Progress DataDirect Releases Mainframe SQL Engine for Non-Relational Data Leveraging zIIP Processor

Designed for zIIP specialty processor to lower mainframe TCO, Progress DataDirect Shadow Release 7.2.1 offers ANSI SQL-92 to non-relational data with zIIP offload

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Progress DataDirect has released the Progress DataDirect Shadow mainframe integration platform with enhanced ANSI SQL-92 engine for relational to non-relational data processing utilizing the IBM System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP).

Cost-effective access to mainframe data continues to be a key requirement for organizations and technology providers that rely on, or integrate with, legacy data stores. Older, non-relational databases pose unique integration challenges because of the proprietary way in which the data is stored, necessitating processing-intensive data mapping and transformation before the information can be used with a relational database such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. The high mainframe processing costs for native access to non-relational data causes many organizations to replicate or migrate mainframe data off-platform to reduce the cost of data transformation, adding latency in the process.

The DataDirect Shadow platform addresses this challenge with the introduction of ANSI SQL-92 data access that leverages its technology for zIIP exploitation. Release 7.2.1 of the DataDirect Shadow platform allows ANSI SQL-92 workloads for IMS DB databases and CICS VSAM files to be diverted from the mainframe’s general purpose processor (GPP) to the zIIP specialty engine which does the work without using any of the mainframe licensed MIPs capacity.

The unique approach to zIIP exploitation used by Progress DataDirect was developed in close partnership with IBM and does not cause IBM or any other third-party code to become zIIP-enabled. The expanded SQL support within the latest release of the DataDirect Shadow platform offers mainframe users more flexibility for processing-intensive data queries in support of business intelligence (BI) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications and reinforces IBM’s strategic efforts to extend the value of the mainframe to new workloads, attract new users and reduce operating costs with the specialty engines.

The standards-based SQL features present in DataDirect Shadow release 7.2.1 join the existing support for Web services and change data capture (CDC) for events to complete the zIIP exploitation capabilities across the single, unified integration platform. Some organizations using the DataDirect Shadow platform have demonstrated up to 99 percent of the processing associated with SOA integration, SQL data queries, change data capture for events and Web-enablement can be re-directed to the zIIP engine.

With DataDirect Shadow release 7.2.1, organizations no longer have to automatically endure the incremental infrastructure and opportunity latency costs associated with copying and synchronizing mainframe data to off-host databases. Users can now access the data in place, securely with rich support for SQL capabilities.

“DataDirect Shadow offers a holistic approach to cutting mainframe total-cost-of-ownership by enabling the zIIP to act as a fungible appliance, capable of addressing a wide range of integration challenges,” said Gregg Willhoit, chief architect at Progress DataDirect. “ANSI SQL-92 to non-relational data with zIIP offload has huge performance and cost benefits to organizations engaged in next-generation BI, where real-time access to operational data and events is imperative. Using a standard-based SQL interface, the DataDirect Shadow platform allows data residing in mainframe databases to be easily manipulated and now cost-effectively processed on the mainframe.”

Expanded Support for Mainframe SOA

Release 7.2.1 of the DataDirect Shadow platform also contains new features to boost mainframe SOA initiatives including enhanced API support that enables Web service requester programs to perform Web services calls in an asynchronous manner. Conversational IMS transactions can now serve as Web service providers using the DataDirect Shadow WsC capabilities of DataDirect Shadow z/Services which enable mainframe COBOL, PL/1, or Natural programs to consume and publish Web services.

Using this capability reduces the performance and scalability impact within high-volume IMS/TM environments by eliminating the blocking time (time and program waits) during Web services calls.

Other key features found in the latest release of the DataDirect Shadow platform include:

  • Support for new data types and SQL stored procedures introduced in IBM DB2 for z/OS v. 9.1

  • Extended support for Event Driven Architectures (EDA) with enhanced persistence of captured data changes to non-relational IMS/DB data

  • New procedure for simplifying installation and maintenance of the DataDirect Shadow software using IBM System Modification Program/Extended (SMP/E) for z/OS program

More information is available at

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