DataMirror Expands SQL Server Connection

Many AS/400 shops have implemented data marts and e-commerce sites on Windows NT servers to provide more economical deployments while protecting back-end databases. However, keeping data moving on a real-time basis between the AS/400 and the NT box is a daunting challenge. To help these kinds of sites, DataMirror Corp. (Toronto) unveiled its latest edition of Transformation Server, which moves data between the latest version of Microsoft's SQL Server (7.0) and DB2 on the AS/400.

SQL Server 7.0 includes OLAP (On-line Analytical Processing) technology that incorporates features such as what-if analysis, member properties for additional queries and distributed query resolution, which will balance query activity between clients and servers to minimize network traffic and server load. Many IT managers may find such query load balancing capabilities an attractive means to offload and maintain AS/400 performance on the back end.

Along with being enabled for SQL Server 7.0, DataMirror's Transformation Server includes support for additional ODBC (Open Database Connectivity)-compliant databases running on Windows NT, including Microsoft FoxPro, dBase, Paradox, Lotus Notes and Oracle Lite.

DataMirror will market Transformation Server as a tool for quickly moving data between the AS/400 and SQL Server and other ODBC databases, particularly since "you want to be able to extract, cleanse and propagate that data into the data mart," says William Hartwick, director of marketing with DataMirror.

Additional features in the new release of Transformation Server for Microsoft SQL Server also include commitment control and column manipulation for Y2K compliance, and flexible command line support. The commitment control feature, designed for Web applications, assembles all updates in a transaction at the source before being sent over the Web. The column manipulation function allows end-users to add a century specification to two-digit date formats. The software also supports AS/400 clustering, as enabled through V4R4 of OS/400, Hartwick adds.

ADT Automotive Inc. (Nashville, Tenn.) has found Transformation Server to be a tool for moving online auction transaction data between its network of AS/400s and a Compaq Alpha server running SQL Server on Windows NT. ADT conducts online car auctions through its Web site, ADT LION, which includes inventory information, sale prices and search capabilities. ADT's AS/400s, located throughout the country, replicate AS/400-based inventory information to the Windows NT server, which also supports the company's Web site. Transactions are sent back and forth between the Web server and the AS/400s in real time.

"You can imagine the load and pace of activity between those boxes," Hartwick says. "Since they didn't have to write the data replication software, nor the communication subsystems underneath it, they saved themselves about a year of development time."