Yesterday we took note of the new version of Data Express, a testing suite from COBOL supplier Micro Focus. The name of the product once described a software solution from HP 3000 Platinum Migration partner MB Foster, which also offers homesteading utilities for companies still relying on 3000s.
At MB Foster, Data Express became UDALink and an allied family of products years ago. MB Foster's Birket Foster clarifies the product name:
MB Foster makes Data Express available... well, it's not the original DataExpress that MB Foster bought from IMACS in 1989 — the premiere data access and delivery solution for the HP 3000. That morphed to become UDALink (Universal Data Access Link) which now runs on the HP 3000, as well as Unix (HP-UX for Itanium included), Solaris and Linux. UDALink talks to various databases including Eloquence, Oracle, and DB2.
The UDA family of solutions includes cross-platform synchronization functions such as IMAGE and KSAM to Oracle or SQL Server. UDACentral does drag and drop data transfer to help migration data between OS platforms and different databases — IMAGE, Oracle, Eloquence, DB2 and SQL Server, among others).
The MB Foster products operate on all platforms including the HP 3000. The 3000 is a platform which Micro Focus does not support — which makes data access with the software written by Foster's company a starter step for a migration, a role the newer Data Express cannot play.
For example, UDA-Enterprise, a member of the UDA product stable, connects an enterprise's data from a range of server environments. Used at customers like Georgia Pacific, the software lets a company's applications use information across an enterprise.
MBF-Enterprise accesses,updates and joins enterprise information from applications and data sources as if they were relational databases. Data is normalized and converted from hierarchical structures into tables without redundant data. Clients can use JDBC, ODBC, ADO/OLE DB, or XML to submit SQL requests.
HP 3000 customers who've built their own apps use COBOL nearly all the time. That's why Micro Focus options for new compilers — as well as Fujitsu's NetCOBOL — will be important to migrating 3000 sites, or those which are connecting their 3000 apps to other enterprise servers while they homestead. COBOL is not a tool to be left behind, not without serious effort, anyway.
The MB Foster data sheet which describes MBF-Enterprise also notes the product translates application instructions, "such as those typical of legacy COBOL, to and from XML." Data connection products are as essential as gravity for IT enterprises. When a company can deploy one which understands MPE/iX applications, that kind of solution stays a step ahead in migrations by being able to understand an IT's foundation apps.