Soltis Tapped for Vision Solutions Advisory Group and Road Shows
February 16, 2009 Dan Burger
Frank Soltis, recently retired from the iSeries chief scientist job at IBM and widely acknowledged as the father of the AS/400, isn’t the rocking chair type. Anyone who knows him would not have expected Soltis to stay on the porch in his post-IBM days. Last week, he popped up over at Vision Solutions.
The high availability and disaster recovery powerhouse has tapped Soltis to become a member of its technology advisory board, a group of approximately 25 that includes industry experts, customers, business partners, and the Vision Solutions brain trust.
The advisory group is hand-picked by Vision’s vice president and chief technology officer, Alan Arnold, who uses it to gain additional perspectives, new ideas, and to stay abreast of industry trends. It was organized late in 2008 to assist in the future development of Vision’s product roadmap. Arnold, who serves as the chairman of this group, anticipates the members will meet approximately four times a year, although it could be more frequent for certain members depending on where members are located and their involvement in strategic initiatives that Vision has under way. The meetings may be face-to-face or they could take place using video conferencing, Arnold says.
Vision is one of the biggest software developers in the independent software vendor community for the Power Systems platform. Since September 2006, Vision has been owned by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo. (At the time of the purchase, it was known as Thoma Cressey Bravo.) In November 2006, the company acquired iTera, and in June 2007 Lakeview Technology was added to the mix. Lakeview and iTera were Vision’s primary competitors. Each had substantial IBM i customer bases. After the acquisitions, Vision Solutions became the dominant HA and DR vendor that serves the traditional AS/400, iSeries, System i, and Power Systems i market. Its customer base is estimated to be more than 6,000 organizations.
It’s not a surprise that Vision would offer Soltis a seat on its council or that Soltis would accept. Vision is an IBM premier business partner and has many connections within IBM. The company works jointly with developers of IBM’s HA solutions to make certain its products integrate into IBM’s hardware and software solutions.
“Dr. Soltis understands technology–where it’s been and where it’s going,” Arnold says. “Vision has been working closely with him for many years, and I have been talking with him about his involvement with our advisory board since last year. He’s been in the industry so long that his expertise includes seeing long-term trends and understanding how things work. His insights into processors and processor speeds and what’s possible and not possible within the solutions that we are developing with IBM will be a great benefit to us. There’s only one Frank Soltis in the world, and if you are going to be on Power Systems, who is better to have on your advisory team than the guy who invented them?”
In addition to advisory group participation, Soltis will join Arnold for three “road show” events during February in Europe.
There has been no better ambassador for the AS/400 than Soltis. For years, he’s been traveling the globe, meeting with customers and business partners. At major events–like COMMON and other regional user groups–a Soltis speaking engagement packs the house. Arnold and others have described him as having “rock star status” among the AS/400 faithful. During his final year at IBM, his traveling schedule was particularly hectic, and his focus was on the unification of the System i and System p platforms and explaining why the convergence was a wise move.
Arnold says Vision’s European road show events will focus on surmounting business challenges and delivering the next generation of business applications as well as information on how technology relating to high availability and disaster recovery fits into an overall business resiliency strategy. Soltis will be talking about computing technology, where the information technology industry is going, and where it intersects with high availability.
The road show schedule includes stops in Milan, Italy, on February 24; Rome, Italy, on February 26; and Paris, France, on February 27.
Although there are no plans for a U.S. version of the road show, Arnold says he’s interested in that possibility and so is Soltis.
This article has been corrected since it was first published. The name of the private equity firm that purchased Vision Solutions in 2006 was Thoma Cressey Bravo, but it is now Thoma Bravo. [Correction made 02/17/09.]