IBM i shops gain faster path to progressive use of SQL
October 14, 2011 – Resolution Software Ltd., a forerunner in database design and modeling best practices for the IBM i, today announced the availability of Xcase Modernize-DB V9.1. The new Xcase release helps organizations with DDS-generated databases modernize to SQL faster and with more consistent adherence to corporate standards. This is accomplished through newly expanded automation of several tasks during the modernization process.
IBM has recommended that companies transition from DDS to native SQL ever since it declared SQL the strategic database interface for the AS/400 over 10 years ago. Initially, most companies found little incentive to comply. IBM subsequently delivered frequent enhancements to SQL performance and functionality. Today, SQL offers significant benefits over the original integrated database on the IBM i for organizations that require improved data integrity, performance and scalability; easier implementation of business intelligence; storage of unstructured data such as BLOBs, CLOBs and XML documents; easier integration with web services and other applications; and faster development cycles.
“The need to become agile when responding to our customer’s needs is a major driving force behind the modernization process at Old Dominion,” says Sheila Burwell, Director of I.T. Services at Old Dominion Freight Line. “An incremental approach made the most sense in today’s challenging economic climate; therefore, changing our System i database access to SQL was the first step. Xcase allows us to achieve this in a fraction of the time by automating a lot of the time-intensive steps.”
Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. (NASDAQ: ODFL) is a national less-than-truckload motor carrier providing one-to-five day service among six regions in the United States and next-day and second-day service within these regions. Through its four product groups, OD-Domestic, OD-Expedited, OD-Global and OD-Technology, the company offers an array of innovative products and services that provide direct service to 48 states within the Southeast, Gulf Coast, Northeast, Midwest, Central and West regions of the country. In addition to domestic less-than-truckload services, the company offers assembly and distribution services as well as LCL and FCL delivery services to and from all of North America, Central America, South America and the Far East.
According to Elie Muyal, CEO of Resolution Software, many IT organizations now face sprawling legacy databases that would require considerable time and effort to modernize manually. “Many companies would like to take advantage of SQL’s performance, data integrity and more flexible reporting options, and gain all of the benefits of moving the management of business rules and data processing into the database. There are lots of compelling reasons to move forward with SQL. Kent Milligan lays out this vision nicely in his white paper DDS and SQL: The Winning Combination for DB2 for i.”
“Xcase for i makes it far more practical and cost-effective to achieve database modernization. One hospital network that we worked with was able to complete its entire 33-server DDS-to-SQL migration project in just over 2 months using Xcase,” says Muyal. “The majority of the time was spent testing results before implementing the transition on a single server. Once the testing and pilot project were complete, the actual implementation for the remaining 32 servers took just 4.5 hours.”
With its latest release, Xcase Modernize-DB now extends its automation to identifying work files that do not require modernization, and to updating existing Views and Materialized Query Tables to point to the newly created SQL Tables. It also supports adherence to company standards with template-driven naming conventions for new SQL Tables, Fields and Indexes and support for “CamelCase” names that contain a mixture of upper and lower case letter. Historically, a key feature of Xcase included the ability to add auto-maintained columns – such as those containing Unique Identity, Time and User Stamps, or custom attributes – to new SQL Tables created during the modernization process. This is accomplished without interfering with existing applications. The new release now provides more granular control over defining and positioning new auto-maintained columns.
“The ability to customize Xcase to enforce our shop’s database object naming standards was a feature we looked for when evaluating the tool,” says Thomas Hall, DBA on the I.T. Services team at Old Dominion. “While we could customize naming for most objects, we wanted to control Index naming too. We submitted the request to Resolution Software and they agreed it was a needed feature. I’m excited about the new capabilities in this release. I believe it will allow us to complete our modernization projects even faster.”
“We continue to look for ways to streamline the database modernization process,” says Muyal. “It’s an exciting project because, in my opinion, mixing the power and efficiency of SQL with the reliability of the IBM i creates the ultimate database environment.”
Links and ResourcesWhite Paper: DDS and SQL - The Winning Combination for DB2 for i by Kent Milligan
Webcast: From DDS to SQL: How to fully exploit DB2 on i with Mike Cain
Free DDS-to-SQL Modernization Diagnostic Download
Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.
About Resolution Software Ltd.Established in 1988, Resolution Software Ltd. specializes in database design, modeling and evolution solutions that automate database best practices. A forerunner in recognizing the strategic importance of the proper design and maintenance of the database, Resolution helps developers quickly and accurately implement every database-related update required throughout the database lifecycle. Its cornerstone product, Xcase, is a complete data modeling tool specifically adapted for today's most widely used database application environments. This mature technology has been extended to meet the unique requirements of the IBM i platform via three IBM i-specific modules: Modernize-DB, Relate-DB and Evolve-DB.
About Technical Decisions LLCTechnical Decisions provides exceptional technical, services and sales support for select software solutions serving the IBM i, System i and AS/400 markets, with particular emphasis on long-term customer satisfaction.