May 1999

Sources say Maestro on MPE has a new keeper, one with some 3000 experience

After a round of proposals to take over the long-neglected Maestro datacenter software for HP 3000s, sources say that Tivoli awarded the sales, support and development rights to RS Tech, an Austin, Texas-based software and consulting company that has taken care of the Formation forms product since September of 1998. The 16-person firm’s president Jerry Rankin would neither confirm or deny that his company was the new keeper of Maestro for MPE/iX, or the associated Spoolmate and Tapes Plus library software that Tivoli has been selling as DCM Pak. But Rankin was able to talk about his company’s stewardship of Formation and the history of his firm, founded in 1992.

RS Tech began business doing support for an abandoned DOS program in the rent-to-own industry, he said. By the time the company put its bid in to take over Maestro, RS Tech had written three modules of a Tivoli product called Destiny, so the company was well-known to Tivoli officials. Formation came into its hands last fall with about 560 customers, Rankin said, after Wendy Compton joined the company in January 1998. Compton had done contract programming work for Tymlabs, the original developers and distributors of Formation, “and she knew the Tymlabs people. We haven’t done enhancements [to Formation] at this point, but we’ve sold a bunch of Formation since September,” Rankin said. The company is renaming itself Roc Software LLC, and Rankin stressed his firm doesn’t have anyone among its investors or employees with Unison Software background.

“There’s no Unison management involved, there’s no Unison owners or people,” Rankin said. “There’s nothing from Unison here.” An anonymous e-mail message on the Maestro mailing list suggested of RS Tech, “These are the same people who have done absolutely nothing over the past five years to truly update the MPE line.” Other sources said that one of the teams bidding for the Maestro MPE business was made up of Tivoli sales reps who accounted for 99 percent of the existing HP 3000 Maestro customer accounts, called Durango Software for working purposes. “The people who lost are not happy,” said one source. “They’re not good losers, and they’re going to get their accounts all worked up and tell them, ‘Good luck.’ ” Jack Desjardin represented Tivoli in the negotiations with the proposing teams, groups that one source said needed an internal Tivoli sponsor to be finalists.

The losing teams on the bid to get Maestro aren’t the only ones in a lather. 3000 customers remain upset over a lack of Year 2000 capability in Spoolmate, and enhancements for Maestro on MPE/iX lag behind the capabilities of the HP-UX and NT versions of the product. Tivoli is dropping the Maestro name as of Version 7.0, now calling its product Tivoli Workload Scheduler.

Precision Systems Group, a Maestro reseller and corporate parent of Automated Computing Environments (ACE, 510.528.4980), will be offering consulting and training services to RS Tech as well as Maestro customers looking for some firm ground in the shifting sands of Maestro’s ownership change. ACE hosts the Maestro mailing list and has been certifying Maestro sites for Y2K compliance, but it’s one of many independent consulting firms Tivoli has cut off during the sale of Maestro for MPE. Scott Hirsh of ACE said his company is also working with Tidal Software’s Sys*Admiral, an NT-based management product with a forthcoming agent for MPE systems. “They have a Unix agent, and they’re working on an MPE agent,” Hirsh said. Tidal’s MPE product is OCS Express for the moment. “We’ll work with anybody, if it’s stuff we’re good at and we do it,” Hirsh said. The greatest challenge for 3000 sites is moving away from Maestro, software that’s wired very closely into an HP 3000 environment and not easily pulled out. Companies like ACE will support Maestro, “but we’ll work with the others as well,” said Hirsh. “This [sale] will be a good thing for Maestro users — Tivoli was holding back.”

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