Startup Delivers Database Tools for OS/400 HA Environments
November 16, 2004 Alex Woodie
One of the challenges of running an OS/400 high availability environment is ensuring that data and objects are always in synch. If you let them get out of synch, it exposes your business to the possibility of downtime and can take hours to track down and fix. Two former employees of an HA software vendor recently founded Shane Software to provide graphical tools to help administrators ensure that their HA environment is in synch, and track down and fix the problem if it’s not.
Shane Software is an IBM business partner located near Irvine, California. The company was founded in June by two former Vision Solutions employees, Randy Adamski and Billy Molintas.
“A lot of the HA vendors guarantee that the underlying data is correct, but they don’t really look at the object-level stuff,” Adamski says. “The HA vendor might come out and say, ‘You’re in synch.’ But we’re offering you a third option . . . to provide you with peace of mind.”
Specifically, Adamski says, the major HA packages that he knows of don’t check things like referential integrity and physical/logical database relationships in determining whether objects are in synch or out of synch. While there are IBM utilities and commands to find this information, they are based in the green-screen world, limited in their scope, and are not easy for non-programmers to use.
“A lot of customers didn’t understand what constraints were. They just trusted you to know what you were doing,” Adamski says. “My partner and I developed these tools to help people like that to find this information on their own.”
THE J. WIZARD SUITE
Shane Software currently offers three products in its j.Wizard suite, including jConStraints, JDBR, and jReOrg. The first two products, jConStraints and JDBR, help administrators with referential constraints and database file relationships and are being targeted at administrators in OS/400 high availability shops, although they are applicable to other scenarios. The jReOrg is a physical file reorganization utility for reclaiming underused DASD.
JConStraints Version 1.1 is the flagship of the j.Wizard suite. This product, which costs $1,295, reveals referential constraints in DB2/400, and maps all generations of parent/child relations. It is useful for ensuring that database referential integrity is in an acceptable state, for tracking down database constraint violations, and for verifying that HA software is correctly mirroring referential integrity constraints, the company says.
While IBM already helps users find constraint violations with the WRKPFCST command, viewing this sort of information through a green screen is tedious and time-consuming, Adamski says. “Some of the information [provided by WRKPFCST] is kind of cryptic, and we take that and turn it into English,” he says.
Additionally, whereas the WRKPFCST command displays only six columns of information, jConStraints displays 10 columns, which is used to provide information on the parent file, library, and update and delete rules. Other advantages of the product include the capability to download data to spreadsheets and the addition of a mapper feature that displays parent/child relations in a Windows-like tree view.
The jDBR tool was also designed to help users ensure that their database objects are properly in synch. This product, which Adamski calls “Display DBR on steroids,” can display the relationship of the physical files to the logical files in the iSeries database. “Currently there’s no way to do that” using IBM tools, he says. The jDBR costs $995.
The third and final member of the j.Wizard suite is jReOrg Version 1.1. This product, which costs $495, is a graphical implementation of IBM’s Reorganize Physical Files command, used for purging placeholders for deleted records. This product enables users to reorganize individual or multiple files, or entire libraries, logical partitions, or systems, with a few clicks of a mouse.
The jReOrg also provides a few little bonuses of its own. For example, the product will only show you which files have deleted records in them, Adamski says. It also lists files in order of which ones have the most deleted records in them. The jReOrg also doesn’t require users to recompile their file reorganization programs or update a database control file when new libraries are added, which is typically the case with CL and RPG programs.
All of Shane’s software is written in Java and runs on standard Windows PCs. The j.Wizard suite works with OS/400 V4R5 and later and requires a TCP/IP connection to the AS/400 or iSeries. For more information and trial downloads, go to www.shanesoftware.com.