Many companies which chose IBM IMS/DB in the past now suffer from the fact that the IMS data can only be accessed by the “old” applications. Usually, those companies use modern SQL databases as well. From there the data is available more easily and numerous tools support their evaluation. But to be able to provide e.g. the IMS data together with the SQL data in a data warehouse, the IMS data must be extracted first. In this way, real time evaluations / applications are not possible.
Moreover, by now there is a dwindling knowledge about how IMS/DB and how it is used within these companies.
That alone is a good reason to think about a change of the applications from IMS/DB to a SQL database. Furthermore, the use of multiple technologies creates unnecessary costs which is an additional reason to start looking for alternatives.
Without the connection to IMS/DB, a lot of more cost-effective platforms are available for the applications. However, the real challenge when changing from IMS/DB to relational is the associated paradigm change.
From hierarchic to relational – 100% automated
The goal is to change the application to clean SQL – i.e. not to “translate” the IMS accesses to SQL only by using a proprietary intermediate layer during runtime.
As a result of the complexity and the potentially lack of knowledge, for such a modernization task an automated transformation is needed. A manual modernization hardly will succeed due to the diversity of necessary changes. Our solution is the AMELIO Modernization Platform, a 100% automated modernization factory that guarantees an error-free change.
The following steps, which all are automatically performed by the modernization factory, are required for the paradigm change:
- New data model:
A proposal for the new relational data model is derived based on the existing hierarchical data model and the usage in the applications.
Depending on the context and the new data model the database accesses are changed.
- Code reduction:
Redundant IMS coding is removed.
The IMS-specific error handling is neutralized.
For the data model as well as for the transformation and the neutralization, at first a proposal is determined/created in coordination with the customer. This way the change process is exactly tailored to the customer’s requirements.
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Further Modernization Possibilities
A benefit of the 100% automated modernization is the possibility to perform additional application changes without additional risk.
In this way, there is e.g. the possibility for an architecture modernization: SQL coding could be implemented directly in the business logic, on the other hand it may be transferred into data services modules. The great advantage of data services is to keep changes low in the programs itself. As a result, the testing efforts for the transformed applications are reduced and the programs keep their appearance. Moreover, the data services also are re-usable.
The simultaneous replacement of IMS and migration to another platform is a further option. Of course, a platform change then requires further changes of the application, e.g. for the EBCDIC – ASCII change and the replacement of other platform specifics. Such adaptations can be made in conjunction with the database change and automated by the modernization factory.
AMELIO Modernization Platform: Tailor-made for your specific task
The factory is configured on the basis of the customer’s requirements, because every application is unique. Therefore it is not a “one size fits all” solution!
For this factory approach there is no necessity to test every changed application component in detail, only the correct operation of the factory must be proved. This proceeding reduces the testing efforts by over 75%. The automatic approach guarantees an extremely high security, especially at complex changes.
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The final result is specified very early at a manual transformation: The point of no return is reached at a very early stage. But a factory-based project offers the possibility to reconsider and change the implementation decisions for a long time after project starting. A new factory run lasting a few days only is sufficient to take effect on the decisions.
The result of the modernization are applications which are ongoing usable and maintainable without footprint or vendor-lock-in (without any dependence and/or license fees on any emulators or other products).
AMELIO Modernization Platform: Features
The AMELIO Modernization Platform allows to perform 100% automated mass changes in your software. The AMELIO technology has proved its high flexibility, high quality and low testing efforts in many projects.
- 100% automated, strictly rule-based changes
- Transformation factory configured for the individual task – no “one size fits all”.
- Short Freezes: undisturbed maintenance and development
- Derivation of a proposal for the required relational data model
- Inline SQL or architecture transformation with data servers (the decision must be made during the project)
- Automatic derivation of the SQL data servers
- No footprint solution – for the transformed application as well as for the new data services
- Possible in combination with a platform migration also
- Audit-proof documentation of all performed changes – per module and for the overall application
Learn more in our articles on: "Successfully Replace IMS Databases"