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Modernize Your DDS Database to SQL

IBM i and DB2 for i development experts agree. SQL will play a vital role in many high-priority IT projects – SOA and application modernization, faster batch processing, improved interactive response times, openness to outside applications, data encryption for PCI and HIPAA compliance, and increased data integrity.

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Because SQL runs natively on the IBM i, many people assume that all you have to do is start coding. And that’s true for some SQL functions. But to take advantage of the real speed, power and flexibility of SQL, and to extend the longevity of your current applications, you must also update your database from DDS to SQL.

xcaseXcase for i releases the full potential of your DB2 for i database with SQL. Your modernized database will have the speed, flexibility and built-in data integrity of an SQL database engine along with all of the traditional features of your DB2 for i database. Xcase gets you there fast and affordably—without impacting your existing applications—so you can spend more time leveraging your new power.

By automating the time-tested SQL-update process recommended by IBM in the Redbook Modernizing iSeries Application Data Access , Xcase Modernize-DB brings you several important advantages:

Faster modernization with less effort

Up until now, modernizing your database to SQL had to be done manually – a long process filled with detail that made the job both tedious and error-prone. It required expertise in SQL and DDS to produce the necessary code, and special care had to be taken not to break existing applications. Xcase automates most steps in this process, so you spend less time restructuring the database and more time leveraging its new power, speed, flexibility and data integrity.

Protects existing applications

The Xcase modernization process lets you transition to SQL without making changes to your existing applications. In fact, with few exceptions, your current programs continue to run smoothly without the need to recompile or modify them. That’s because an Xcase modernization project enables “bilingual” data access – both DDS and SQL – so you have the option of allowing existing applications to continue using native I/O techniques as long as you like. Yet they’re ready to move to SQL for more advanced functions at your discretion, at any time.

No SQL or modernization expertise required

Unlike using a manual process, Xcase requires no in-depth knowledge of either SQL or the complex process used to migrate traditional AS/400 and IBM i databases to SQL. It automatically reverse-engineers existing DDS-generated physical files and access paths, and then generates the SQL code you need to produce the associated tables and indexes that will continue to work with your existing applications. In fact, using Xcase can help you learn SQL concepts and coding as you work.

Reduces error and risk

We don’t like to admit it, but human beings are not well-suited for tedious, repetitive, detail-laden work. When we’re tired or distracted, we make mistakes. Xcase eliminates the majority of human error inherent in database modernization projects, dramatically reducing frustration, unnecessary rework, and delays in the project. Also, because Xcase carefully preserves the ability for native I/O data access, there’s no risk of breaking existing applications. Xcase even finds those rare programs that need to be recompiled as part of the process.

Handles all of the details

Xcase never tires of meticulously tracking the details associated with every individual object it modernizes, and making sure those details are properly reapplied within your modernized database. When creating SQL Tables, it preserves record formats and applies the correct permissions, triggers, constraints, object ownership and compile options. It retrieves access paths, generates SQL Indexes, and automatically updates related Views and Materialized Query Tables. It preserves your existing journaling scheme or, if you prefer, it will apply automatic schema journaling. It ensures continued DDS compatibility by automatically building a "surrogate" logical file for each physical file and creating a transformed logical file for each logical file, and so much more. Xcase even employs parallel processing techniques to minimize the downtime you experience when the time comes to copy your data to your modernized database.

Adds Identity and Other Auto-Maintained Columns

As Xcase creates new SQL Tables, it will include all-important Identity columns as well as your choice of other automatically-maintained columns (User and Time Stamps, custom fields) – all without impacting existing applications.

Automatically validates data

When your database objects are updated, the final step is to copy your data into the new SQL tables. Xcase automates this copy phase, but before it begins, it analyzes your data to make sure it’s compatible with the target field type and any built-in constraints. Numeric fields, for example, will not accept characters such as a dollar sign ($). Xcase identifies faulty records and makes them easily accessible for data cleansing.

Supports incremental modernization

Every journey starts with a step. If your database is so large or so complex that the thought of touching it scares you, turn to Xcase. Xcase gives you the tools you need to process batches of files at a time. Many companies find that using an incremental approach helps them get started and keep the project progressing despite the inevitable fires and interruptions most IT professionals face on a daily basis. You can count on Xcase to help you prepare for a future of SQL without compromising the present.

Modernization Services

No time to handle a modernization project in-house? We also offer an affordable database modernization service that removes the work from your staff.

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The Power of SQL

Modernize from DDS to DDL to get faster application response times, greater data integrity, SOA compatibility, advanced database functions and data types.Learn More...

Free Diagnostic

Find out exactly what’s involved with modernizing your database. Download the free Xcase Modernization Diagnostic Tool.Get it here!

IBM White Paper

IBM's Kent Milligan discusses the many advantages of leveraging SQL within DB2 for i in his new paper
DDS & SQL: The Winning Combination for DB2 for iGet it here!

On-Demand Webcast

From DDS to SQL: How to fully exploit DB2 on i with DB2 expert Mike Cain. Learn why SQL is now the IBM i standard for defining and accessing database objects. View it here!

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SQL Functionality

SQL Functions That Require Database Modernization

  • Improved performance
  • Data integrity
  • Auto-incrementing of keys (column identifiers and sequence objects)
  • Column-level triggers
  • Encryption and decryption functions
  • Encoded Vector Indices
  • Large character and binary object support (BLOB, CLOB, DBCLOB, and datalink)

For more details on these SQL functions, see Chapter 2 of Modernizing iSeries Application Data Access

Additional Resources

Modernizing IBM eServer iSeries Application Data Access

Business Strategy Bumps Into Database Deficiency
by Dan Burger
IT Jungle (November 2011)

Accessing Data Using SQL Views
by Dan Cruikshank
System iNEWS (November 2007)

Database Management Essentials
by Kent Milligan
System iNEWS (October 2007)

RPG Rules!
by Scott Klement
System iNEWS (October 2007)
Using DB2 Web Query with SQL Views and Stored Procedures
by Gene Cobb
System iNEWS (October 2007)

Performance Comparison of DDS-Defined Files and SQL-Defined Files
by Dan Cruishank
System iNEWS (May 2005)