12
Wed, Jun
4 New Articles

Real-Time Data Sharing: What Can It Do for Your Business?

Collaboration & Messaging
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Real-time, heterogeneous data sharing puts information where it is needed, when it is needed, and in the formats that best serve diverse needs across the enterprise.

 

Editor's note: This article is an extraction from the Vision Solutions white paper "Real-Time Database Sharing: What Can It Do for Your Business," available free from the MC Press White Paper Center.

 

Managers striving to use smarter data to create smarter businesses need clear pictures of the state of their enterprise, without having to rely on isolated snapshots from a variety of incompatible data sources. Yet, in many organizations, data silos segregated by department and/or business function are built on incongruent platforms. In these environments, fashioning an integrated enterprise view presents major data formatting, transformation, and consistency challenges.

 

To overcome these obstacles, IT needs a way to seamlessly replicate data, in real-time, from, for example, DB2 to Oracle, Informix, or SQL Server and back again. And, to make the solution practical, it must be done without the need for custom programming or large-scale integration efforts and without impacting the operation of existing applications.

 

The data silos that give rise to this challenge occur for a variety of reasons. Corporate mergers and acquisitions bring together disparate systems. In some cases, the benefits of selecting separate best-of-breed applications outweigh the costs of supporting a variety of platforms. New or upgraded applications run on new technologies, but legacy applications continue to run on old platforms. Or departmental IT autonomy may result in a lack of enterprise platform standards.

 

If all applications and data could remain isolated, any platform differences among them wouldn't create data integration problems, but that's not the case. Applications must often share data. What's more, business intelligence initiatives may introduce new technologies into the mix, creating the need for yet more data sharing. For example, production applications may employ DB2 for i databases, while users want to employ familiar spreadsheet and business intelligence tools that require, say, SQL Server databases.

 

The requirement may be even more complex. For example, an organization may need to stream data in real-time not only from DB2, but also from Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and SQL Server databases running on a variety of IBM i, AIX, Windows, Solaris, Linux, and HP-UX platforms all into, for example, a Teradata data warehouse.

 

These challenges are not new, but traditional solutions often don't suffice anymore. In the past, organizations integrated data by periodically copying it to a centralized data store. However, those processes took months to plan and implement. And the solutions didn't scale well, nor were they flexible enough to accommodate evolving requirements.

 

As an alternative, some companies use an application integration product or message-oriented middleware to provide a general framework to send and receive data between otherwise isolated applications. However, to enable this, applications must be significantly reworked and additional expertise is needed to support the messaging layer, which can require a significant investment.

 

Another approach is to use data replication to automatically transmit data updates from one database to another. This is the kernel of a preferred solution, but many replication products support only identical source and target databases. Furthermore, most do not offer the data extraction or transformation features that are usually critical requirements for optimizing data warehouses.

 

Most RDBMS vendors provide replication services for their own databases, but replication among heterogeneous databases may require an add-on gateway product. These products are often difficult to manage, and they may not support replication between different releases of the same database, which greatly limits their scope and flexibility.

 

A far better solution is a product that, out of the box, supports data replication among heterogeneous hardware, operating systems, and databases. These tools can provide access across the enterprise to accurate, real-time data, while eliminating the need to undertake expensive, complex data-integration projects.

Make Versus Buy: The Quest for Return on Investment

Some IT departments consider building replication capabilities in-house, but they usually abandon the project after assessing the requirements of a heterogeneous replication solution that will be flexible enough to meet not just today's needs, but also those that will evolve over time.

 

When forecasting the ROI on an in-house replication development project, IT managers typically apply a fully burdened labor rate of US $125–150K per year when calculating the following costs:

 

  • Development Costs: Data capture mechanisms must be developed for every database that will be a data source. Data apply mechanisms must be developed for every target database. In addition, if the solution must support two-way replication, mechanisms to handle data collisions are also necessary. A data collision occurs when the same data is updated simultaneously in different locations. In addition, facilities will have to be coded to handle data format differences between the participating databases. And it may be necessary to transform data to accommodate business intelligence requirements when using replication to feed data warehouses.
  • Test System Costs:  RDBMS licenses, LPAR resources, storage, and additional RDBMS add-on products such as gateways may be needed to create a test environment for an internally developed solution.
  • Maintenance Costs: Maintaining an internally developed data-sharing solution requires ongoing coding changes to accommodate new or altered data schemas. And, unless comprehensive monitoring and management tools are developed along with the replication facilities, operators may spend considerably more time managing the solution than would be the case with a packaged solution. Furthermore, turnover in the IT department results in the loss of people familiar with your data and application structures, which can dramatically increase the costs of all of these activities.
  • Opportunity Costs: Time that IT staff spends developing, testing, and maintaining a replication solution is time that they don't have available to work on other critical projects.

Ensuring ROI

The data-sharing solution you deploy should provide central, standardized, easy-to-manage, click-and-go facilities for sharing data between disparate databases and application silos without requiring programming changes or major integration projects and without impacting the performance of production systems. What's more, it should fully leverage the flexibility of open standards technology. This will allow the solution to adapt quickly to IT and business changes. The result will be a cost-effective solution that quickly generates an ongoing ROI.

 

For more information, please download the Vision Solutions white paper "Real-Time Database Sharing: What Can It Do for Your Business" from the MC Press White Paper Center.

 

Andy Chase

An expert on data sharing, Andy Chase is the Territory Sales Manager for Vision Solutions. He has more than a decade's experience in direct and partner channels, selling managed services, software solutions, and hardware infrastructure. Primarily focused on disaster recovery and high availability, Mr. Chase's experience includes business continuity for ERP systems, including replication software, servers, storage, and virtualization. He is known as an HA/DR subject matter expert and is a frequent guest speaker at IBM and ISV user group meetings. His areas of specialization include i5/OS, AIX, and Windows environments. 

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: