Austin, Texas-based Evolutionary Technologies Inc, having wooed database vendors Oracle Corp and Sybase Inc with its Extract data conversion program, has revamped the product with a graphical user interface and object orientation, and plans to launch version 3.0 in September. The move to object technology, said the company, makes the product, which automates the retrieval, […]
Austin, Texas-based Evolutionary Technologies Inc, having wooed database vendors Oracle Corp and Sybase Inc with its Extract data conversion program, has revamped the product with a graphical user interface and object orientation, and plans to launch version 3.0 in September. The move to object technology, said the company, makes the product, which automates the retrieval, transfer and transformation of data from any database or file format to any other, regardless of hardware or software, more flexible. Version 3.0 comes hot on the heels of release 2.4.1, which was launched only in March of this year, and is designed to fuel what the company describes as a phase of aggressive expansion. It has recently opened offices in Bracknell, Berkshire and Paris, and is planning further European offices. There are 72 customers in the US and five in the UK for Extract, and a typical sale is around $250,000. The company, which was formed five years ago as a spin-off from the Microelectronics & Computer Technology Corp pre-competitive research co-operative, the first US industry-backed not-for-profit computer research effort, has been funded through individual investors and venture capitalists to the tune of $8m. Established by Dr Katherine Hammer, now president and chief executive, who worked at the consortium on Extract, and Robin Curle, a vice-president, the company is profitable and, so far, the only spin-off from the consortium to turn research into a product. It has spent $3m on Extract. The worldwide deals with Oracle and Sybase give the database companies the right to use Extract when installing their products and applications. Sybase will use it specifically for data warehousing. Extract is intended for companies that have vast quantities of information on mainframes that they want to move to client-server environments: the program automates this. It automatically generates conversion programs in any language and produces scripts to move the data and execute the conversion programs. In this way, the product functions as a bi-directional data bridge between the legacy system and server side. The company said this type of capability gets rid of the need for programmers to write individual applications to shift data off mainframes and has estimated that it saves up to 95% of the time and cost that is incurred in manual conversions. Extract can also hold meta data within in its own database, which comes from Object Design Inc. The product consists of the Master Set, Data Conversion and Executive tools, as well as Data Sys tem Libraries specific to different environments, all of which reside on a Unix box. The Master Set defines both the source and the target for the data that’s being converted; it is basically a series of editors that create programming fragments.
The programmer, who is ultimately responsible for the format and content of the converted data, adds functions for a particular conversion, such as sorting, merging, which are all re-usable, and once this is done, the data is ready for conversion using the Data Conversion tool. This maps the data onto the new host by applying the logic that the Master Set has provided. The Data Conversion tool generates code suitable for the new hardware and software and automatically populates the new database. This is a point and click exercise, said the company, but it emphasised that the actual conversion goes point to point – mainframe to AS/400, for example. The Executive module automates the process of populating the new database: it basically calls to the new network environment, and distributes the new code. The Data System Libraries have pre-defined functions for a selection of languages and environments that make the use of the Master Set a little easier; there are versions for Cobol, DB2, IMS, C-file systems, AS/400 and Oracle, Informix, Sybase and Ingres databases. A library for SAP AG’s R/2 and R/3 systems went into beta testing this month, and the company is working with Sybase to improve the library for that database. At the moment th
e product is available under HP-UX, Solaris and AIX, and there are plans for a stripped-down Windows NT version that will make it easier for non-technical people to use, said the company.