The name Data Express resonates in the HP 3000 community from years of use by its supplier, MB Foster. But that Swiss Army knife of 3000 data transfer became the UDA-Link family years ago — so migrating HP 3000 sites shouldn't be confused that Data Express now has an update. The COBOL and development environment maker Micro Focus has taken up the Data Express name for one of its products.
The Micro Focus Data Express has added a new SQL server module, enabling the suite of tools to support for Microsoft SQL Server. Micro Focus, which purchased competitor AcuCOBOL last spring to consolidate COBOL migration choices for 3000 sites, says its Data Express is used to "create a secure, robust test environment for production data from across the entire enterprise." From a press release:
Data Express also allows organizations to create representative subsets of large volumes of production data for testing purposes, ensuring a secure, compliant testing environment for application development.
“The addition of SQL Server support will allow our customers to test production data from across their entire enterprise without sacrificing privacy or regulatory compliance,” said Stuart McGill, CTO, Micro Focus.
Testing is one of the most significant parts of any migration effort, according to the community's migration partners and 3000 sites which have made their transition. While SQL Server runs second to Oracle in large enterprise database choices, smaller HP 3000 sites use the Microsoft database as part of a Windows platform strategy.
Advice from the vendor on testing fits any kind of migration strategy, whether it involves Micro Focus products or not. Most HP 3000 sites use COBOL for their in-house apps, but Fujitsu's NetCOBOL, with zero dollars of run time fees, is another alternative being used by app supplier Quintessential School Systems. But Micro Focus says
Manual testing involves cumbersome processes that can add significant and unnecessary cost, risk and time to application development. With Data Express, testing becomes an IT asset and not a liability, allowing IT organizations to increase flexibility and more closely align their goals with the needs of the business.
Data Express "allows users to load data from a variety of different databases, including SQL Server databases, into a single repository for analysis, understanding and consistent categorization of data fields."
The tool suite can set masking rules based on the various data categorizations, "ensuring that access to sensitive data complies with appropriate data privacy regulations, legislation and corporate governance standards. It automatically defines appropriate subsets of data. One benefit of using this suite, according to vendor, is the potential to reduce costs of test data storage.
As for MB Foster, the original owner of the Data Express name, the company's chairman Birket Foster tells us
The new DataExpress is from Micro Focus and is for testing. One thing that you will want to be doing when you are migrating or producing a new release of an application is to automate testing. The Micro Focus DataExpress is just a test automation platform.
As for the MB Foster offering which has become UDA-Link, we'll have a note on that familiar and expansive tool set for migrating and homesteading customers tomorrow.