Modernizing I.T. applications to DB2; from inefficiency to a vital environment

As legacy applications continue to age, the vast majority of I.T. organizations have multiple database environments.  With IBM’s DB2 being the predominate player in the mainframe arena, many shops are looking at the future of the other database software installed alongside DB2, or, for those sites that do not have DB2, what to do with their older, inefficient and non-relational DBMS software.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the ability to support and maintain tools other than DB2 DBMS is becoming more costly, more and more difficult and less effective in relation to:

  • Available experienced staff
  • Tools to support the ongoing use of non-DB2 environments
  • ISV utilities to enhance and provide access to the DBMS environment and the data contained therein
  • The general overall inefficiency of the non-relational DBMS software for the mainframe

When it is time to consider a modernization to a true RDBMS, the most important factor to consider is the ability to have access across the entire enterprise (mainframe and LUW) for any application, utility, tool and/or access requirement.  While some database software is true enterprise wide, only DB2 is a fully functional relational database.  Additionally, as indicated previously, DB2 is the only RDBMS with a large base of ISV tools, software and utilities that can enhance the use of the database environment across the enterprise.

As a result, more and more corporate I.T. organizations are looking to modernize their database applications.  This can include an investigation into reducing the number of supported environments to eliminate duplication, unnecessary additional costs, staff and supporting utilities.  While some are considering a move off of the mainframe, it is important to remember that the applications will also need to be converted and rehosted if an LUW target is the ultimate decision.  This can lead to a considerable increase in time, cost and resources required as there are other issues associated with a rehosting to another platform, including batch processes, online access, utilities, print requirements, automated workload management, movement of data between platforms, etc.

Whether an organization decides to stay with a mainframe environment and centralize on a single RDBMS or to rehost and modernize to an LUW platform, DB2 is the only true RDBMS that is useable across all platforms.  Once the decision is made to centralize on DB2, the client staff will need to consider the best methodology to accomplish the set of tasks.  While there is a plethora of vendors that provide this capability, it is important to look at:

  • Their capabilities
  • Their past experiences
  • The ability to customize their solution
  • Their reference base
  • The size and scope of their services staff
  • The cost
  • The ROI the vendor offers
  • and most importantly, the ease with which the client can partner with the vendor

The last point, above, is often overlooked, but in the end, one of the most important requirements.  A vendor that can accommodate a client’s requirements for not only the ultimate modernization of their database applications, but also provide customized solutions to address existing business rules, a minimum of effect on end users, a complete end-to-end conversion/migration/modernization while at the same time always communicating with the client as to project status, milestones, issues, resolutions, changing requirements, etc. is the most desirable provider.

Through the use of a qualified and capable vendor, every I.T. shop can centralize on the only multi-platform RDBMS available; DB2.  And, with the addition of all the ISV software mentioned above that supports the DB2 environment, a fully production ready and useable DB2 RDBMS environment will provide every I.T. shop with the ability to address all their user requirements for decades to come.

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Bio:  Mitch McCluhan ( has been in the mainframe ISV environment for 40 years, selling, supporting, training and marketing solutions for replacing non-IBM vendor tools with those either supplied by IBM (DB2, RACF, TWS, …..) or with tools from IBM Business Partners.  Mitch has sold modernization projects to government, manufacturing, financial and educational I.T. Departments for replacement of CA-Datacom, CA-IDMS and SAG Adabas with DB2 along with replacement of CA-ESP and CA-7 with TWS.  He has been in the DBMS modernization space for 14 of the past 40 years, providing successful conversion/migration solutions around the globe.



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