GetItRight Does ETL for Data Warehousing, And More
Published: May 16, 2006
by Alex Woodie
Companies looking for a extract, transformation, and load (ETL) tool for extracting data from OS/400 applications may want to check out CTH Technologies's utility, called GetItRight. This program is used for pulling data from iSeries and other hosts directly through application screens, including terminal emulators, or through database connections. The software was recently certified to run on United Devices line of Grid MP computers, providing another alternative to traditional host-based ETL tools.
There are several ETL tools that have already proved their mettle dealing with iSeries servers and data stored in DB2/400. And while GetItRight may not challenge them in all respects, this unique tool might be just what the doctor ordered for certain IT outfits, such as those without a lot of iSeries programming expertise or that are running many different types of servers, or for certain IT projects.
CTH says GetItRight can significantly simplify ETL tasks, and shields users from the complexity of running scripts. Instead of requiring a developer to understand the structure of the data source, all that is required to extract data from a source system is the creation of a process flow map. These can be based on the same screens that people use to work with the applications fronting the data source.
GetItRight acts as a broker between the data source and its target. After the process flow map is set up, the software navigates the application through a terminal emulator, such as IBM's Client Access or any of the third-party 5250 emulators, says Cliff Haines, the company's founder and CTO.
"Instead of [integrating applications by doing] database to database conversions, it goes in through the front-end by simulating human keyboarding," Haines says. GetItRight then pulls the data from fields, and loads it into a predefined spot on the target system.
GetItRight supports four modes. In "screen to screen" mode, it reads data from one screen and writes the same data to another screen on a separate system, according to the process flow map. In "screen to file" mode, it writes that data directly into a database, using ODBC. The other two modes, "file to screen" and "file to file," provide variations on the first two techniques.
GetItRight runs on Windows, and can move data among applications running on practically any operating system, including OS/400, OS/390, Unix, and Windows. The utility is powered with a proprietary scripting language "that looks like XML," Haines says. The software comes with drivers for accessing data from common applications, such as 3270 and 5250 emulators, and from common document formats, including TIFF and PDF.
Accessing data through emulators provides several benefits, Haines says. "It performs any error handling required as it is reading or writing a screen to continue processing without having a person fix the issue so it can run in unattended mode to process thousands or hundreds of thousands of records using this application-GUI data transfer approach," the CTO says.
In late March, GetItRight version 3.0 was certified to run on United Devices Grid MP clustering middleware for creating grids out of X86, Itanium, Power, and Sparc computers; however, GetItRight only supports Grid MP middleware on X86-based servers.
This GetItRight/Grid MP platform has already been deployed at Children's Memorial Research Center in Chicago, where researchers are using the software to extract data from millions of articles spread across thousands of medical journals, and turn the data into XML documents, which are then loaded into a structured data warehouse for data mining.
The combination of CTH and Grid MP software has allowed the center to utilize a variety of PCs and clusters of larger servers, which is saving money, says Dr. Eric Bremer, director of brain tumor research at the research center. "Traditionally researchers would have used much more expensive dedicated Unix servers for the same task," Bremer says.
GetItRight is also being used to help AT&T access data from a mainframe customer service application, Haines says. In this case, GetItRight is navigating a 3270 emulator to pull data from IMS and DB2 data sources. The AT&T deployment has been a success, he says. "This application runs on four server PCs in 'unattended' mode 24x7 to eliminate redundant data entry by their call center personnel," he says.
CTH Technologies has been selling GetItRight since 2002, and has only garnered a handful of customers. However, because some of those customers have tens of thousands of seats, the software has received a real-world workout.
GetItRight 3.0 is available now. Licenses start at $20,000 for the developer's kit, and $10,000 for the runtime component. For more information, visit www.cthtech.com.