It’s been a little more than two years since IBM and HCL Technologies entered into their 15-year partnership, but there’s still a lot of confusion around their collaborative motives. Putting their efforts toward marginal software hasn’t been a primary concern; rather, users have been far more interested in what HCL planned on doing with Informix. Here are some key points to the partnership that we hope will clear up some of that confusion.

The Agreement

To clarify, IBM did not sell Informix to HCL (that is, IBM still owns the intellectual property). Nowhere in the agreement is there sale of the source code, the product, nor existing support contracts; instead, the 15-year partnership is an agreement between IBM and HCL to continue development and progress the capabilities of Informix. It’s a joint effort on both sides to improve the product as a whole.

Improving Informix and continuing forward development, for the most part, is the primary reason IBM and HCL ignited this partnership. Both companies are aiming to pick up the pace around Informix and increase its functionality to expand and accelerate its reach across the marketplace. HCL has a reputation for its industry-focused product development and tech services, which will offer an environment to build upon the solid foundation that IBM has already laid out with Informix. Basically, the idea is to combine the powerful data and analytics of IBM’s developers with the IT, application, engineering, and research capabilities of HCL.

Informix Development and Support

When it comes to development and support, users have been confused about who would be taking over responsibility. In both arenas, the job has been given to HCL. Not only is it their responsibility, but since the agreement was announced, many of IBM’s developers and support personnel have moved to HCL. That being said, offer management, sales, and marketing support for Informix will continue to stream through IBM, but customers will typically be forwarded to HCL customer service and technical support. It’s not to offload the work, but to help provide more comprehensive and expansive support for customers on both ends.

Informix Documentation and Licensing

Another area of uncertainty has been around documentation and dissemination of product information. Whether you go to the websites for IBM or HCL, both will offer up-to-date information on the current state of Informix development and updates. Both companies are mutually disseminating details about Informix so that customers can be in the loop if they reach out to one or the other.

Regarding licensing, nothing has changed for existing IBM customers and new customers will buy Informix licenses from IBM as well. The shift in development is meant to improve the product, and by continuing to license through IBM, both companies hope to keep the buyer experience the same as it’s always been.

Recent Acquisitions

As stated earlier, IBM did not sell Informix to HCL, but within the past year HCL bought a hefty amount of software products from IBM’s cache of devices and applications. Included in the $1.8 billion purchase was Lotus Notes, Domino, Appscan, BigFix, Unica, and other products. Many have speculated the intent behind such an offloading of software, some saying it’s just a way for IBM to offload legacy systems in a down market. On the other hand, other market observers believe the acquisition of IBM products is HCL’s attempt to reach into a new area of the market and improve their cache of products while maintaining their optimal IT services.

The Future of the Partnership

Whatever the future holds for the IBM-HCL partnership, one thing is for sure: there are 15 years of development and service promised to Informix users. Regarding the other products IBM recently sold to HCL, we can’t be quite sure, but knowing that forward momentum on Informix development is guaranteed for awhile is comforting to loyal Informix users and customers. There’s also potential for HCL to push the other products they purchased into a stronger position in the market, but we’ll have to wait and see on those.

Informix Support from Virtual-DBA

IBM and HCL aren’t the only companies offering support for Informix; XTIVIA‘s Virtual-DBA team has expert Informix DBAs that can help optimize your company’s Informix environment. For the past 20 years, we’ve been offering top-of-the-line database services for Informix (and other platforms). Feel free to contact us at info@xtivia.com if you have any questions.

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