In the world of information technology, we marvel at solutions that perform complex tasks simply and dependably because these tasks generally aren’t easy to accomplish. This is the case with the DL/2 product from Circle Computer Group.

Today, companies are looking for ways to reduce costs, provide easier access to data or business purposes, and minimize the risk that comes with making any changes. Why are companies looking for ways to make data more easily accessible for business purposes? The better a company is at making data available and accessible, the better that company can serve its customers, know what new products and services to provide, create closer relationships with partners, and keep costs low.

For some companies, legacy applications using IMS databases are a potential area for cost reduction. While IMS has been a trusted workhorse for decades, IMS expertise is diminishing in all geographies, largely as a result of retirement. In addition, increasing maintenance and licensing costs often mean disproportional increases in the continued provision of legacy applications. Replacing legacy applications is expensive, whether by in-house development or through the use of an ERP solution. Retaining legacy applications, but at a significantly reduced cost, is a challenge many organizations face.

Other companies have no intentions of eliminating IMS, but want to increase availability and access to the data stored there. DB2 provides the rich functionality required by today’s e-business and business intelligence applications, and has become the database of choice for z/OS users. For many companies, however, extending the benefits of DB2 to legacy IMS data has remained out of reach. Moving data to DB2 not only involves complex data re-engineering and migration, but also requires extensive modification to application programs, often resulting in an unacceptable level of effort, cost, and risk.

Whether you want to eliminate IMS or move the data to DB2 for increased availability and accessibility, DL/2 provides a simple, dependable solution. If your goal is to eliminate IMS, DL/2 makes it easy to move your IMS data to DB2 but continue to run your existing legacy applications unchanged. This capability permits you to eliminate IMS/DB and associated IMS tools’ license costs, but continue to use your IMS legacy applications. It also means you don’t need to wait years for applications to be rewritten or take unnecessary business risks. You could be saving the license fees of IMS in six to 12 months.

Here’s how it works. When an IMS application issues a call to an IMS database, DL/2 intercepts it and performs the equivalent DB2 call using static SQL. The results of the SQL call are relayed by DL/2 to the IMS application, including the appropriate information that drives your application logic. No application program changes are required. A single database, groups of databases, or your entire inventory of IMS databases can be migrated at the same time. Migration costs and risks are significantly reduced because you are not changing application code. You can also exploit facilities within DL/2 to automatically re-engineer data to improve its value in DB2.

If the goal is to increase availability and accessibility to IMS data while also keeping this legacy database management system, DL/2 makes this equally achievable. Once the data is migrated to DB2 using DL/2, all the benefits of IBM’s relational database are available to be used. Integration with other applications and e-business systems is much easier—a single mainframe DBA skill set is all that’s needed—mixed workloads with 24x7 availability are supported, and data for business intelligence is now “open.” You can also continue to use your IMS applications, mitigating business risk, or you can rewrite them without the need to have the task finished under any time pressures.

Figure: The DL/2 Approach--Supplied utilities relink existing IMS application programs to enable DL/2 to intercept IMS calls. Pre-generated driver programs issue static SQL calls optimized for typical IMS call patterns. DL/2 returns the PCB feedback area to the application program after the call has processed.

DL/2 provides the solutions necessary to make eliminating or leveraging IMS data much easier. Whether you need to meet rapidly changing reporting requirements, leverage existing IMS data to support new applications or business objectives, eliminate IMS licensing costs, overcome a loss of experienced IT professionals or solve other IMS data challenges, DL/2 is worthy of serious consideration.

DL/2 is available from Circle Computer Group Ltd., 900 Cummings Center, Suite 415V, Beverly, MA 01915. Voice: 978-927-1383; Website: www.circle-group.com;Email: dl2_support@circle-group.com.