Three in transition

Small, young companies are often the focus of attention when it comes to the latest and greatest product developments. But veteran information technology providers also are worth watching, particularly when they are reinventing themselves or riding a market transition.

Avaya Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc. and Software AG all fit that description. The following snapshots provide updates on those companies.

Avaya

Avaya, a longtime player in voice telephony, was stalled with other suppliers in the telecommunications doldrums. Today, the company is moving ahead with a strategy of targeting opportunities in converged

communications.

Avaya's approach is to provide voice-over-IP capabilities, while continuing to support traditional analog telecom. Synergy Research Group last month identified Avaya as the worldwide market share leader in the enterprise IP telephony market.

In the federal market, the company's converged platform includes redundancy features that fit into agencies' disaster recovery planning, said Kevin Donovan, an Avaya solutions architect who supports the company's federal business. For example, Linux-based servers running the company's call-processing software can be housed in different buildings for backup purposes.

SGI

SGI is transitioning from the world of symmetric multiprocessing machines based on Unix/reduced instruction-set computing to supercomputers based on Linux and Intel Corp. processors. SGI's Altix 3000 server and "supercluster" product line reflect the company's new focus on that arena.

The company's early Altix adopters include the Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oakridge National Laboratory.

Oakridge's Center for Computational Sciences is working with a cluster of four 64-processor Altix machines. The deal could give SGI considerable exposure, because the center serves as a computing test bed for DOE and university scientists.

Software AG

Over the years, Software AG has been best known for database and fourth-generation language development tools. Such languages are closer to human than programming languages and are often used to access databases. Those products still account for more than 60 percent of the company's revenue, but Software AG is working to make a name for itself in Extensible Markup Language and Web services.

Accordingly, the company has introduced its Tamino XML server data management platform and EntireX integration server. William Ruh, senior vice president of professional services at Software AG, sees the company's products playing a role in helping

federal agencies develop XML registries and integrate them with existing systems.

A governmentwide XML registry is among the Bush administration's 24

e-government initiatives. Such a registry would let agencies use XML schemas developed by other agencies. As for integration, Software AG's products may be used to revitalize legacy applications. EntireX, for example, is used to migrate mainframe applications to the Web. Recent enhancements to EntireX support Web services and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration registries.

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