Add Structure to Unstructured Core Data
A 10 minute step-by-step white paper
by Micro Focus and HiT Software, Inc.
Industry figures quote that at least 60% of corporate
business data and logic is still stored in “ core”
systems, such as mainframes, AS/400s, and UNIX
systems. An even more impressive statistic is that all
the COBOL (running on Mainframe) daily transactions
exceed the total daily number of hits on the Internet.
These COBOL transactions represent the vast majority
of business transactions and therefore, business data.
Multiple methods of tapping into the data behind
these transactions exist. Some complicated, some not
so complicated. Methods from non-intrusive screen
scraping to direct WebSphere MQ integration, to
Web services being called directly from CICS.
The bottom line is that when it comes to exposing
data locked within core systems, the data is actually
being moved out of one system, and into another to
preserve or create structure where there once was none.
Most organizations tend to overcomplicate this
integration. Some organizations try to unload and
migrate all the information from core applications
to a more modern packaged application like SAP.
What some organizations fail to realize is that the
core application has been molded and has evolved
over the past 10 years to fit their exact needs. The
CIO expects SAP to fit into the organization overnight
which is almost always an impossibility. Additionally,
some organizations expect the performance to
remain on par with the core system. There is a reason
that these core systems have survived for so long:
they are built to perform.
Another subset of organizations decide to pump and
dump the data to work in conjunction with a new
packaged application. This involves either a massive
export/import process nightly or involves bus-based
integration like with JMS or WebSphereMQ. If the
IT organization’s pockets are deep enough and there
is enough collective will within the organization to
force a pump and dump solution, it will eventually
In reality, when it comes to using core data and
transactions for use outside the core system, the
most realistic method used by organizations is the
structured real time export of typically unstructured
data: the organization decides to keep the core
system as the primary system of record while
enabling external data users and business units with
structured data via relational database (RDBMS).
This is a win-win for the organization since external
users like analysts or accountants have access to the
data in a meaningful way and the primary users of the system continue to run business as usual.
The fastest, easiest, and most advanced
way of exporting this data in real time with structure is to use
two technologies from two industry leaders.
The first part of the overall solution is from Micro Focus
and it is called OnWeb®. Micro Focus OnWeb is a full
featured core integration server that is capable
of moving green screens to the Web, combining core
transactions into Web services, and encapsulating
and self-describing unstructured core transactions.
Micro Focus OnWeb integrates core transactions for
some of the largest companies on the Fortune 500.
The second part of the overall solution requires
specialized technology in both mapping and
databases. When it comes to providing a solution
that requires strong skills in these specialized areas,
together with a large market presence and experience,
there is none better than HiT Software, Inc and their
Allora database mapping product. Allora leverages
leading edge XML mapping and database technology
to give application developers bi-directional access
to relational databases without the need for complex
SQL or XSLT programming.
Combining these two products, Micro Focus OnWeb
and Allora, an organization can, within 10 minutes
and without writing any SQL statements, export
unstructured core screen data into any structured
RDBMS in real time.
This white paper demonstrates that capability
and outlines the process.