Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mainframe Data Sources

A individual from Omaha, Nebraska, came to my BI blog through the Ask.com search engine to learn if WebFOCUS could read mainframe tape files.

From a technical standpoint, yes, but the answer does depend on which components you have licensed and installed.

If WebFOCUS runs on your MVS mainframe, you should have no problem reading tape files. But, if WebFOCUS runs on a non-MVS platform (e.g., Windows, UNIX, AS400, or a zLinux partition on the mainframe), then you will need a mainframe component to get to the tapes.

Basically, you must have a WebFOCUS server and data adapter running on the mainframe to read tape files (or almost any other mainframe data structure for that matter -- an exception would be DB2, but that is a different topic).

If your WebFOCUS Reporting Server is not on the mainframe, it will have to ask a mainframe server for its data. Information Builders offers a lower price for this secondary mainframe component because you do not use all of the full features of WebFOCUS -- you might think of this as a limited use of a Reporting Server. Information Builders calls this a Remote Data Server or Adapter.

A potentially confusing thing is that Information Builders may say they are selling you an "adapter" for the mainframe. An adapter all by itself doesn't do anything; it has to be called by a "server." For the price you pay for the adapter, you are really getting the server as well.

Of course, for WebFOCUS to read these mainframe files, you must allocate them and have metadata descriptions. You may also want to consider only accessing tapes in scheduled batch or deferred execution requests rather than allowing users with a web browser to read tapes in a real-time mode.

I hope this answered the question. If not, be sure to contact me directly via e-mail.

1 comment:

archive-raider said...

Sorry, I hope this isn't considered spam. But I do believe we might be of help. We provide both services and software/hardware for reading mainframe files in a PC framework. Please see www.mullermedia.com. We are also members of the Mainframe Migration Alliance. (http://mainframemigration.org/)

About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.