Starting a Mainframe Data Migration Project? Consider Your Use Cases Carefully

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development and Cloud Alliance Leader at Treehouse Software

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Planning for Real-time and Bi-directional Mainframe Data Replication with tcVISION

A customer’s mainframe data may be utilized by many interlinked and dependent programs that have been in place for several years, and sometimes, decades, so unlocking the value of this legacy data can be difficult. Therefore, careful planning must occur for a mainframe data modernization project, beginning with identifying uses cases for the project and a Proof of Concept (POC) of data replication software, such as tcVISION, the Mainframe-to-Cloud and Open Systems data replication product from Treehouse Software.

This blog serves as a general guide for organizations planning to replicate their mainframe data on Cloud and/or Open Systems platforms using tcVISION.

Questions and Considerations for Your Use Cases

A general principle should be to prove out the data replication technology (tcVISION) by using identified use cases. Listed below are some examples of questions and use cases to assist customers in planning and experiencing successful Mainframe-to-Cloud and/or Open Systems data replication projects:

  • What is/are the mainframe source database(s)? Obvious, yes, but the software solution vendor and outside consultants need this information.
  • What are the critical issues you need to test? Are there any areas that you believe that would be challenging for the vendor? Examples would be specific transformations, data types (e.g., BLOB), required CDC SLAs, field/column changes, specific security requirements, data volume requirements, etc. Document all of the critical test items.
  • Select the minimal set of files (generally 3-10) with representative conditions that will enable you to test all of your critical items. If there are multiple source databases, ensure specific test use cases are defined for each source.
  • What are the target databases? Will you be replicating to a Cloud database manager, such as AWS RDS? Are there additional requirements to replicate to S3, Azure BLOB, GCP Cloud Storage, Kinesis, and Kafka? What needs to be tested?
  • What are your bulk or initial load requirements? tcVISION can load data directly from mainframe databases, mainframe unloads, or image copies. What are the data volumes? Do you have sufficient bandwidth between your mainframe manager and on-premises or Cloud VM to handle your volume requirements?
  • What are your Change Data Capture (CDC) requirements?
  • Do you have plans for bi-directional replication in the future. What are your specific requirements? Since bi-directional replication can be complex and greatly lengthen a modernization project, the customer generally will perform one bi-directional use case for conceptual proof. Will this suffice for your organization?
  • What are your specific high availability requirements? Can they be handled by a technical discussion, or is a specific use case required?
  • What are your general security requirements for data at rest and data in transit? Do you have any specific security regulations to follow, such as HIPPA or FIPS? What are your PII / data masking requirements?
  • What are your schema requirements? For example, tcVISION creates a default schema based on your input mainframe data. Major changes to the default schema usually require a staging database.
  • Do you have staff available to perform the required tasks for the project? For example, for the length of a tcVISION POC you will need part-time staff, 2-4 hours per day. A part-time mainframe administrator will generally require 2-8 elapsed hours. Other staff will include Windows/Linux/Cloud administrators. 2-4 hours of project management may also be required.
  • Are business data transformations required? tcVISION handles minor transformation via point and click (e.g., date format transformations). Major transformations can require C++ or product scripting.
  • Are there any triggers or stored procedures? tcVISION performs CDC replication processing using a database that utilizes these database features.

Of course, each project will have unique environments, goals, and desired use cases. It is important that specific use cases are determined and documented prior to the start of a project and a tcVISION POC. This planning will allow the Treehouse Software team and the customer develop a more accurate project timeline, have the required resources available, and realize a successful project. 

More About tcVISION from Treehouse Software…

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tcVISION supports a vast array of integration scenarios throughout the enterprise, providing easy and fast data migration for mainframe application modernization projects. This innovative technology offers comprehensive abilities to identify and capture changes occurring in mainframe and relational databases, then publish the required information to an impressive variety of targets, both Cloud and on-premises.

tcVISION acquires data in bulk or via CDC methods from virtually any IBM mainframe data source (Software AG Adabas, IBM Db2, IBM VSAM, IBM IMS/DB, CA IDMS, CA Datacom, and sequential files), and transform and deliver to a wide array of Cloud and Open Systems targets, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Confluent, Kafka, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc. In addition, tcVISION can extract and replicate data from a variety of non-mainframe sources, including Adabas LUW, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Db2 LUW and Db2 BLU, IBM Informix, and PostgreSQL.


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Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Simply fill out our Product Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.

What’s Your Mix?

Real-time and Bi-directional Data Replication Between Mainframes and Virtually Any Target

Cloud004_Swirl

tcVISION from Treehouse Software — Enterprise ETL and Real-Time Data Replication Through Change Data Capture (CDC)

Planning a data replication project between Mainframe, Cloud, and Open Systems platforms? tcVISION supports a vast array of integration scenarios throughout the enterprise, providing easy and fast data migration for mainframe application modernization projects. This innovative technology offers comprehensive abilities to identify and capture changes occurring in mainframe and relational databases, then publish the required information to an impressive variety of targets, both Cloud and on-premises.

tcVISION acquires data in bulk or via CDC methods from virtually any IBM mainframe data source (Software AG Adabas, IBM Db2, IBM VSAM, IBM IMS/DB, CA IDMS, CA Datacom, and sequential files), and transform and deliver to a wide array of Cloud and Open Systems targets, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Confluent, Kafka, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc. In addition, tcVISION can extract and replicate data from a variety of non-mainframe sources, including Adabas LUW, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Db2 LUW and Db2 BLU, IBM Informix and PostgreSQL.

Whatever your mix, Treehouse Software has got it covered with tcVISION.


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Moving the right data to the right place at the right time

Visit the Treehouse Software website for more information on tcVISION, or contact us to discuss your needs.

Quickly Begin Replicating Mainframe Data on Cloud and Open Systems During a tcVISION Proof of Concept.

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development / Cloud Alliance Leader at Treehouse Software, Inc.

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Customers can start moving mainframe data within days during a tcVISION POC…

An online tcVISION Proof of Concept (POC) is approximately 10 business days, with the customer providing a representative subset of data, use cases, and goals for the POC. A Treehouse Software consultant will assist in downloading and installing tcVISION, and conduct a limited-scope implementation of a tcVISION application. This application uses customer data and executes on customer facilities, in a non-production environment. A document is provided beforehand that outlines the requirements and agenda for the POC.

By the end of the POC, customers can begin replicating mainframe data to their Cloud or Open Systems target database.  It can happen that fast!.

About tcVISION

More Cloud, Open Systems, and Systems Integration partners are recommending tcVISION, Treehouse Software’s Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product for modernization projects. tcVISION focuses on changed data capture (CDC) when transferring information between mainframe data sources and Cloud and Open System databases and applications. Through an innovative technology, changes occurring in any mainframe application data are tracked and captured, and then published to a variety of RDBMS and other targets.

tcVISION_Overall_Diagram_Cloud_OS

Further reading…

Treehouse Software is an AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Technology Partner, and the AWS Partner Network published a blog about tcVISION, which describes how tcVISION allows legacy mainframe environments to continue, while replicating data on highly available and secure Cloud platforms.


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Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Simply fill out our Product Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.

Treehouse Software is Helping Government Agencies with Mainframe Adabas Data Take Advantage of Cutting Edge Cloud-based Technologies

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development / Cloud Alliance Lead at Treehouse Software, Inc.

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Many government agencies have large volumes of mission critical and historical data stored in a variety of legacy mainframe databases (for this blog, we are focusing on Adabas). These government agencies combine a broad range human service programs, including employment assistance and job training, child and adult protection, child support enforcement, cash assistance, and services for the developmentally disabled, all of which constantly require accurate, up-to-date, and secure data.

To support the needs of clients, government agencies are generally broken into multiple divisions, including the division that Treehouse Software works with the most — Technology Services. The Technology Services divisions provide technical and systems services for the development, maintenance, and enhancement of automated business systems. They also ensure that the production and sub-production databases are running smoothly and efficiently by performing necessary maintenance of the databases.

Rapidly changing national health and economic conditions are making fast access to the most current information more important than ever for government agencies and the public.  As a result, a top priority for Technology Services divisions is modernizing critical data residing on long-standing mainframe databases. Unlocking the value of this important data can be difficult, because the data can be utilized by numerous interlinked and dependent programs that have been in place for many years, and sometimes decades.

Many Treehouse government customers are now looking for modernization solutions that allow their legacy mainframe environments to continue, while replicating data in real time on highly available Cloud-based platforms, such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. tcVISION from Treehouse Software allows a “data-first” approach, whereby immediate data replication to the Cloud helps government agencies begin strategies to meet spikes in demand for vital information, especially in times of crisis.

Just what is it about Adabas?

Adabas is a mainframe database that is still heavily used by government sites throughout the U.S. and the world. Having specialized in tools and services complementary to Adabas/Natural applications since 1982, Treehouse has successfully encountered and addressed many unique issues within the Adabas environment. This excerpt from a Treehouse technical document outlines three primary issues with Adabas/Natural that must be considered:

  1. Adabas has no concept of “transaction isolation”, in that a program may read a record that another program has updated, in its updated state, even though the update has not been committed.  This means that programmatically reading a live Adabas database—one that is available to update users—will almost inevitably lead to erroneous extraction of data.  Record modifications (updates, inserts and deletes) that are extracted, and subsequently backed out, will be represented incorrectly—or not at all—in the target. Because of this, at Treehouse we say “the only safe data source is a static data source”—not the live database.
  2. Many legacy Adabas applications make use of “record typing”, i.e., multiple logical tables stored in a single Adabas file.  Often, each must be extracted to a separate table in the target RDBMS.  The classic example is that of the “code-lookup file”.  Most shops have a single file containing state codes, employee codes, product-type codes, etc.  Records belonging to a given “code table” may be distinguished by the presence of a value in a particular index (descriptor or superdescriptor in ADABAS parlance), or by a range of specific values.  Thus, the extraction process must be able to dynamically assign data content from a given record to different target tables depending on the data content itself.
  3. Adabas is most often used in conjunction with Software AG’s Natural 4GL, and “conveniently” provides for unique datatypes (“D” and “T”) that appear to be merely packed-decimal integers on the surface, but that represent date or date-time values when interpreted using Software AG’s proprietary Natural-oriented algorithm. The most appropriate way to migrate such datatypes is to recognize them and map them to the corresponding native RDBMS datatype (e.g., Oracle DATE) in conjunction with a transformation that decodes the Natural value and formats it to match the target datatype.

For discovery and analysis of legacy source data structures, tcVISION’s modeling and mapping facilities view and capture logical Adabas structures, as documented in Software AG’s PREDICT data dictionary, as well as physical structures as described in Adabas Field Definition Tables (FDTs).  Note that PREDICT is a “passive” data dictionary—there is no requirement that the logical and physical representations agree, so it is necessary to scrutinize both to ensure that the source structures are accurately modeled.

Furthermore, tcVISION generates specification and implementation of appropriate mappings and transformations for converting Adabas datatypes and structures to corresponding RDBMS datatypes and structures, including automatic handling of the proprietary “D” and “T” source datatypes.

There are three ways tcVISION can access Adabas data:

  1. ETL – read the active database nucleus
  2. ETL – read datasets containing unloaded Adabas files created by the ADAULD utility
  3. CDC – read the active and archived PLOGs datasets

It is important to note that the schema, mappings and transformations that result from metadata import can be tailored to any specific requirements after the fact.  It is even possible to import an existing RDBMS schema and retrofit it, via drag-and-drop, to the source Adabas elements.

Using the tcVISION Control Board, a Windows GUI interface, the most complex transformations can be specified. Source fields can be combined into a single column, decomposed into separate columns, and be subject to calculations, database lookups, string operations and even programmatic manipulation. Furthermore, mapping rules can be implemented to specify that data content from a source Adabas record be mapped to one or more target RDBMS tables—each with its own different structure, as desired—based on the data content itself. Target tables can even be populated from more than one source file.

tcVISION supports complex replication scenarios…

tcVISION_Complex_Replication_Scenarios

tcVISION GUI Control Board functions as a central point of administration…

tcVISION_Control_Board

Automatically apply target schema within the Control Board…

tcVISION_Target_Schema

It is impossible to discuss all the features and capabilities of tcVISION within a high-level overview.  Given the maturity, wealth of functionality and relative low cost of tcVISION, as compared to the effort, complexity and risk entailed in a “Do-It-Yourself”, solution there is no reason why a legacy renewal project should run aground on data migration.

tcVISION’s minimal footprint on the mainframe…

Customers are very happy with tcVISION‘s “staged processing” methodology, where the only processing occurring on the mainframe was the capture of changes from Adabas PLOGs. The bulk of the processing occurs on the target platform, minimizing tcVISION’s footprint on the mainframe as seen in this diagram…

tcVISION_Staged_Processing

The user defines on which platform stage their processing should be done. Do as little as possible on the mainframe: Stage 0 – capture data and send data (internal format) to target, and process data up to Stage 3 in receiving environment.

Moving forward with tcVISION…

Treehouse Software has been helping local, state, and federal government agencies with Adabas and Natural in the areas of data migration, security, control, auditing, performance enhancement, etc. for decades. Over the years, Treehouse has expanded its capabilities to address new requirements for modernizing legacy mainframe Adabas databases on various Cloud platforms. By using Treehouse Software’s tcVISION Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product, our government customers are able to immediately utilize some of the most advanced Cloud tools and services in the world.

tcVISION enables government agencies to synchronize mainframe Adabas data with various highly available and secure Cloud databases, data warehouses. etc.. Additionally, bi-directional, real-time data synchronization will enable changes on either platform to be reflected on the other platform (e.g., a change to a PostgreSQL table is reflected back on the mainframe database). This allows governments to modernize  applications on Cloud platforms without disrupting the existing critical work on the legacy system, and modern tools can now be used in the new environment, greatly enhancing agility.

Replicating mainframe data on the Cloud can happen within days during a tcVISION Proof of Concept (POC)…

tcVISION_Overall_Diagram_General_Cloud01

An online tcVISION POC is approximately 10 business days, with the customer providing use case and goals for the POC. A Treehouse Software consultant will assist in downloading and installing tcVISION and conducting a limited-scope implementation of a tcVISION application. This application uses customer data and executes on customer facilities, usually in a non-production environment. A document is provided beforehand that outlines the requirements, use cases, and agenda for the POC.

By the end of the 10-day POC, customers can begin replicating mainframe data to their Cloud target database.  It can happen that fast!

Further Reading…

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Treehouse Software is an AWS Technology Partner, and the AWS Partner Network published a blog about tcVISION, our Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product, which describes how tcVISION allows legacy mainframe environments to continue, while replicating data on highly available and secure Cloud platforms:

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/apn/real-time-mainframe-data-replication-to-aws-with-tcvision-from-treehouse-software/


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Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Simply fill out our Product Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.

Replicate Data Between Mainframes and Cloud APIs for MongoDB with Treehouse Software’s tcVISION

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development / Cloud Alliance Lead at Treehouse Software, Inc.

Treehouse Software is helping enterprises with mainframe data explore modernizing with various Cloud APIs for MongoDB using tcVISION, our Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product.

The MongoDB Atlas Database as a Service (DBaaS) is present across all major Cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, and Google). Automated infrastructure provisioning, setup, and deployment are fully automated with MongoDB Atlas.

Select a Cloud provider, region, instance size, memory, and additional configurations in the Cluster Builder or via the API and be on your way…

Video Demo: Moving Mainframe Data to MongoDB with tcVISION

Our video demonstrates integrating logically connected data to a document structure in MongoDB. This video shows how to transfer Db2 z/OS Mainframe Data To MongoDB using tcVISION…

Replicating mainframe data on the Cloud can happen within days during a tcVISION Proof of Concept (POC)…

tcVISION_Overall_Diagram_General_Cloud

An online tcVISION POC is approximately 5-10 business days, with the customer providing use cases, goals, and a representative sample of data for the POC. A Treehouse Software consultant will assist in downloading and installing tcVISION and conducting a limited-scope implementation of a tcVISION application. This application uses customer data and executes on customer facilities, usually in a non-production environment. A document is provided beforehand that outlines the requirements and agenda for the POC.

By the end of the 10-day POC, customers can begin replicating mainframe data to their Cloud target database.  It can happen that fast!

Further Reading…

_0_AWS_Logo

Treehouse Software is an AWS technology partner, and the AWS Partner Network published a blog about tcVISION, our Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product, which describes how tcVISION allows legacy mainframe environments to continue, while replicating data on highly available and secure Cloud platforms:

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/apn/real-time-mainframe-data-replication-to-aws-with-tcvision-from-treehouse-software/


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Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Simply fill out our Product Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.

Treehouse Software is Helping Higher Education Customers Modernize Long-standing Mainframe Data on the Cloud

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development / Cloud Alliance Lead at Treehouse Software, Inc.

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The Business Issue

Many higher education institutions have large volumes of mission critical and historical data stored in legacy mainframe databases (Db2, Adabas, IMS, IDMS, Datacom, VSAM, etc.). The cost to maintain these databases is high and they lack the features required for modernizing the data architecture. Additionally, the data is utilized by an extensive number of interlinked programs dependent on this legacy data.

Colleges and universities are searching for a solution that allows them to unlock their mainframe data within a Cloud-based data store, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), where they can use a wide array of analytics and machine learning services for easy access to all relevant data, without compromising security or governance.

Once mainframe data is on AWS, an institution can innovate quickly by creating new functions with Cloud speed, such as mobile users via Amazon API Gateway, or voice devices such as Amazon Alexa.

Additionally, data security is one of the biggest challenges facing most higher education organizations. Beyond the certifications and best practices that are part of having data reside on the AWS Cloud platform, there are also many security features and services designed to help an organization stay compliant with industry best practices and regulations.

The Solution: Mainframe-to-Cloud Data Replication 

Treehouse Software recently helped a large university with a requirement for a solution that allows their legacy mainframe database to continue while replicating data in real time on AWS. By using Treehouse Software’s tcVISION Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product, the university was able to immediately utilize some of the most advanced Cloud tools and services in the world.

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tcVISION enables the university to synchronize mainframe data to Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL. Furthermore, bi-directional, real-time data synchronization will enable changes on either platform to be reflected on the other platform (e.g., a change to a PostgreSQL table is reflected back on the mainframe database). This allows the university to modernize the application on PostgreSQL without disrupting the existing critical work on the legacy system, and modern tools can now be used in the PostgreSQL environment, greatly enhancing business agility.

Moving Forward…

Having on-demand, Cloud-based services available can now help IT teams build secure environments for mission-critical applications for the University, freeing them to focus on student success and plan for growth or increased seasonal demand.

tcVISION provides the quality of service required by enterprise data workloads for security, availability, and scalability, and university staff and students can look forward to quickly and affordably accessing Cloud compute, storage, and application services.

Replicating mainframe data on the Cloud can happen within days during a tcVISION Proof of Concept (POC)…

tcVISION_Overall_Diagram_General_Cloud

An online tcVISION POC is approximately 5-10 business days, with the customer providing use case and goals for the POC. A Treehouse Software consultant will assist in downloading and installing tcVISION and conducting a limited-scope implementation of a tcVISION application. This application uses customer data and executes on customer facilities, usually in a non-production environment. A document is provided beforehand that outlines the requirements and agenda for the POC.

By the end of the 10-day POC, customers can begin replicating mainframe data to their Cloud target database.  It can happen that fast!

Further Reading…

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Treehouse Software is an AWS technology partner, and the AWS Partner Network published a blog about tcVISION, our Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product, which describes how tcVISION allows legacy mainframe environments to continue, while replicating data on highly available and secure Cloud platforms:

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/apn/real-time-mainframe-data-replication-to-aws-with-tcvision-from-treehouse-software/


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Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Simply fill out our Product Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.

Customers are discovering that they can quickly begin replicating their mainframe data to the Cloud during tcVISION Proof of Concepts (POCs)

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development / Cloud Alliance Lead at Treehouse Software, Inc.

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Modernizing long-standing mainframe systems has become a strategic imperative at many government, education, healthcare, financial, and retail organizations. As a result, these organizations are looking for solutions that allow their legacy environments to continue, while replicating data, in real time, on Cloud-based platforms, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, etc. This “data first” approach allows organizations to quickly take advantage of advanced Cloud technologies, such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), rapid global database deployments, high-level security, etc., while keeping the mainframe and Cloud sides synchronized.

With new IT modernization initiatives in the forefront, Treehouse Software is seeing a significant upswing in requests for online demonstrations and POCs of tcVISION, our Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication product.

You can start moving your mainframe data to the Cloud within days during a tcVISION POC…

tcVISION_Overall_Diagram_General_Cloud

An online tcVISION POC is approximately 5-10 business days, with the customer providing use case and goals for the POC. A Treehouse Software consultant will assist in downloading and installing tcVISION, and conduct a limited-scope implementation of a tcVISION application. This application uses customer data and executes on customer facilities, usually in a non-production environment. A document is provided beforehand that outlines the requirements and agenda for the POC.

By the end of the 10-day POC, customers can begin replicating mainframe data to their Cloud target database.  It can happen that fast!


__TSI_LOGO

Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Simply fill out our Product Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.