Vlok shared his reaction to the movement to consolidate the i and p platforms, which was generally enthusiastic.
“We were excited about the opportunity that it brought,” said Vlok. “We had been investing in solutions that would run on AIX, and the fact that they came together under one hardware brand is great. It effectively moved us into a new marketplace with an upper-hand due to our position as leaders on i. It has helped us lift our revenues and assisted us in expanding into the bigger power marketplace.”
When asked about any direct business impact the name-change caused to the vendor company, such as marketing campaign and branding change costs, Vlok shared that the change didn’t cause any significant expenditures. However, in the long term he posited that there may be a cost savings because all marketing will be done under the umbrella of “Power.”
Many Search400 readers shared their opinions on the name change, and expressed a stubbornness to call it anything besides “AS/400″, so I had to ask Vlok what the people at Vision call it in the hallways and in meeting rooms.
“That terminology moved on in our organization,” said Vlok, referring to AS/400. “But in the hallways sometimes we call it System i.”
It’s probably a good time to clarify common terminology, as the recent Vision acquisitions and mergers and resulting varied product offerings are demanding partners and resellers get firm on the marketing terminology. Getting these partners on board was the focus of the company’s worldwide partner conferences in March 2008.
“Historically Vision was focused on the enterprise,” explained Vlok. “We wanted the historical Vision partners to address the SMB solution – a market that is not tapped. With the hardware and software price points coming down we’re seeing quite a bit of affordability in the marketplace. We wanted our over 400 partners to segment the market to the right customer base. We then were preparing our partners for Power; an area where the i community is presented with a great opportunity to expand into AIX.”
When asked for his opinion as to why small and medium-sized businesses had not embraced high availability (HA) and business continuity solutions at this point, Vlok didn’t have a lot of firm answers. (If you have an opinion on why this may be, please share it here in the comments.) He did however explain that as the costs have come down, HA solutions become more attractive for this market segment.
“Historically speaking, prices have come down on the hardware side,” said Vlok. “Hardware was the most expensive for a high availability solution. But the cost to value equation is much better for today’s customers. Also, midmarket customers are facing stricter regulations than five years ago. Medical patient data needs to be digitized and available for 10 years. For sectors like transportation, gaming, and manufacturing the lower prices are just in time.” In addition to lower costs, big news stories of disaster has helped spread awareness and educational efforts are opening up the SMB market. Vlok also explained that some of the growth in sales has come from bundling Vision’s products with other applications that are sold to these businesses. This trend means that a lot of companies aren’t going out looking specifically for HA solutions for their system, but that they are expecting the applications to have a HA component to protect their data and business continuity.
Vlok shared a positive attitude about the business growth for the i market, and I wanted to know where this was being seen geographically.
“I would say that Asia has historically been a very big growth market for us,” shared Vlok. “However, we’ve really seen strength across the board. We’ve had a strong year in North America; due in part to regulation and awareness. In markets like Latin America and Asia it’s catching on right now and we’re seeing strong demand out of those markets. India is one of the markets that is on our focus list for 2009.”
Overall, Vlok is optimistic about the market for Power. I asked him what he thought about the recent acquisition of PowerTech by Help/Systems.
“I think it’s a pretty good business decision,” shared Vlok. “I still believe from a software perspective that it’s a market worth investing in and expanding with specifically infrastructure-related software. In the i marketplace, most people looking in the 3-5 years can see an expanded opportunity with i and p.”
So there you have it – one CEO’s perspective on the future of the i. What do you think? Do you have a HA solution, and if not, why not? Share your comments.
“Thank you very much for sharing the results of the Top Concerns Survey. It’s very helpful to have the collective views and priorities from the COMMON Europe members. I’ve forwarded this information to my executive team to factor in to our overall product and business plans as appropriate.”
This year, in addition to the “on the spot” survey conducted during the opening session of Common Europe Congress, all AS400 users are invited to share their thoughts via a web survey on the challenges they will be facing in the coming years. An iPod nano will be sent to a web winner each from North America, Europe and Australasia along with three other prizes awarded for survey respondents at the conference.
We know you have opinions, so share them now — the survey closes May 9, 2008.]]>
I don’t know what he can do to improve the over all tarnished standing of a company they gobbles up other small competition just because they can’t beat them….oh now the move all makes sense…
Nice. Check out Vasta’s full post, too.]]>
According to the Irvine, Calif.-based company, Vision Solutions “closed more than 1,000 new sales of high availability, disaster recovery, and data management software,” more than 40% of which are to new customers. That’s good news for investors, but what about the people who actually use Vision’s products?
In an IM conversation with iStudio400.com‘s John Brandt, sales is all Vision seems to be talking about. “My impression is that they are simply pushing for more sales,” Brandt said. He also added that the media has not said “a word about better functionality or better service” concerning Vision post-acquisition.
Does anybody else share this opinion? Send me your rants or raves or leave us a comment here.]]>
A brief search for other System i HA blogs yielded few results, though there are definitely many resources available for general System i information (see The iSeries Blog blogroll).]]>
Now Gartner has come out with a news analysis: “IBM Strengthens Data Integration Suite with DataMirror Buy.” The massive research agency opines that DataMirror Transformation Server will be a good addition to IBM’s Information Server, but that DataMirror’s iCluster software — which is the high-availability program for System i — may eventually fold if IBM doesn’t roll it into its System i business unit.
Bottom line: DataMirror customers can expect continued support in the short-term, but the long-term is another question.]]>
From the release:
During the merger of Vision and iTera in 2006, the company committed to develop, market and support both ORION HA and iTera HA for the foreseeable future. Vision intends to implement this same strategy with Lakeview’s MIMIX product line.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
So it seems that if you want high availability on your System i, iSeries or AS400 box, it’s more and more likely that you’ll be dealing with Vision Solutions. Which might not be such a good thing if you’re looking to get good support services from Vision Solutions, despite how expansive it is, according to the release:
The acquisition of Lakeview Technology combines the R&D talents of the industry’s largest and most innovative high availability and disaster recovery development organizations. In addition, customers will benefit from an extensive support organization that spans the world.
David Vasta from the iSeries Addict writes about his poor experience, particularly with support personnel from Vision. One person complaining about support isn’t news in itself, but if you read the comments to Vasta’s post, you’ll see that support from Vision has been a problem for users for a long time, and now it’s starting to bleed over to iTera users as well.
The post is obviously garnering some attention, as a senior VP from Vision Solutions even left a comment defending his company. There’s some back-and-forth going on that you don’t want to miss. As an aside, the title of the blog post is “Vision Support is starting to stink,” but the URL shows a stronger opinion: http://davidandkelly.com/iSeriesAddict/2007/06/06/vision-support-is-starting-to-suck/.]]>