One of the weaknesses of software such as IBM’s DB2 relational database manager is that, in practice, when changes are made by systems programmers it is very difficult for others at a later date to pinpoint exactly what modifications were carried out and where, as there is no easy way of knowing how these changes […]
One of the weaknesses of software such as IBM’s DB2 relational database manager is that, in practice, when changes are made by systems programmers it is very difficult for others at a later date to pinpoint exactly what modifications were carried out and where, as there is no easy way of knowing how these changes relate to the source code. That’s the message from Business Software Technology Inc, and the Westboro, Massachusetts company believes that it has come up with a solution, called Endevor DB2. The product was introduced to the UK market this week by Morino Associates (UK) Ltd of Slough, whose Vienna, Virginia parent invested $1.5m in Business Software for a minority stake last November (CI No 814). In order to execute DB2 programs properly, the development processes of the software – precompile, compile, link-edit and bind – must be synchronised and co-ordinated; Endevor DB2 is designed to do this automatically. The package tracks all change events in the development cycle, using an automatic system that can associate footprints to carry date/time information and system identifiers with components of the program. The footprint is put into the executible code, which looks at the source code and what happened to it, eliminating time-consuming guesswork. It’s a bit like a logged profile: the footprint is logged into the code, providing a snapshot of the current state of the software, similar to a vital signs chart in a hospital. When a systems programmer is called in after a machine goes down, and alters the code, the footprint is compromised and the user is alerted the next time the machine is turned on. It’s conceptually straightforward but, says Business Software, technically complicated. Basically it develops an envelope around the data dictionary, looking at what’s going in and out. If the computer room of a large company such as American Express or Goldman Sachs is flooded, Business Software claims that Endevor-DB2 can ensure that applications are regenerated at the same level as before, and users are not faced with embarrassing problems such as whether commiss.cw 8 ions were paid or not, or which portfolios were corrupted, and how. Speedy solutions are essential, because otherwise, by the time the integrity of the database has been reestablished, customers may have gone elsewhere. Business Software is currently exploring the technical feasibility of applying its approach to DEC systems, and discussions are in train with Oracle Corp. For those who already have the original Endevor-C1 product, the additional DB2 software costs UKP15,000; a new buyer would pay a total of UKP60,000 for the two components (UKP45,000 for Endevor-C1, UKP15,000 for Endevor-DB2).