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Is Your Attunity NonStop Solution for Data-sharing at End-of-Service-Life (EOSL)?

Easily Modernize and Expose Valuable Enscribe Data – Eliminate Data Silos with HPE Shadowbase

Several customers recently approached us looking for solutions to their remote data access/connection requirements. HPE Shadowbase software uses a data replication/integration architecture to meet these needs, and has experience successfully deploying these solutions at a number of customer sites.


Resolving this Challenge

In the past, companies accessed trapped data via remote clients. Unfortunately, this approach had several issues:

  • Queries impacted several key components
    • Production environment
    • Network
    • CPU resources
  • Queries timed out and failed if the network was down or the production environment was inaccessible

Today, these companies face a dilemma: “What do we do if our solution has gone End-of-Service-Life (EOSL)? Also, what about the future?” Answer: A proven and preferably original equipment manufacturer (OEM-provided) solution that leverages data replication capabilities to eliminate these past problems.

Let us examine why the following HPE Shadowbase architectures are popular and have significant advantages over alternative architectures, and which is best for you:

Off-platform Replication Case Study: Large Steel Tubing Manufacturer

Situation

A large European steel tube manufacturer ran its online shop floor operations on an HPE NonStop Server. To exploit the currency and value of this online, trapped, and siloed data, the manufacturer periodically generated reports on Linux Servers using a customized application and connectivity tool that remotely queries the online NonStop Enscribe database and returns the results (Figure 1).

remote querying

Figure 1 – Original Remote Query Architecture

Old Architecture

With this original architecture, every time a Linux query/report was run, processing on the NonStop Server was required, and as query activity increased, this workload started to significantly impact online shop floor processing. This impact was compounded due to the high volume of data transformation and cleansing required for converting the Enscribe data into a usable format for the reports. Periodically, the company needed to suspend the execution of reports due to these production impacts. In addition, the remote connectivity architecture was not very robust or scalable and was also susceptible to network failures, timeouts, and slowdowns when operating at full capacity. Since the data adapter used was nonstandard, the manufacturer could not access the data using standard ODBC and OLAP[1] tools to take advantage of new analytical techniques (such as DSS[2]). Furthermore, the company had a new requirement to share the OLAP analysis with the online NonStop applications in order to optimize shop floor control, which was completely impossible with the original solution. Therefore, a new architecture was required to address these issues and meet the new requirements.

Rearchitecting Operations

The manufacturer completely rearchitected its Linux-based querying/reporting application. Rather than remotely querying the NonStop Enscribe data each time a report runs, the data is replicated by HPE Shadowbase software in real-time from the Enscribe database to a copy of that database hosted on a Linux system. This architectural change only requires the data to be sent across the network once (when it is changed), instead of every time a query/report is run.

The raw Enscribe data is non-normalized and full of arrays, redefines, and data types that do not have a matching relational data construct (e.g., SQL data type). As part of the replication process, the non-relational Enscribe data is transformed and cleansed by HPE Shadowbase software into a relational format, and written to an Oracle RAC database. This architectural change only requires the data to be cleansed and/or normalized once when the data is changed, rather than every time a query/report is run.

off-platform

Figure 2 – The Manufacturer’s New Off-platform Replication Architecture Featuring Local Database Access

Since the data is now local to the Linux Servers and presented in standard relational format, it is possible to use standardized SQL data query and analysis tools (Figure 2). The benefit of achieving this level of integration cannot be overstated; the customer now has the full power provided by the analytical tools market to manipulate its raw information to achieve data intelligence.

In addition, HPE Shadowbase software allows the manufacturer to reverse replicate the OLAP results and share those results back with the NonStop applications to better optimize the shop floor manufacturing process. This integration dramatically improves shop floor control operations and avoids having to architect yet another interface.

Off-platform Replication Benefits

This new architecture completely resolves the issues with the old mechanism by decoupling the data access and transformation/cleansing process from the querying/reporting process, and by presenting the data locally on the Linux system in standard relational format:

On-platform Replication Case Study: Large Bank

Situation

A large bank operates one of the biggest ATM/POS networks in North America using BASE24™, running on HPE NonStop servers. BASE24 is a popular application used worldwide by banks for this purpose. If this ATM/POS service goes down, much of the region’s retail commerce would come to a halt. For example, at peak times this application services almost 2 million ATM/POS transactions per hour.

Old Architecture

The bank’s original architecture is similar to the manufacturer’s original architecture (see above). Off-platform applications running on Windows used a third-party API to access the on-platform Enscribe database, making it accessible as if it were a local, relational SQL database.

The API converted all of the hierarchical Enscribe data structures (fields, files) into SQL equivalents (columns, tables), and then provided queriable views against the underlying Enscribe database. Unfortunately, this third-party API went EOSL. The bank needed a new solution to replace this API.

on-platform

Figure 3 – The Bank’s New On-platform Replication Architecture Featuring Remote Database Access

Rearchitecting Operations

Shadowbase software is now used to transform and replicate the source Enscribe data into the desired on-platform target SQL structures (NonStop SQL/MX in this case). Remote applications then use standard ODBC or JDBC query tools, or client APIs, to remotely access the data in the SQL/MX database (e.g., via ODBC/MX).

The on-platform architecture is similar to the original architecture employed by the customer – only the remote query application client library changes – which can be very advantageous if the customer cannot easily accommodate or manage off-platform systems (e.g., Linux, Windows, Unix) and databases (e.g., Oracle, SQL Server, Db2®).

Additionally, keeping the database on the NonStop Server provides all of its inherent fault-tolerant availability benefits, including its unequaled NonStop SQL database query capabilities (e.g., for parallel processing provided by SQL/MX). Of course, when adding additional processing to the existing system, sizing and performance analysis should also be performed to ensure that the system capacity is adequate (otherwise, additional CPU or disk space may be needed).

On-platform Replication Benefits

The bank’s new architecture completely resolves the issues with the old mechanism by decoupling the data access and transformation/cleansing process from the querying/reporting process, and by locally presenting the data on a mission-critical system in standard relational format:

Summary

These case studies only scratch the surface of data replication’s potential. It can:

Data replication is not only for providing a backup for business continuity, but also for moving data in real-time as required, in order to leverage its value wherever needed. Think about your valuable, yet isolated, data and consider how you could use data replication to unlock this value for competitive advantage and to build new solutions for your business.

Implementing these Shadowbase solutions is also very straight-forward, regardless if the data is being replicated NonStop/NonStop, NonStop/some other platform, or other configurations. Shadowbase software has powerful utilities to aid in the data format/schema conversions, for data cleansing, transformation, and filtering.

For more information, please watch our presentation or visit this case study, where a customer recently replaced an Attunity NonStop solution with Shadowbase software. If you have similar needs, please contact us or your HPE account team to discuss your requirements and timeline.


Footnotes

  1. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) is the technology behind many Business Intelligence (BI) applications. OLAP is a powerful technology for data discovery, including capabilities for limitless report viewing, complex analytical calculations, and predictive “what if” scenario (budget, forecast) planning.
  2. A Decision Support System (DSS) is a computerized information system used to support decision-making in an organization or a business. A DSS lets users sift through and analyze massive reams of data and compile information that can be used to solve problems and make better decisions.
  3. For more information, please see the Gravic white papers, HPE Shadowbase Streams for Data Integration, and HPE Shadowbase Streams for Application Integration.
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