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Old database technology causes high cost and complicates the utilisation of new technology for central IT applications. Furthermore, there are less and less developers and system technicians knowing the old technology. This applies to hierarchical databases such as IBM IMS DB as well as for network and other non-relational databases such as Cincom TOTAL, ICL IDMS, Fujitsu (Siemens) UDS, Unisys DMS, Bull IDS2, CA Datacom, Software AG ADABAS and others.

We present ways that allow you to preserve the functionality of your applications while migrating to SQL databases without risk.

Heterogeneity is Fact

Large companies always needed to process large amounts of data very fast every day. For this type of “Big Data” they preferably used the extremely rapid IBM IMS databases. The large and complex applications implement the company’s core-business and process reliably billions of transactions every day. In parallel, the companies have established relational databases such as ORACLE, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Db2 and others, to respond to the needs of real-time processing and flexible ad-hoc queries. The data in the different systems usually is synchronised by using ETL processes.

Good Reasons to Migrate

A lot of companies have the replacement of IMS databases on their agenda – for good reasons:

  • High cost and multiplied efforts due to the parallel usage of different databases, the additionally required (ETL-) processes and the protection of the consistency.
  • IMS databases lack the flexibility and the fast unlimited access to the data offered by relational databases.
  • The know-how for the applications implemented in COBOL and PL/I is dwindling as well as the necessary technical know-how for IMS.
  • The introduction of new technologies (Mobile, Cloud, etc.) is difficult.

However, the hurdles for the replacement of IMS databases are extremely high: The business-critical applications are very large, very complex, very old and in most cases the existing documentation is unsuitable for the migration projects.

Replacing IMS Databases Successfully

Being a successful provider of generative tools for more than 40 years, we rely on full automation of all changes necessary in the applications to replace the IMS databases. Our tools automate the migration and the modernisation and also support re-implementation. Depending on requirements, these solutions can freely be combined and even allow for changes in strategy during the project.

All changes to the source code will be implemented using a transformation factory that is perfectly configured for the task. This way, you achieve maximised automation, highest quality, minimal test effort, minimal freezing and you are able to eliminate the risks.

Our customers confirm that they could ensure the long-term functionality of their enterprise applications with our solutions.

The Migration

Your applications contain all the information about the actually used IMS data model, i.e. which data structures of which segments of what IMS databases are used. Our tools extract this information and derive the mapping rules for a new or an already existing relational data model. Based on these and further rules the COBOL and / or PL/I code will be transformed fully automated. All IMS database accesses will be replaced by SQL accesses with all trimmings.

The resulting applications look and operate as if they were directly implemented for a relational database system by a very sophisticated programmer. Hence, they are readable and maintainable. Our customers confirm that

  • the completely automated transformation slashes the risks and the test effort
  • during the migration project , they could develop in parallel and the modifications were integrated automatically
  • the relational database system can even be changed during the project
  • extremely short freeze period are to be expected
  • no footprint or vendor lock-in is produced.

The Modernisation

Modernisation with Replacement of IBM IMSCOBOL and PL/I are still excellent for the implementation of business logic in the back end. But, for the presentation layer as well as for the data access layer there are more modern techniques and environments available today like .NET, Java, etc. These layers can be connected smoothly and with excellent performance using automatically generated interfaces and intelligent adapters.

Using our solutions, this type of modernisation can be automated. As explained above regarding the migration, the data model used by the applications as well as the rules for the automated transformation into a relational model will be determined. The entire code associated with to the data accesses can be extracted into a separate data access layer. Clearly readable and therefore really maintainable data access modules will be produced fully automatically in modern language like C#, Java, etc.

Our clients confirm that their confidence in our technology was justified and that the use of Delta’s tools reduced the test effort by 90%.

The Re-implementation

You would like to implement the functionality of your IMS applications with new databases and new languages but the experts with IMS know-how have already retired and documentation serves maintenance and not re-development purposes?

Unlike other solution providers, we believe that there are limits to automation. Namely, when it comes to real paradigm change like it is inevitable for the re-implementation with modern languages. We promote easily maintainable and legible code, but not the transformation of COBOL into a kind of “J(ava)obol”.

With our solutions for Application Knowledge Extraction, we help you to understand and to assess your existing applications in detail and to derive the specifications for the re-implementation from the applications’ analysis. In addition, we can generatively produce the layers for the data accesses and the presentation as described above. You will obtain clearly readable and therefore really maintainable modules in modern language like C#, Java, etc.

And What About the Transaction Environment?

Within the frame of the replacement of IMS DB you also will think about the future design of the online applications. Depending on the new target environment – may it be classic TP monitor or a browser based environment with Java or .NET Application Server or micro services – the applications’ code for IMS TM (formerly IMS DC) or IBM CICS has to be transformed, too. With our solutions you can automate such transformations as well. This way, you are also able to automate the construction of a modern service-oriented application architecture (SOA).

Let’s work together

The possibilities described above show principle directions. They are flexible and can be combined and implemented gradually or at once. Since both the starting points as well as the objectives are different for each customer, we offer customized and perfectly tailored solutions.

How do you want to replace your IMS databases? Migrating or modernising or re-implementing the applications? We will be pleased to present our solutions and we look forward to discuss your rquirements and objectives.

More information can be found here: "Automatically replacing IBM IMS/DB"

Download Language: Englisch - Version: MT21097.01


Gothaer Systems migrates its IBM IMS databases to IBM Db2 together with Delta Software Technology

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Download Language: Englisch - Version: mt21096.01


With the tools and services from Delta Software Technology, Provinzial Rheinland finished the complete application and data migration from IBM IMS/DB to IBM Db2, automated and securely, of over 75 IBM IMS databases and over 36,000 artefacts.

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Download Language: Englisch - Version: MT21081.01


CGI Germany selects Delta Software Technology as partner for the modernization project at BSQ Bauspar AG.

BSQ Bauspar AG plans to migrate its core application package. The project includes also the migration of the complete infrastructure. Particular attention will be paid to the transformation of the database management system IMS/DB to a relational database management system. CGI Germany was chosen as general contractor for this modernization project. Delta will provide the

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Related Information

Announcing the Virtual IMS Meeting for February - Replacing IBM IMS/DB

Newsletter February 2024

IMS Replacement at Gothaer: In Time – In Budget – In Scope

AMELIO Modernization Platform slashes Risks and Costs for Modernization and Migration

Successful Assessment for Replacing VORELLE

Aquila Heywood and YOUPLUS introduces ADS on Eclipse

AMELIO Logic Discovery: Analysis for COBOL, PL/I and Delta ADS Applications

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