Be Nice. Share Data.

(originally published in IBM Systems Magazine –

fight1-300x228“Come on kids. Be nice. Share.” There was a time in my life where I was saying that multiple times throughout the day. With two girls in the house less than 15 months apart, it became a frequent chant. Now they are all grown and off to college and they actually seem quite happy to share. Obviously, I think it’s because of my good mothering! They, on the other hand, balk at that. What really happened, they tell me, is that once they started sharing whatever they were fighting over, they had more fun and were able to do more fun things together. Believe it or not, I see the same thing happening in IT organizations!

In one corner we have the IBM i programmers, in the other we stick the UNIX guys. A business problem handed down by the sales department is presented to both groups. Of course, each group says they can handle the project better than the other on ‘their’ platform if the database resided on ‘their’ system. Well, it actually resides on the UNIX box already, but the sales interface is on IBM i. What we need to do is SHARE, people! Let me tell you how…

The need for cross platform access from and to the IBM i is fast becoming an integral part of the strategy to increase productivity and implement real time processing in a distributed database environment. ProData’s RDB Connect software provides the capability of leveraging legacy development staff to accomplish this in a method that builds on existing technology and incorporates the ideas of both groups.

RDB Connect is a collection of commands and functions allowing record level access to remote data using RPG, COBOL or CL. The software will run on IBM i with an operating system version of V4R5M0 and above. It requires an IP connection to the remote server that is running the database to access. Once configured RDB Connect allows full SQL access to remote databases from an RPG program (or any language) that can accomplish data sharing across platforms.

RDB Connect’s data integration will help increase productivity. We no longer have to wait for data from remote databases to be updated. RDB Connect does this instantly, giving you access to current and accurate data from the UNIX box (or vice versa). It allows quick access to data across multiple platforms. And reports can be generated in any way, at any time.

RDB Connect can be configured to remotely access and share data from any remote database as long as it has an ODBC or JDBC driver assignedto the IBM i that RDB Connect is installed on. The software offers a procedural API for using SQL queries to access remote data. An implementation of the software will contain one or more applications, a core RDB Connect library, and one or more “database drivers”. The core library, independent of the applications and remote database, acts as an “interpreter” between the applications and the database drivers, whereas the database drivers contain the remote database-specific details.

All this means is that a programmer can write applications that use standard types and features without concern for the specifics of each remote database that the applications may encounter. Likewise, database driver implementers need only know how to attach to the core library. This makes RDB Connect modular, and lends itself well to accomplish the synchronization of data between diverse databases.

Voila! Problem solved. Data SHARED. And all is good between all groups, so as to make room for even more fun projects to come down the pipeline! All you have to do is get RDB Connect installed on your IBM i. Then be nice & share!

(Further explanation of RDB Connect is included in our documentation of the software available at our website,

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