Informix, Netscape, BTG team on servers

BTG Inc., Informix Software Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp. have announced a strategic alliance to compete in a growing federal market for high-power Internet server solutions.

The trio is assembling software packages for developing high-capacity World Wide Web sites that can store and serve audio, video, text and spatial data and provide easy-to-use interfaces and powerful database search capabilities.

In addition, Informix announced it has selected BTG as its "master" reseller for the federal market. BTG already is Netscape's primary federal reseller.

"Federal agencies are being asked to promote their value by getting on to a platform where the entire world can see what good they're doing," said Ed Hammersla, executive director of Informix Federal. "The Web provides for the public to access this information.

"If all you want is to put up a home page and put three pages on the Web, we'd say buy a Netscape server," Hammersla said. "But if you want an application where you want people to access a lot of content, then you need a database and robust tools."

Internet Starter Kit

Under the alliance, BTG will resell software packages that combine Netscape server software with Informix Illustra database technology.

That technology includes Illustra DataBlade modules, which are search tools that allow users to extend the underlying database capability to handle different, nontraditional types of data, such as textual or spatial information.

BTG's package, called the Informix Third Generation Web Starter Kit, includes Informix/

Illustra Database Server, three different DataBlades, a Net-scape Enterprise Server license and a year of support from Informix and Netscape.

The package costs $11,000 for federal customers. For an additional $7,500, BTG will provide consultants from Alliance Web Consulting Experts to set up the site.

"BTG has positioned itself to aggressively market partner solutions in the federal government, especially Internet solutions," said Tom Nixon, the vice president for BTG. This strategy will "be blossoming this year," he said.

The group will be competing against a spate of other software companies that see a growing market for more sophisticated Web servers. In particular, new products have emerged allowing users to make databases accessible via the Web.

"The Web browser presents a universal desktop interface for developers who want to create applications for access to corporate data," said Elizabeth Rainge, an analyst with International Data Corp. "It eliminates the problem of writing specifically to [Macintosh], OS/2, Windows, or DOS. That's what's driving all of this."

BTG's strategy of assembling two or more companies to create a package solution for customers matches the current strategy of many other software companies, observers said.

Such packages help eliminate some of the confusion in this market and "take one more concern off the plate of the harried system manager," said Tim Sloane, an analyst with The Aberdeen Group, a market research firm in Boston.

"You are hard-pressed to find a database now that doesn't provide what we are talking about with Netscape and Informix," Sloane said. Typically, databases offer even more functionality, he added, "like providing the ability to put a Web site inside the database."

Two-Tiered Strategy

The three-way alliance coincides with BTG's new role as a master reseller for Informix in the federal market. In this role, BTG will develop a "two-tiered distribution" plan in which BTG will sell Informix products directly to the government as well as negotiate agreements with other government resellers wishing to sell Informix products.

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