Partner TechTip: Ensure the Highest Data Quality

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Data has to be accessible on all systems in an organization to be of any use....and that data must be of the highest quality. Often, to ensure this quality, programmers need to access the raw data on a system behind the applications updating that data. To do this directly, System i programmers use a file editor like DFU or a DBU database utility, or they even write custom programs. While all options have pros and cons, a good majority of systems out there have DBU installed.

DBU is one of the many database utilities available on the System i. It performs typical functions like adding records, deleting data, or modifying data. Unlike any other file editor, DBU offers both green-screen and graphical access to your DB2 data. DBU/GUI works well for those programmers working in the WDSc environment.

Typically, database utilities must be purchased, loaded, and licensed on the system. But DBU is also offered "on demand." Any IT shop can activate a fully functional DBU for just the time required on any System i (or any partition) and at any time for just $10 a day. A Web site or a customer portal is accessible for quick downloads and access to the database utility.

Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles does just that. While DBU is licensed on its primary systems, DBU-on-Demand fit the bill for its other systems. As Deric Bloom, system administrator for the government office, states, "DBU-on-Demand allows us to access data on multiple systems 'on demand' without having to purchase a license for each box. Our work requires occasional access to database files on each System i in each of the counties within the state. With DBU, we can automatically buy an access key for a day's use at only $10 a day. This greatly reduces the overhead costs of purchasing a license for each of the 93 counties in Nebraska."

Sometimes, clients are worried about security with a file editor on their system. To alleviate this concern, DBU offers top security switches accessible upon installation on any system. A secure command, DBUAUT, is supplied with DBU to allow individual profiles to have different authority levels and default values. The functions within this command also control the operating environment for DBU. User profiles may be added, updated, deleted, or displayed with specific functionality assigned.

Figure 1: You can tailor DBU for individual profiles to have just some or all of the features the database utility offers. (Click images to enlarge.)

Another issue in IT shops is data tracking. The DBU Audit plug-in to DBU handles most auditing requirements. This software allows users to track and monitor DBU changes and even view sensitive data on any System i file. This plug-in goes beyond the base DBU audit tracking by storing the data in journals rather than spooled files. This simplifies the ability to track and report on changes to database files for regulatory compliance or internal control requirements.

Figure 2: Display the audit journal to see what modifications were made to the file. The before-and-after images are shown with the changes highlighted.

DBU Audit also offers a secure interface that allows the user to start or stop the auditing function, display or extract audit data for viewing or reporting, and maintain the integrity of the audit files. Combine DBU Audit's tracking and reporting mechanisms with DBU Authority controls, with its extensive tailoring of access and functionality within DBU, and the IT department's database audit requirements can be met.

To learn more about DBU-on-Demand and DBU Audit, click here. And check out other ProData offerings in the MC Showcase Buyer's Guide.

Shelli Peck is VP of Business Development for ProData Computer Services, Inc.