HP sticks in Fortune 500's Top 10
3000s still busy enough to make messes

SuprtoolSQL slips into Windows to migrate

A pair of developers are taking the first steps to bring Robelle's Suprtool database language to Windows servers. Transformix's Charles Finley and Suprtool guru Neil Armstrong are introducing SuprtoolSQL into 3000 shops which are migrating. The software will be sold as a combination of code and migration/development service, a tandem assembled when an Ecometry e-commerce site needed to take Suprtool along on its migration journey.

Suprtool is often embedded at an essential level in HP 3000 shops which use the Extraction, Transform and Load (ETL) language. HP's Alvina Nishimoto said at an HP user group meeting in 2007 that Suprtool plays a significant role in prompting 3000 sites to move to HP-UX. Until SuprtoolSQL started to emerge this month, keeping the infrastructure of Suprtool working meant moving to HP's Unix.

HP-UX, Nishimoto said in March of 2007, was the target platform most favored by migration sites. She chalked up the choice to one 3000 essential tool: Suprtool, unavailable on Windows until now and in wide use in the 3000 community.

Armstrong has ported the product to both IBM's and Sun's versions of Unix since that time. Those brands of Unix along with HP's share a common denominator: the Big Endian chip set. But the software hadn't made the leap to Small Endian chip sets which run Windows servers and some distros of Linux.

When developers at Transformix leveraged the capabilities of Oracle and a deep knowledge of Suprtool, however, the ETL language started to take steps toward a life on Windows systems. Ecometry sites have been migrating in large measure to Windows rather than HP-UX, and Suprtool is a crucial part of the surround code for these HP 3000 customers. The solution works only with Oracle today, according to Transformix. But it can be extended to work with any relational database, according to company officials.

The companies are positioning SuprtoolSQL as a Suprtool replacement for some non-MPE platforms. It works with SunGard Bi-Tech Transport, the migration software used by the lab-for-hire developers at Transformix, that company's Charles Finley reports. When Transformix employed the power of Oracle and its own tools to duplicate some of the capabilities of Suprtool, Finley said he next approached Robelle for a license and sales agreement.

Suprtool only runs on Big Endian machines, "and this presents an obstacle for the many Suprtool users who want to migrate to small endian platforms such as Linux on x86 or Microsoft Windows," a data sheet at last week's Ecometry user conference states.

SuprtoolSQL is a solution that resolves this migration obstacle. NOTE: SuprtoolSQL is not available as a standalone product, since it requires and is dependent on tools and services available from Transformix.

It's still early in the process of bringing this ETL tool into the grasp of Suprtool users who need to adopt Windows or Linux. Both Transformix and Robelle said they've got a pilot customer who's employing the software and services this year, once the busy season for that e-commerce company settles down.

Employing this solution requires a services and support agreement with Transformix, which has been migrating HP 3000 sites since Hewlett-Packard announced its intention to leave the market. 

Finley said SuprtoolSQL has many of the equivalent commands as Suprtool for MPE and addred that the list of commands continues to grow. Suprtool's scripts are used within many MPE job streams on HP 3000s. They have been an essential and unique part of the 3000 experience that's been costly and difficult to duplicate in some projects.

In order to provide a comprehensive replacement for Suprtool scripts, what's needed are replacements for MPE-specific features including JCL statements and intrinsics, a replacement for the TurboIMAGE database, KSAM file types, MPE flat files and message files. The Robelle-Transformix solution requires two components: Transport, installed for the target platform, and SuprtoolSQL.

Transformix is the distributor for SunGard Bi-tech Transport. Transport provides the missing functionality to enable SuprtoolSQL to replace the Suprtool suite of products, using Java to make it platform-independent. The companies say that most of the Suprtool code or intrinsics found in MPE/iX application environments can remain untouched and continue to rely on MPE concepts and access MPE files on the target platform.

The solution also generates SQL statements to access the relational databases. A planned feature will give it the ability to translate the Suprtool script into a SuprtoolSQL script which will contain the generated SQL. This will permit users to edit the SQL and access the data with greater power and flexibility than currently allowed by Suprtool scripts.