utilization, memory use, and auxiliary storage pool size, to help spot performance problems. The software captures and presents historical information and also supports the export of graphs and data to the Web. REV Scope costs from $2,000 to $20,000.
SEA offers another component, REV Guardian, which is kind of a mini job scheduler and message manager for the iSeries (and for Windows, too). The REV Guardian products periodically run a variety of commands that check the status of various iSeries or Windows systems, and then generate a notification message if something is awry. The product ships with commands that check subsystem status, job status, file availability, disk use, and communication status, or send out a ping, among others. If the user has installed REV Message, REV Guardian can be configured to send an SMS message to a mobile phone if something funky with the system turns up. Software licenses for REV Guardian range from $2,000 to $27,000, the vendor says.
Perpetual licenses for all Rev Suite for AS/400 products are available now. Because SEA bases its pricing on the tier structure, customers are free to load the software onto any number of logical partitions, the company points out. SEA and RevSoft personnel are available to provide 24/7 support from SEA’s headquarters in Franklin Square, New York. For more information, go to www.seasoft.com.