Purge Your JDE System to Higher Health with Essentio’s Archivist
September 30, 2008 Alex Woodie
JD Edwards shops concerned about slowing performance of their production ERP environments–or limiting their liability in litigation–may want to consider a good old-fashioned purge to clear out some of the stale, old data and make way for fresh, new data. A handful of tools are available to help, including native JD Edwards commands. But only one product, Essentio‘s Archivist, is used exclusively in JD Edwards environments. With the recently released version 3, Archivist gains more intelligence.
Essentio was founded in 2004 by Nirav Shah, a former consultant with CIBER who had taken a job in the IT department of an Indiana manufacturer. At the time, Shah needed to purge a JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP system as part of regularly scheduled maintenance. Without purging old records from the ERP system’s database, the files would continue to build up, gradually slowing down the server until it ran like molasses.
Shah understood he could use JD Edwards’ commands to execute the purge. However, these tools were less than ideal, as they did not maintain referential integrity inside the database, leading to the possibility of incomplete or corrupt data. They also didn’t maintain a complete audit trail, a no-no from a compliance point of view.
“There were not any commercial products out that the time, with the exception of one product, and it only runs on the ‘400,” Shah says, referring to the ARCTOOLS suite from DCSoftware. But he was working on a Unix-based implementation of EnterpriseOne. “That created an opportunity, so I decided to set up a business around archiving, and particularly archiving around JD Edwards.”
Thus was born Archivist, a Java-based archiving product that works with DB2, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server databases running in tandem with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Word ERP systems. The software helps keep the size of World and EnterpriseOne databases to a manageable level, while maintaining full referential integrity of the data and a complete audit trail.
The product works by making a direct connection to the database. Pre-defined routines then extract data from each of the major JD Edwards modules, such as the general ledger, accounts payable, and so forth. The data is then loaded into pre-defined tables in Archivist, which usually resides on the same system as the production environment; users can also create their own custom tables to support modified JD Edwards environments, or even other ERP systems.
In some ways, Archivist is similar to an ETL (extract, transform, load) tool, “but without the ‘t’,” Shah says.
Maintaining referential integrity of the ERP data is one of two main goals of Archivist. “The product will actually retain the original structure of the tables,” Shah says. “So even when the data is archived, the end user can still access the archived data.” Performing regular backups will also capture the entire business object, but will not have any impact on performance, because it’s just copying the data, and not removing it from the production system.
The other main goal of Archivist is keeping an audit trail of the data’s movements. “When you have to undergo audit, and you have to go back, for litigation reasons, and produce the information. It can become a challenge if you have not maintained integrity,” Shah says. “Anybody who’s gone through an audit process will tell you, it’s not a lot of fun. If you have discrepancies in the data, it becomes a challenge to explain that to an auditor.”
Earlier this month, Essentio released Archivist version 3, which introduces more automation and workflow processes. The new workflow system implements the concept of defined users and their roles, and maintains the separation of duties mandated under Sarbanes-Oxley.
The new version also brings changes to data lifecycle management. Previously, the product would automatically categorize data for each of the major ERP modules by a certain year. So when, for example, the company was no longer required to maintain sales data for 2001, it could be automatically slated for destruction, thereby eliminating a potential legal liability.
With Version 3, Essentio has modified the lifecycle management function simplify exceptions. So, if a company has already entered into litigation making it illegal to destroy old information, that exception can be automated by the product. “Large companies will have coronate retention policies defined,” Shah says. “You can take the retention polices and put them into Archivist, and it will manage your data based on those retention polices.”
Most of Essentio’s customers are JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customers who run their ERP systems on Unix systems. However, about 40 percent of Archivist users are AS/400 (iSeries, i5, System i, i OS-based Power Systems) users, and the product runs on the i OS.
Essentio, which is based near Cincinnati, Ohio, and has an office in Bangalore, India, will soon support other major ERP systems, such as Lawson Software and SAP. “We wanted to focus on JD Edwards. That’s been our domain expertise,” Shah says. “We’re looking to expand into other ERP systems within the next few months.”
For more information about Archivist, visit Essentio’s Web site at www.essentio.com.