Universal Database Integration: The Sky's the Limit

IBM i (OS/400, i5/OS)
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The DB2 product family is truly universal. It spans AS/400 systems, RISC System/6000 hardware, IBM mainframes, non-IBM machines from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, and operating systems such as Windows NT and 95/98, OS/2, AIX, HPUX, SCO UnixWare, and Sun Solaris. And now, IBM is extending that universality even further as the AS/400 database joins the DB2 Universal Database family.

With OS/400 V4R4, DB2 for AS/400 has been rebranded DB2 Universal Database for AS/400 (DB2 UDB for AS/400). This new name reflects some added benefits that AS/400 users will realize with DB2 UDB. First, this new version of OS/400 marks a major advancement in AS/400 database technology by extending the AS/400’s relational databases to store, administrate, and control all types of information in the DB2 UDB architecture. This new version of the database is also downward-compatible, as are all previous releases of DB2 on the AS/400. No database tables or applications changes are necessary for them to run on the DB2 UDB for AS/400. With newly supported data types—such as Binary Large Objects (BLOBs), Character Larger Objects (CLOBs), and Double-byte Character Large Objects (DBCLOBs)—users can define a DB2 UDB for AS/400 database table to store such large, complex objects as Web interactive movie files (such as MPEG), digitized employee photographs (in .jpeg, .gif, or .tif formats), or audio track files (such as .wav). By writing a program that supports embedded SQL, you can even “import” an audio file or movie file into your native applications.

To serve your traditional and client/server applications with better interaction between the database and the file systems, DB2 UDB employs “datalink” technology. This technology is very new. In fact, you could say that it is an invention of the database vendors. While operating system vendors want everyone to start using COM/DCOM and Win32 API as the starting point to access file data and application data, database vendors want everyone to start from the database itself (even for local file system data), so datalink was created. Thus, you can start from the database and pass through datalink to get to whatever file system is under the cover. The datalink function provides the following:
• It allows DB2 UDB for AS/400 to manage data stored in external file systems as if it were stored in the database itself.
• It uses a URL-based format to link the external data into the database table.

• It allows nontraditional data, such as spreadsheets and word processor documents, to remain in their local network file system while, at the same time, allowing them to be linked to a DB2 UDB for AS/400 database table.
• It allows the database to access data from the local file system and return requested information to an AS/400 user whenever that user requests data from the datalink through the database.

In short, datalink brings the best of both worlds (DB2 UDB for AS/400 database and network file systems) to your applications, and as time goes by, it will be interesting to see what kind of killer apps will be built from this technology.

A Bright New Set of Tools

Not only does DB2 UDB extend the AS/400’s relational database capabilities, but it also allows AS/400 users to now enjoy the same strong array of tools available for other DB2 UDB family products. These tools include, as described in the next paragraphs, Client Access Operations Navigator (OpsNav) and the Command Center/Client Configuration Assistant.

Within the latest V4R4 version of Client Access, the SQL procedure creator and SQL performance monitor provide functions that previous releases did not. The SQL procedure creator provides templates for building various SQL procedural statements, greatly simplifying the creation of SQL stored procedures for application developers. With the new V4R4 performance monitor Operations Navigator controls the start and stop of the monitor, as well as the production of performance analysis reports. These reports use memory-based analysis to identify long-running SQL statements and requests that cause temporary system indexes to be created.

Besides Client Access, the DB2 UDB family of products provides additional tools for the AS/400. If, for example, you have DB2 UDB installed on your Windows or OS/2 workstation, DB2 tools such as Command Center and Client Configuration Assistant become accessible. Client Configuration Assistant (CCA) is a standard DB2 UDB tool used on other IBM DB2 UDB systems, such as Windows NT, Windows 95, OS/390, and AIX. If you develop embedded SQL applications in Windows to access data in any of the remote DB2 UDB servers, you could use Client Configuration Assistant to configure OS/2, Windows 95, and Windows NT workstations (see Figure 1). Those configuration steps by CCA are necessary to configure the workstations to access the AS/400 database. Both DB2 utilities use SQL packages, which can be bound using CCA. There is no need for database administrators to perform any manual steps.

Another common DB2 UDB tool, the DB2 Command Center (Figure 2), can be used to enter DB2 commands and SQL statements to your AS/400 in an interactive window and display the execution results in a results window. You can scroll through the results and save the output to a file. Because both Command Center and CCA are tools from the DB2 UDB family, they work with all DB2 database servers in the family (including DB2 UDB for AS/400), so there is no need to switch between one tool and another.

A Replication Primer

In today’s business computing environment, many database applications grow from a single location into multiple regional sites or even international global organizations. The dispersed data stored at remote sites necessitates movement of data into a central location for data integration to support such business intelligence needs as decision support systems or data warehouses. With the AS/400 database joining the DB2 UDB family, not only can users enjoy a homogeneous set of tools for management and administration, but they can also experience ease of data integration using DB2 replication technology.

At the highest level, replication can be defined as movement of data from a database source system to a target database. Companies use data replication for a wide variety of applications. It could be used to load and refresh data warehouses, consolidate LAN-based

data to a centralized mainframe, content delivery for e-business applications on the Web, and more. One of the most important implications of replication is redefining the application development model. In a nondata integrated environment with data distributed across multiple systems, the application has to contain all the logic to connect the different databases among different platforms for processing. With replication, a copy of the data is kept locally, allowing the application to easily access the data without the added complexity of remote connectivity.

There are two types of data replication: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous replication usually employs a two-phase commit protocol from a distributed database management systems (DBMS) architecture, in which the source and target systems constantly communicate with each other to guarantee that all data is synchronized. For example, two AS/400 can be paired together with OptiConnect, and software packages on the AS/400 synchronize data at all times. However, a communication error, system failure, or database update error can cause a transaction to be rolled back. A rollback then causes a full and complete instance of data refresh between the source and target systems. If your database contains millions of rows under replication, a full refresh might take days to complete—downtime that is certainly not acceptable in a real-time business environment. Besides, when multiple systems, such as one source system with 10 target systems, are involved in replication, two-phase commit protocol becomes impractical because multiple systems are competing with each other for table locks in order to complete the two-phase commit.

Thus, the most advanced data replication solution, such as the one used by the DB2 UDB family, employs an asynchronous architecture that allows data access at the source system while replication is in progress on the target system. I will take a brief look at the DB2 replication architecture to see how replication can be used to turn data integration into reality.

Two separate components, Capture and Apply, form the basic architecture for DB2 UDB replication (Figure 3). Because DB2 UDB uses the same replication architecture for multiple platforms, the same replication concepts apply to all platforms. Thus, there are Capture and Apply for AS/400, NT, AIX, and MVS, and they all work together to form a single UDB replication architecture. As seen in Figure 3, the Capture component is a journal-reading program that will “capture” the changes in the tables being replicated and deposit those changes into internal staging tables (the Change Data and Unit of Work tables in the figure). The Apply component will then pick up the changes from the internal staging tables and replicate the changes into the target system. With multiple platforms following the same architecture, the Capture and Apply components from different platforms within the DB2 UDB family work seamlessly to provide data integration services for business enterprises.


If you are building a data integration solution, such as a data warehouse or a data mart, you will need to transform your data from the operational systems before inputting it into the data warehouse. For example, you may want to keep only the information on customers whose ages are between 35 and 55. Or you may want to group and update a set of operational systems in different locations at the same time and perform specific SQL statements before and after the data replication for your applications. All of these advanced functions are supported by the DB2 UDB replication architecture and can be configured easily using a single user interface spanning all the supported platforms. This common replication administration tool is called DataJoiner Replication Administration (DJRA). DJRA simplifies administration tasks by providing an easy-to-use interface that will configure internal control tables for DB2 replication across multiple platforms (see Figure

DB2 UDB for AS/400 joins the DB2 UDB family as one of the most reliable databases in the world. New functions such as datalinks, user-defined data types, and large-object support are some of the most advanced features provided by database vendors and provide countless possibilities for today’s e-business programming. The strong array of products from the DB2 UDB family now joins forces with the AS/400 to deliver data integration power to your company—and to your customers.

Related Materials

• IBM AS/400 home page:
• IBM DB2 DataPropagator home page:
• IBM Software Database and Data Management home page:

Figure 1: Use CCA to configure workstations.

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Figure 2: Command Center displays command execution results in a results window.

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Operational System Target

• Base Tables
• Column Selection
• After Image or Before & After Image

Figure 3: The Capture and Apply components form the basic architecture for DB2 UDB replication.



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Figure 4: This easy-to-use interfadce configures internal control tables for DB2 replication across multiple platforms.

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    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.


  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends



  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.


  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"


  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally


  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400


    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days


  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have 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. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.


  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn 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

    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.