Natural Conversion & Adabas Migration: An Inside Look

From state and local governments to worldwide corporations, SoftwareAG license fees and disappearing resources are driving organizations away from Natural and Adabas. There are generally three options for companies seeking to modernize these deployments: Natural conversion, re-architecture and re-engineering, and Natural replatforming (or rehosting). Each of these options guarantee 100% functional equivalence between the source and target states, as well as liberation from expensive SoftwareAG license fees. Each can include Oracle Database, SQL Server, or DB2 as the data tier. Each method requires no post modernization manual fixes and code is ready for deployment and maintenance.

Today, Modern Systems is the only vendor that offers all three of these options under one roof, and having been used for complex global modernization projects with Police Mutual, Singapore Land Authority, US Department of Energy, and several others, ours solution are widely considered the best practice.

Evaluation, Re-architecture, and Re-engineering

For this option, it’s essential to start with a thorough understanding of the the Natural Adabas environment, including business logic, technical inventory, technical use cases, and even dead or unused code. This helps identify the priorities and risk factors of the legacy system. From here, we can identify the proper path for application modernization and apply the appropriate re-architecture principles. Re-engineering is performed using eavRPM® to develop the new application, allowing business analysts to be involved in the decision of what business rules to retain, and what visual and navigational enhancements should be incorporated. Natural conversion is performed using DB-Shuttle® and provides a 100% automated move to the new platform with a functionally equivalent deliverable and no changes to the output. Tool-assisted re-engineering allows you to have more control over the move to the new infrastructure, including the ability to re-engineer sub-systems one at a time.

Natural Replatforming (Rehosting)

This is the lowest-risk and fastest way to escape expensive Adabas license fees without disrupting users, developers, or support resources. The Natural syntax from your existing applications is moved to Windows and executes in the Windows environment as a rich client. Natural source code resides as data in a SQL Server database and can be accessed, changed, debugged, and executed using a workbench designed specifically for Natural developers. The replatforming (rehosting) engine, called Application Transparency Platform® (ATP®) reads the Natural syntax as data and interprets the processing at a byte level to produce results that are identical to Natural that executes in the mainframe environment. All Adabas databases are converted to SQL Server, Oracle, or DB2, and each resulting relational database will have the same functionality and traversal capabilities as the current Adabas database. We offer two options for replatforming (rehosting) Natural applications:

Mainframe: The mainframe solution involves ADABAS Conversion to DB2 for z/OS. This relational database environment allows you to continue using your mainframe resources to host your data and databases. Natural replatforming is achieved by importing the applications into ATP® to run un-changed against the new relational database. Batch options include conversion of the batch Natural programs to COBOL running on your mainframe or re-engineering your batch reporting to utilize standardized reporting packages.

Off Mainframe: The off mainframe solution involves a one-time ADABAS Conversion to Oracle or SQL Server hosted on an appropriate system. Natural replatforming is achieved by importing the applications into ATP® to run un-changed against the new relational database. Batch options include conversion of the batch Natural programs to Cobol.net or C# or re-engineering your batch reporting to utilize standardized reporting packages.

ATP® brings with it a full development platform, enabling application documentation, debugging, dual run-mode execution, version control, and enhanced features beyond the original programming language environment. No Software AG licenses are required for processing the Natural syntax. No Software AG licenses are required for processing of the new relational databases (SQL Server, Oracle, or DB2), nor for the execution of the COBOL or C#/Java batch programs that are converted to process against the new database.

Automated Natural Conversion: Migration to Fully Maintainable Java or C#

In this option, automated technology produces new Java or C# code that offers 100% functional equivalence to the original application. This code is native and fully maintainable. There are options for embedding the Natural language, using comments to help developers find business logic within the structure of the application. The code is pure Java® or C# .NET code and is maintained by use of Microsoft Visual Studio (.NET) or through any of the Java IDEs now widely available such as Eclipse, IntelliJ, NetBeans, etc. The full functionality of the IDE can be used to refactor, replace, rename etc.

Technical Benefits of Natural/Adabas Migration

  • Supports data access to ADABAS, VSAM, IMS, DB2, SQL Server, or Oracle
  • Handles all aspects of the Natural programming language syntax including specific constructs such as REINPUT statements
  • Handles all Natural objects including programs, subprograms, DDMs, maps, and data area types
  • Supports both reporting and structured mode Natural
  • Can be combined with the migration of COBOL to a relational database
  • Multi-tier J2EE architectures with HTML/JSP client, Java core, and JDBC data access
  • Highly maintainable – can be more easily enhanced in the new environments
  • Allows customer-specific Natural conversion options such as naming convention changes
  • Support for JCL migration for a mainframe destination, or JCL to script for a Unix or Windows destination

Next Steps

Get started by contacting us for a brief discovery and workshop session. There’s no cost or risk to you- and you’ll know whether or not we’re a match for you in just a few days. Natural Adabas migration is a complex undertaking. It’s different from application to application, and business to business. Modern Systems provides flexible, incremental approaches that balance cost, risk, and time in a way that meets each customer’s unique requirements.

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