MB Foster takes over for HP ODBC labs
Early notice of the next 3000 show

The Benefits of Vendors of Tomorrow

Second of two parts

Once HP decided to drop the database connectivity tool ODBCLink SE from its new IMAGE/SQL licenses, the move offered a spark to create business for a replacement. HP 3000s still have at least several years to act in mission-critical roles. ODBCLink SE has only basic support available from HP, and no future at all as a bundled product for 3000s.

Now this change in HP's offerings gives MB Foster a chance to sell a full product to the entire HP 3000 customer base. At the least, all those sites where IMAGE/SQL connects to desktop clients, and within that group, the gang of customers which need a database link with a future. HP's giving up on ODBC Link SE.

Customers will need a replacement — at least those who have ODBC connections in a mission-critical role. The ODBCLink creators have a full-featured upgrade, MBF-UDALink, a product which ties in to other UDA offerings from the vendor. This is a level of data connectivity that HP was loath to offer to 3000 customers in a bundle. Not when third parties like MB Foster could do it so comprehensively.

Third parties built products robust enough to keep HP's development costs down in the 1990s,  just a fortunate byproduct for the 3000 division back when it was a real division. In the era of a virtual division, as the 3000 group now calls itself, such cost-cutting is even more crucial to the HP mothership.

So MB Foster's UDA family gets the spotlight for the coming year, because it comes from a vendor with an eye on the future of the 3000 customer as well as stewardship of present needs. Straddling the line into tomorrow, with a customer base working in the present, appears to be a genuine benefit in this kind of vendor. These Tommorow Vendors are seemingly modeled for the 3000's Transition Era.

While MB Foster engages 3000 shops in sustainability studies and migration projects, “We have to point out to the 3000 customers that the people on the Windows side of their IT operations are going to take up the budget making ‘last buys’,” he said, the purchases of 32-bit desktop and server systems before Microsoft’s new Windows server plans erase those options.

“They decide that the new Windows server platform is hot stuff, so they go buy a bunch of it — or they decide the new platform is different, so they [stock up] and let it settle down for a bit. It all depends on your tolerance for risk.”

MB Foster has released enhancements to its UDACentral and UDASynch solutions this year, the latest generation of products expanded and extended from their DataExpress functionality base.

UDASynch was the focus of the majority of the enhancements in the company’s summertime 2006 release. Customers are discovering that synching their exiting IMAGE database with an SQL database can ease their transition and provide a solid test environment for converted code and screens.

New features available for UDASynch include a full database name check to the analysis tool, a memory reuse function, a new debug option to convert XML to a binary file, the ability to search a table list using the IMAGE database name, a feature to automatically create backup files when the backup file is full and a feature to call DBGET with '@' list if DBPUT is called with partial list.

At the same time, an updated version of UDACentral serves up new ability to migrate Image to Eloquence with Eloquence Tools; support for batch update in both the GUI and command line; Enhanced transfer speeds by reducing synchronized/conditional dumps; and new support for autocommit on/off and level in the GUI/runner command line. Complete listings of the latest software are at the company’s Web site.

The larger message here is that while HP rolls up the sidewalks in its 3000 campus, third parties like Foster's company press on with new features and a bridge to other platforms.