May 2000

HP is deleting its IMAGE database utility DBChange from its price list

Hewlett-Packard exited the database transformation utility business this month by sending a letter to the customers running DBChange Plus, telling them the product would be dropped from the HP corporate price list on June 1. The software, which HP acquired from Mark Klein's DIS International and then rewrote in the 1980s, hung around in an already robust market segment for years, competing with third party offerings from companies like Adager, Bradmark and others. But in the last few years DBChange has begun to show its age, falling further behind the capabilities of the HP e3000Õs database while HP continued to collect support fees for the product. The new advances of b-tree indices and jumbo-sized datasets never got supported by DBChange, while the third party products kept pace with these newest features of the IMAGE/SQL database. DBChange was relegated to HPÕs software support division, where its maintenance consisted solely of bug fixes while customer support fees remained at the same rates

HP’s customer letter reports that the e3000 division (CSY) is turning its resources toward the care and feeding of the database itself, and leaving the high technology of database utilities to the third party market. And in a first for an HP obsolescence notice, CSY is recommending a list of alternatives from third parties to replace DBChange Plus. Adager’s product Adager, Bradmark’s DBGeneral, and Open Seas’ Flexibase are the recommended replacements for the HP product. “These products are superior to the HP product,” said CSY’s software spokesman Adrian den Hartog. “If we look at the investment we have to do to get DBChange up to the level of the products that are available from third parties, then are we spending our dollars in the right place? Why would we want to compete with our ISVs, when what we really want to do is promote them?”

HP is taking the promotion literally, including product flyers for Flexibase, Adager and DBGeneral in a mailing along with its customer letter. It’s gone another step further in the process by making a comparison of feature sets of the three third-party products as well. The comparison of features, really just a list organized by category, was performed by Sally Blackwell, an HP analyst in Europe. HP has posted the document on CSY’s Jazz Web site, at Notice of the paper will also be in a forthcoming article in the CSY Advisor Web publication, according to den Hartog. Support for the product expires on December 1, 2001, giving the customers ample time to make changes, HP said.

Meanwhile, the third party firms have opened up the gates for discounts to capture the DBChange customers. Adager’s offer emerged first in February, a notice of a free license for its Adager Model 2, the full power version that handles things like b-trees, jumbo datasets, dynamic dataset expansion (for both detail and master datasets) and third party indexing (TPI). DBChange Plus handles none of these recent advances in the IMAGE/SQL database, and b-trees alone can give an HP 3000 a 10-times performance boost. Adager is including a utility that transforms DBChange Plus command files into Adager jobstreams. To get the free Model 2 license, the DBchange sites sign on for support at $1,000 a year. Bradmark’s offer delivers its Standard Version, (Sections 1, 3 through 5, and 8) for $500. OpenSeas’ offer wasn’t posted on their Web site at press time. We’ll have a full rundown on all the offers in our June edition.

Most significant was HP’s approach to recommending third party solutions, and then waiting for the three companies to come up with offers before announcing the discontinuance. ORDAT, an HP 3000 manufacturing reseller in Germany, was bundling DBChange Plus with its software when HP decided to pull the plug. But sales have been few in recent years — and giving over the software support revenues to the third parties is another sign that CSY is ready to let companies outside HP become undisputed experts in some areas. “It allows us to expose the ISVs to markets they haven’t had access to in the past,” HP’s den Hartog said. noshade size="1"> Copyright The 3000 NewsWire. All rights reserved