PowerTech Updates Security Tools for i6.1
April 8, 2008 Alex Woodie
PowerTech‘s line of security tools fully supports i 6.1, the latest release of the operating system formerly known as i5/OS and OS/400, the Washington company announced last week. PowerTech found that half of its products were compliant with version 6.1 out of the box, while the other half required changes to work with the new operating system.
Software companies are finding it more difficult to support i 6.1 (known as i5/OS V6R1 before Wednesday) with their utilities and applications than previous releases of the operating system. This is due to IBM‘s requirement for developers to go through a process known as “program conversion” to ensure they’re using the latest programming techniques to write software for the OS.
John Earl, chief technology officer for PowerTech, initially underestimated the work that program conversion would entail.
“Going to 6.1, we though it would be a real small-sized project for us,” Earl said during at interview at last week’s COMMON conference in Nashville, Tennessee. “It turned out to be maybe a medium-sized project, because we have eight products, and we had to evaluate them all and make sure they were ready for 6.1. Four were ready out of the chute. The other four we had to make some changes to, and that means new releases.”
To that end, PowerTech issued new releases of its biggest products, including Compliance Monitor 2.1, Network Security 5.2.1, Authority Broker 3.1.1, and Security Audit 2.1.1. The other four products– Encryption, Interact, Central Admin, and Password Control–weren’t updated because they already passed IBM’s program conversion checks.
So with all that additional work to get up to speed with 6.1, is Earl upset at IBM? Not in the least. In fact, he sees a silver lining in the work for PowerTech.
“We’re looking at this as a competitive advantage,” he says. “The work that we did on V6R1, initially we looked at it as kind of a burden. [But] it is a differentiator, because if you don’t take the time to get your stuff up to the next release, you might be stuck there. You’re paying maintenance for a product that isn’t going to be supported in the future.”
In other words, i5/OS V6R1–err, i 6.1–is a giant mesh net that will strain the wheat from the chaff in the market for software that runs on the System i–err, Power Systems.
“Program conversion is potentially a really big deal for this community, especially among tool vendors, but potential among application vendors as well,” Earl continues. “Because as this market has matured, there’s some players like PowerTech who continue to invest in this market. But there’s also some players out there that have gone onto maintenance mode.”