Cut Your Migration Time from Oracle to DB2 UDB for iSeries

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The free IBM DB2 Migration Toolkit for iSeries (MTK) can significantly reduce the effort required to migrate an Oracle database solution to the iSeries and thus shorten the time to market for your applications. The MTK provides a single development environment that supports migration from Oracle 8 to DB2 UDB EE/EEE V7 and V8 as well as DB2 UDB for iSeries V5R2. The toolkit, which runs on Windows NT or Windows 2000 and is available only in English, provides all the functions needed to graphically create, build, and deploy the migrated database objects on the target platform.

The MTK Basics

The MTK manages work by using projects, which store information about the source and target database server connections and maintain a set of files used for migration purposes. Generally, the toolkit first converts the source metadata into DDL scripts, which can later be deployed in the target DB2 UDB database. The core element of the utility is the SQL translator. The translator is used to convert Oracle SQL object definitions (for example, table, trigger, or stored procedure definitions) and SQL queries to equivalent constructs in DB2. The translator is invoked automatically by the toolkit when migrating the entire Oracle database.

The translator takes as input a sequence of scripts containing Oracle SQL statements and generates corresponding DB2 output scripts. It also generates metadata information for each source object definition as well as each corresponding DB2 object definition. The metadata summarizes important properties of the database objects (such as column names and types for a table) and is used by the toolkit to generate an overview of source and target objects. Usually, the migration is an iterative process and the scripts generated by the toolkit require some level of manual fine tuning. The refine process in the toolkit helps you identify the inconsistencies in the generated scripts so that they can be easily corrected.

The data itself can also be exported and loaded into DB2. On the iSeries, the MTK utilizes the native Copy From Import File (CPYFRMIMPF) command and its many options for deploying data. The command has been recently enhanced so that BLOB/CLOB data types are also supported.

The final step is to run the scripts, thereby deploying the database to DB2. Generally, you have several choices to consider during deployment. For example, the data can be loaded in DB2 during the same deployment as the metadata. You also have the option to deploy only the DB2 metadata.

Figure 1 illustrates the MTK's architecture.

Figure 1: Overview of the MTK's architecture (click to enlarge)

MTK Test Drive

In this section, I will take you on a quick tour to demonstrate the most important features of the migration toolkit. The source database is the Oracle's sample database, and it resides on an Oracle 8 server. The sample database has been additionally enhanced with several nontrivial database objects such as sequences, triggers, stored procedures, and views.

As I mentioned, MTK manages its work by projects. When you open a new project, MTK prompts you for some initial data, such as project name, project path on the local workstation, source database, and DB2 target database. In this case, I selected DB2 UDB for iSeries V5R2 as the target. Figure 2 shows the settings for the test project.

Figure 2: Settings for a new project (click to enlarge)

Once I created the project testp, I could start the migration process. The main MTK dialog window has several tabs that are arranged so that each tab relates to a migration step. The first step is to acquire the source scripts that contain the Oracle PL/SQL statements to be migrated to DB2. This can be accomplished on the Specify Source Page tab. The source scripts can be either directly extracted from an Oracle database or imported from the existing metadata source file. In this case, I extracted the sources directly from an Oracle database. You can use either native JDBC or ODBC to establish a connection with the Oracle source. The JDBC option requires that the file is added to the CLASSPATH global variable on the local workstation. The usually can be located in the [ORACLE_HOME]jdbclib directory. The ODBC option requires that the data source name (DSN) for the source database is registered through the ODBC administration. Additionally, I strongly recommend that you run statistics on the SYS.DEPENDENCY$, SYS.OBJ$, and SYS.USER$ tables before extracting. This can be done through Oracle's admin utilities such as DBA Studio.

Once the MTK successfully connects to the Oracle database, the Extract dialog box appears. The tree of all Oracle objects available for extraction is shown in the left panel under Available objects. I selected all objects found in schema JAREK. The selected objects then moved to the Objects to extract panel, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The Extract dialog box (click to enlarge)

When invoked, the Extract utility (see Figure 1) does its magic behind the scenes. It retrieves the metadata from Oracle's catalogs and generates the appropriate SQL statements for all selected objects. The statements are written into a flat file called testp.src located on the local workstation in the project's directory (C:codeMTK_AS400projects estp). This file is used by the translator to produce the DB2 metadata.

Next, I moved to the second tab, Convert. This dialog has several options that can be used to fine-tune the conversion process. For example, the Global Type Mapping function provides a list of default type mappings. Some of these mappings can be changed to better reflect the database design or to improve performance. Unfortunately, the current beta version of the toolkit doesn't allow you to change the default VARCHAR2 to VARCHAR mapping. I recommend, for performance reasons, that you remap VARCHAR2 to CHAR on iSeries. Luckily, the Refine step, discussed later in this section, allows you to do so. (Later in this article, I'll tell you where to find more details on the optimal Oracle-to-iSeries data mapping.)

The translator is invoked by selecting the Convert button on the Convert dialog. Once the conversion process is finished, the MTK automatically switches to the Refine tab. So far, the migration is mostly a hands-off process. The Refine step is critical for the quality of the resulting DB2 code and requires a fairly high level of expertise in both source and target database systems. Usually, the refine-covert is an iterative process, where the source file is manually "tweaked" and then reconverted. This step is repeated until the conversion results are satisfactory or cannot be improved any further by modifying the source script.

I started the analysis of the conversion results by looking up the Messages tab on the Refine dialog. The messages generated by the translator are sorted by category: Input Error, Translator Information, Translator Limitation, and Translator Omission. The order of the message category reflects its relative importance. The upper levels require analysis and possible modification of the source metadata, while the lower levels are just informational and require little or no action. This is illustrated in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Working with translator messages (click to enlarge)

For example, the first message under the Input Error category informs basically that the Oracle's %ROWTYPE and %TYPE constructs are not supported by the translator as input parameters of a stored procedure or function. Note, however, that these constructs are supported in variables or cursors in the body of a procedure or function. As a workaround for this limitation, you manually rewrite the source procedure so that %ROWTYPE is converted to a list of variables matching the record fields. Here's the original version of the stored procedure that utilizes %ROWTYPE and %TYPE syntax:

CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE Get_emp_rec (Emp_number IN Emp.Empno%TYPE,
SELECT Empno, Ename, Job, Mgr, Hiredate, Sal, Comm, Deptno
INTO Emp_ret
WHERE Empno = Emp_number;

And here's the modified version:

SELECT Empno, Ename, Job, Mgr, Hiredate, Sal, Comm, Deptno
  INTO o_Empno, o_Ename, o_Job, o_Mgr, o_Hiredate, o_Sal, o_Comm, o_Deptno
WHERE Empno = Emp_number;

Similarly, the message under Translator Omission indicates that the CREATE SEQUENCE statement is not translated. Currently, the DB2 UDB for iSeries does not support the sequence objects, and the translator recognizes that fact, so I removed the CREATE SEQUENCE from the source script altogether. The sequence is used in the Oracle application to draw consecutive numbers that are then used as employee numbers (column EMPNO in the EMP table). DB2 UDB for iSeries supports the identity data type, which has a functionality that's similar to the sequence object in Oracle. Therefore, I used an identity column in place of a sequence in the DB2 version of the application. This change, however, requires the modification of the DB2 target script and could be performed only after I successfully reconverted the final version of the source script.

Then, I moved on to the Generate Data Transfer Scripts tab. Before I performed this step though, I needed to manually modify the DB2 script to accomodate the identity column. The DB2 script name is listed in the right panel under View Output File. This is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: The Generate Data Transfer Scripts dialog (click to enlarge)

As mentioned, the data type of the EMPNO column in EMP table needs to be changed to identity, so I edited the target test.db2 script. Selecting View Script File (see Figure 5) opens the file in the default text editor. Here's the altered table definition:

    ENAME CHAR(10),
    JOB CHAR(9),
    SAL DECIMAL(7,2),
    COMM DECIMAL(7,2),

Note that the ENAME and JOB column types have also been manually changed from VARCHAR to CHAR. Additionally, the HIRE_EMP stored procedure has been adjusted so that it uses the generated identity value in place of the sequence. Here's the relevant code snippet:


Since the EMPNO column is defined as identity, it is intentionally omitted on the INSERT statement. The value for this column is generated by DB2 at the insert time. Then, the identity_val_local() function returns the most recently assigned value for the identity column.

Once the DB2 script was manually tuned, I continued on the Generate Data Transfer Scripts dialog. I selected Store data scripts on iSeries (see Figure 5). This instructs the toolkit to create the data transfer scripts on the target iSeries system. Note the location of the scripts on the iSeries in the IFS file system (/QIBM/UserData/MTK/projects/testp/DataOutScripts/ ). At this step, only the Field Definition Files (FDF) are generated and stored on the target system. The FDF file defines the format of the data import file and is required by the CPYFRMIMPF command for the fixed-format data load. It contains information about the columns' begin and end, and it identifies whether the columns are nullable. You can look up the content of the FDF files on the target iSeries using the iSeries Navigator.

The final step in the migration process is to deploy, using the Deploy to DB2 tab. There are several options that can be considered during the deployment phase. For example, you can deploy only the DB2 metadata, or you can load only the data in case the metadata has been already deployed. I selected all options that combine the metadata deployment with the data transfer. See Figure 6.

Figure 6: The Deploy to DB2 dialog (click to enlarge)

The central panel of the Deploy to DB2 dialog contains the summary of the conversion process. Generally, any messages shown in the Input Error or Translator Omission categories should not be ignored. In this case, however, I provided fixes for the conversion messages that appear in this panel by modifying the DB2 scripts so that I could continue with the deployment.

Note that the database schemas (collections) referred to in the deployment scripts (there two such schemas for this example: DB2USER, and PUBLIC) must exist before the deployment step is initiated.

Several tasks are performed by the toolkit during the deployment step:

  • The data is extracted from the Oracle source database and stored on the iSeries in the project's directory.
  • The source user-defined functions (UDFs) are created on the iSeries. These functions are provided to emulate Oracle functions that do not exist on DB2. The UDFs reside in the ORA8 schema that is created at this step.
  • The DB2 script testp.db2 is executed so that the DB2 metadata gets created on the iSeries.
  • The source data is loaded into the DB2 tables.
  • The integrity of the database is checked.
  • The deployment process is verified.

The MTK generates two report files: the Log and the Verify. The Verify report's content automatically appears in a browser window immediately after the deployment step has finished, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: The Verify report (click to enlarge)

In this example, the MTK reports no deployment issues. All original Oracle objects were successfully migrated to DB2 UDB for iSeries. Additionally, the data has been extracted from the source database and loaded into DB2 tables. This concludes the migration process.


As mentioned, the MTK supports OS/400 V5R2. Additionally, I strongly recommend that you install the latest version of DB2 UDB for iSeries database FixPak (SF99502). Make sure also that the critical SI06748 and SI06675 PTFs are loaded on the target system.

Additional Information

The MTK comes with detailed help documentation. Check it out before performing any migration work. Especially, you should carefully review the Summary of Feature section. It contains the list of all Oracle features currently supported by the toolkit.

The PartnerWorld for Developers database technology team has put together a series of database porting guides. Please refer to the following paper for an in-depth discussion on the Oracle to iSeries porting issues: DB2 UDB Universal Database for iSeries Porting Guide: Oracle to IBM eServer iSeries. Also, the ITSO offers two Redbooks that can be helpful to those who want to learn more about the programming techniques for SQL procedures, triggers, and functions on DB2: Developing Cross-Platform DB2 Stored Procedures (SG24-5485) and Stored Procedures and Triggers on DB2 UDB for iSeries (SG24-6503).


Please feel free to send your questions concerning the beta version of the MTK for iSeries directly to the development team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jarek Miszczyk is the Senior Software Engineer, PartnerWorld for Developers, IBM Rochester. He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jarek Miszczyk

Jarek Miszczyk is a Lead Technical Consultant for System x Virtualization and Cloud Computing at the IBM STG Global ISV Enablement organization. He is located in Rochester, Minnesota. He can be reached by email at



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    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption



  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access




  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.


  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.



  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.