Databeam Eases Custom IBM i Development with V2.0
December 13, 2011 Alex Woodie
Custom development on the IBM i platform can be an expensive proposition. For an organization with established RPG coders, it may not be a big deal to make changes, but hiring a consultant to customize an application can be cost-prohibitive for a small or medium-sized business. One software vendor that’s trying to take the cost and complexity out of IBM i development is Databeam, which recently shipped version 2.0 of its Databeam suite.
Databeam and Centerfield are still collaborating on the development of the Databeam suite, which includes the dataCapture and dataAlert tools. DataCapture is a Windows-based power tool designed to simplify the task of querying the IBM i audit journal. DataAlert builds off the core capabilities of dataCapture to provide managers and customers with instant notification of IBM i events detected in the audit journal.
The Databeam suite is not just another database auditing or security tool. There are already a handful of good third-party tools on the market that deliver automation above and beyond what IBM i already provides in this field.
Instead, the big idea behind Databeam is to monitor for key business events in DB2/400 and then quickly deliver small, personalized packets of information that business managers can act upon. Yes, it can provide transition auditing for regulatory compliance, but that is just a small part of what Databeam can do.
For example, a customer could use the Databeam suite to trigger an alert to the CEO when a big customer lodged a compliant, or to send the inventory manager a reminder when stock of a top-selling product runs low. Or, a known problem with an existing application could be sidestepped by instituting a parallel process that doesn’t contaminate the data.
Databeam provides these capabilities to IBM i shops, without embarking upon big, custom development efforts, explains Databeam’s Brenda Schibilla.
“DataBeam produces software for the iSeries market to enhance applications without requiring code changes,” Schibilla says. “Real-time monitoring of database changes can improve a business process, allow application owners to quickly identify data quality issues, and improve the response time in taking advantage of sales or marketing opportunities.”
With version 2, which shipped earlier this fall, Databeam has made several enhancements that are designed to improve the business process management capability of the software.
For example, dataCapture gets new filters that allow a user to choose exactly which columns of data, and which SQL entry types, are collected from the IBM i journals. This should give users more fine-grained control over the specific business events that trigger actions in dataCapture.
Turning on journaling is also easier with this release, as dataCapture will automatically start (and stop) journaling for files that aren’t already journaled. This release also adds support for new data types. Databeam is also highlighting the fact that, while dataCapture features a GUI, a user can configure the tool from the green screen using the UPDCAPUTRE command.
The dataAlert tool has been updated, too, including the capability to turn alerts and scheduled reports on and off, and more editing options for alerts and scheduled reports. Also, this release gives users the option of including part of the journal entry in the text of the message generated by the product. Users can include up to 140 characters in the text.
Databeam has also enhanced the capability of its software to integrate with third-party tools, which is an area that Databeam is hoping to exploit in the coming months with its new ISV partner program.
Databeam will utilize this integration capability with an upcoming new release of Centerfield Technology’s HomeRun suite of IBM i performance optimization tools. HomeRun version 8, which will ship next month, will include the Databeam suite for alerting purposes.
“Many doors have been opened with this release by adding a mechanism to ship and license customized dataCapture and dataAlert configurations for software partners,” Schibilla says. “With the new partnership/packaging we also needed to make some changes to the Databeam suite. We believe we have made very good strides with the Databeam products and look forward to working with customers on this new release.
Pricing for dataCapture starts at $1,500 per LPAR. Pricing for dataAlert starts at $3,000 per LPAR. For more information, see www.data-beam.com.