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 An Interview with Vladimir Sokolov of EMS

Chuck Talk: Orange Crate is pleased to announce an interview with the President of EMS Company, Vladimir Sokolov. Vladimir agreed to speak with me about the company, its products and future plans. We worked through email and I hope that we managed to bring you an interesting interview about a company that I believe manufactures excellent database administration tools.
First Vladimir, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with EMS?

Vladimir Sokolov: Hi Chuck, I've been working at EMS Company since the moment it was founded, and I'm also one of the owners. From 1993 to 1999, when I headed up the EMS IT Department, our main activity was the development of ERP systems for large Russian industrial enterprises. In 1999, our software development group detached from the IT Department to become an independent division. I became the head of that division. Later, I founded the EMS Software Development Company of which, I am now the President.

 (Submitted by Chuck Talk Fri Jan 28, 2005 )

  Chuck Talk: EMS started out largely making products geared toward easing database tasks for MySQL, but over the years you have managed to expand your product line to include DBISAM, DB2, InterBase/Firebird, Microsoft SQL, and PostgreSQL. What experience led EMS into the database tools market?

Vlamidir Sokolov: One mis-statement - our first software product was actually QuickDesk - a tool for administering InterBase. Only after that did we release our tool for MySQL. Having considerable experience in the sphere of developing client-server applications and clearly realizing the amount of everyday routine for database developers and administrators, we knew, better than anyone else, what qualities a perfect database administration tool should possess. Having released a product for administering InterBase we proved our beliefs to be right, and we decided to use the experience we received to help us release tools for other popular SQL servers. Thus, we released MySQL Manager, PostgreSQL Manager, MS SQL Manager and other DBA tools.

Chuck Talk: Were the founders of the company solving the problem of extending the power of MySQL by adding GUI tools, or was there always an intent to expand the tools availability to other relational databases?

Valdimir Sokolov: As I have already mentioned, we released a product for MySQL when we had already built the tool for administering a more complicated InterBase. Releasing MySQL Manager, we didn't have the goal of extending the power of MySQL - regardless, it was one of the most popular servers worldwide. And though the appearance of our product certainly did increase the popularity of MySQL, our primary task was to provide MySQL developers and administrators with a convenient tool that really was missing in the market at that time, and so we did.

Chuck Talk: I have noticed that EMS is a Borland Technology partner as well as a MySQL partner. Are a lot of the GUI tools built with Borland IDE and RAD tools such as Delphi and C++ Builder?

Vladimir Sokolov: Actually all our tools are developed under the Delphi environment. The point is, that in the beginning of 90's in Russia, the most popular development environments were Delphi and C++ Builder. That's why a whole generation of Russian programmers has grown up on Borland products. We are satisfied with Delphi abilities and we are not planning to change our development environment in the near future.

Chuck Talk: The EMS success is self-evident by the fact that the company has come from its early beginnings and has managed to remain successful for the five years of its existence. I congratulate you for that success, and wish you continuing good fortune for the future. What plans does EMS have for increasing its presence in the database market?

Vladimir Sokolov: Thank you for the good wishes. We are constantly working both on improving our existing projects and releasing new ones. In the near future we will release the new, third version of MySQL Manager that will become a real burst among administration tools for MySQL. Moreover, during the second quarter we plan to release our own case-tool, based on our renewed Visual Database Designer. By the end of 2005 or beginning of 2006 we plan to release an administration tool for Oracle. So, we've got a lot of plans for our future.

Chuck Talk: Are there any plans for EMS to work with any Java tools or IDEs?

Vladimir Sokolov: No, at present we don't plan to use Java tools. During 2005 we plan to release .NET versions for some our components. We believe this is a promising environment and we are trying to keep up to date.

Chuck Talk: My company develops web-enabled applications, and having well-developed database manager tools that can be manipulated on the fly is a constant need. Has EMS considered or examined licenses for web-enabled application development?

Vladimir Sokolov: The license scheme for our products implies possibility of administering unlimited number of remote web-servers without need to purchase multiple licenses. If you have web-developers who would like to use our products to administer several web-servers located in different parts of world, you can just purchase a single Business license for each workplace. Using MySQL Manager you can connect to remote databases both directly and via HTTP or an SSH proxy.

Chuck Talk: Has EMS considered OEM licensing for software developers that would want to tie-in EMS tools into custom applications?

Vladimir Sokolov: If a software developer wishes to provide their customers with our products integrated with their own software, they can become our Software Partner after completing the corresponding application form. We provide special VAR discounts for such companies to allow them additional profit from selling our software.

Chuck Talk: I notice that EMS has made the decision to make the "Lite" versions of the Database Manager tools absolutely free for those who are either beginning their own development with EMS or only need the limited functionality of that tool. Thank you very much for making that decision. Was that driven by customer demand, or a desire to allow people to become familiar with the EMS tools?

Vladimir Sokolov: Both of these. Our tools are used by a lot of beginning developers who want just to get acquainted with the abilities of SQL servers. Such users are often quite satisfied with the basic functionality of Lite versions, but the 30-day limit of a trial period (for the Professional version) doesn't allow them to use our product a month after they have installed it. We decided to meet the wishes of such customers, and, on the other hand, it should pay off for us if our products become more popular as a result. Moreover, now we also offer non-commercial licenses for professional versions of our database management tools. Their cost is twice lower than that of business licenses, that makes fully-functional versions more widely available for those who are short of means and who don't plan to use our products in a business environment.

Chuck Talk: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing EMS in the market?

Vladimir Sokolov: Today, when competition has significantly increased, we consider active progression our main goal. We are constantly analyzing the trends of the relational database market in order to outstrip our competitors in supporting new SQL servers' abiliies and offering the newest functionality. Our permanent priorities are in the development of software products that have high reliability, rich functionality, and user-friendly interfaces.

Chuck Talk: I would like to thank Vladimir for his time, it is appreciated. I know that the software industry is a very competitive market, but I also know that EMS Company makes fine quality database adminsitration tools. Thanks also to Elena Subbotina for sticking with me and helping me to accomplish this interview via the great divide of time and distance through email. ;)

If you want to find out more about the tools that EMS Company offers, you should take a look at http://www.sqlmanager.net/downloads. There you will find downloads for MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL, Interbase/Firebird, DB2, DBISAM, and other Database Tools and Components.


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