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September 2002

Tools crowd database migration fields

New offerings send HP 3000 data packing

Data used to be the last anchor that lashed companies to HP 3000s and applications. A few years ago the problem of migrating data kept HP 3000 customers from considering a migration away from the computer platform. But with the blood in the market’s water after HP’s decision to end its support of the system, tools suppliers are feeding on the opportunity of a customer base in transition by launching three new products at HP World this month.

Speedware, MB Foster and iMaxsoft — a group of companies with long records of service to the HP 3000 customer — will all demonstrate new products to migrate TurboIMAGE and IMAGE/SQL data at this month’s HP user conference. The tools hope to prove that data won’t keep a company from leaving the HP 3000.

Speedware will be showing off DBmotion, Windows 98/NT/2000/XP-based software that replicates TurboIMAGE databases into target database environments on Unix and Windows. Phase 1 of the product creates an identical copy of the current IMAGE database structure, and also works with non-self-describing KSAM and flat files. Target environments are Oracle9i, 8i and 8.04, and SQL Server 7 and 2000. DBmotion also supports DISC’s Omnidex, enabling sites using DISC’s indexing tool to move to DISC’s OmniAccess, the indexing product for Oracle databases.

A database Connection Wizard helps administrators queue up HP 3000 databases for transformation, and another wizard transforms logical aspects like names and physical attributes such as data types using a search and replace engine. Zoned or packed decimal items, specific to IMAGE, are converted to SQL-based data types, and arrays can be split into columns. Speedware’s Product Marketing Manager Nicolas Fortin said the company built the product from the experience of its Professional Services group.

“We helped many customers to port their data sources to Oracle, SQL Server, Informix and others,” Fortin said. “We took a lot of experience and molded it into the product.”

DBmotion can also take a first pass at migration using the experience from Speedware’s data migration engagements, so customers don’t have to make choices in the wizards to get started.

Using a default, for example, could create one column in the target database for each array occurrence in HP 3000 data. “We’ve incorporated these best practices that we’ve seen into our product,” Fortin said. A help engine also warns when an administrator might try to change a character field to an integer, a switch that doesn’t make much sense.

Customers can purchase the product outright for $10,000, or lease it for $3,000 per month; a special purchase price at HP World of $7,500 is also available. The company says its solution is unique among IMAGE migration tools, because it doesn’t require any additional services engagement or training fees. “It’s all point and click, and there’s extensive online help,” Fortin said.

Speedware plans to make a full release of the first phase of the product by the end of October. A demo version with a limit to the number of records processed will also available at the Speedware Web site, www.speedware.com.

Central switchyard

Data access experts MB Foster are also entering the waters of IMAGE migration, offering a new facility for transferring databases and converting the data on HP e3000s. MBF-UDACentral is taking its place in the MB Foster suite of migration services. The software accesses major corporate databases across multiple enterprise platforms, then delivers data to strategic destinations.

MB Foster’s founder Birket Foster said the product routes data from the HP 3000 toward other destination databases. “It gives migration projects the centralized switchyard for replacing data securely while preserving its integrity,” he said.

MBF-UDACentral will be deployed by MB Foster’s Platinum Migration Partner team, working alongside a customer’s IT group. The software’s GUI interface, running on Windows, Unix/Linux, or browser-based desktops, enables connectivity to databases for data exploration and cleanup, query building on either local or distributed databases, conversion of IMAGE/SQL and attribute examination of JDBC drivers.

MBF-UDACentral connects to Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Allbase, Eloquence and IMAGE databases on HP e3000s, Unix, Linux, Sun Solaris and NT and Windows 2000 servers. Data administrators can point and click to generate DDL for new databases and build SQL queries. Data returned can be exported as CSV, XML, HTML and SQL formats, and can be delivered directly through methods like e-mail and FTP directly from MBF-UDACentral. The software exports the results of queries across multiple databases.

An SQL Wizard component of MBF-UDACentral previews the SQL which database administrators create through a graphical interface. Database administrators can enter SQL commands directly, and automated logging can be tuned to speed the creation of multiple versions of queries such as WHERE clauses for JOINs and conditions. Complex SQL statements for distributed databases can be captured and saved for reuse.

MBF-UDACentral’s Explorer features streamline the data maintenance essential to successful database transfer. “This helps people do cleanup of their data without having to write custom programs,” said Foster. “We used the data exchange power of UDALink, and put it to work in handling a wide variety of data formats.”

MBF-UDACentral maintains the security levels offered through the facilities of enterprise databases. Oracle tables are created with the same security used by a customer’s database administrator. As part of a migration, MB Foster’s professional services organization will help a customer do an initial export of data, build a plan for cleanup, then do a final conversion.

“In its initial stages this is a big boost for people doing migrations,” said Foster, “but its scope goes well beyond that kind of project. As people grow to know MBF-UDACentral, they’ll take advantage of its other uses in database administration.”

Opening TurboIMAGE

iMaxsoft, known for years as LeeTech while the company provided HP 3000 database tools, has already pressed its OpenTurbo product into the field to convert databases at the Southeastern Data Cooperative (SEDC). The HP 3000 site runs several hundred HP 3000 systems to handle billing for utilities around the US, and OpenTurbo is playing a role in getting the organization’s home-grown applications and data onto HP 9000 systems.

Ron Camp, SEDC’s CEO, delivered a testimonial about how the iMaxSoft product worked to prove the concept of sending IMAGE data on its way to work in the HP-UX environment, inside Oracle databases.

“OpenTurbo seemed almost too good to be true,” Camp said. “It promised to automatically design and create an Oracle database from our existing TurboIMAGE database, convert all of the data and populate the Oracle tables. Then, via their IMAGE emulator, we would be able to run our existing COBOL programs, re-compiled under MicroFocus, against the Oracle database on the HP 9000, using the existing TurboIMAGE intrinsics, unchanged.

SEDC agreed to a proof-of-concept test using its most complex database and two of its most complicated COBOL programs. The company had to resolve code differences between HP’s COBOL and MicroFocus to use OpenTurbo, but “The database conversion went without a hitch, and we were impressed and amazed when the COBOL programs ran correctly on the first try,” Camp said.

SEDC is preparing several thousand COBOL programs for MicroFocus on HP-UX, then will use OpenTurbo to move the data. “We will be entirely on the HP-UX platform,” Camp said, “and can then begin to assess and refine our databases and COBOL for the pure SQL environment. One cannot minimize the huge amount of effort involved in migrating from the HP 3000, but it would be hard for us to imagine a less painless path than that provided for us with iMaxsoft’s OpenTurbo.”

Suppliers like iMaxSoft, MB Foster and Speedware all say they’re responding to customers’ requests for help in moving 3000 databases. While some plan to sell products at new price points for IMAGE-ready data migration tools, and others tie tools to migration engagements, all see an opportunity to leverage their 3000 experience against the new opportunity of a transition.

“We have been approached by different people contemplating HP 3000 database migration. They want to start this year, because it will be a lengthy process,” Speedware’s Fortin said. “We feel there is a market for this right now, and people will want to use it to test drive at first.”


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