Data B Mailservice b.v. modernizes with data migration to MySQL using COBOL-IT Precompiler for MySQL







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Datat B Mailservice b.v. has undertaken a modernization initiative, using PHP to write and maintain a web-based interface for their users. To facilitate the integration of the Web-based services with their tra- ditional server-hosted COBOL application, they elected to migrate their data from an ISAM-based file system to the MySQL open source relational database system. COBOL-IT Precompiler for MySQL (CitSQL), provided the toolset needed for the data migration.

“By rewriting our existing I/O module, we have have been able to successfully transition from an ISAM- based system to a MySQL-based system in 8 months. This change allowed us to make our old system fully integratable with the new web-based interfaces we are developing on time and on budget.”

Mr. Henk Boonstra, Directory of IT at Data B Mailservice b.v.

Data B Mailservice serves close to 400 local governments, as well as most Dutch universities, and a number of banks and insurance companies in Northern Europe. With their DataBIS application hos- ted on 15 Servers, they provide services for printing, converting, mailing, and archiving of documents.

Developed in 1998, the DataBIS application serves end-user sites hosted on Windows, and Linux platforms.

In 2010, Data B Mailservice undertook a modernization initiative to expand the online delivery of their services, increasingly integra- ting PHP-based code to deliver web-based interfaces. They found that integrating their traditional ISAM-based data source with the new web-based interfaces was problematic. The IT department recommended a data migration to MySQL, but this was not sup- ported by their COBOL vendor.

Data B Mailservices, b.v. considered a number of possible solu- tions, including using SAP, and moving to an entirely new applicai- ton. In the end, they concluded that the lowest cost, lowest risk solution was to use COBOL-IT’s Precompiler for MySQL product, which provides a precompiler, and runtime component libraries for MySQL. The team was able to use COBOL-IT’s CitSQL for MySQL with their existing COBOL compiler, greatly facilitating the data

migration task. They migrated the data to MySQL, and then rew- rote the DataBIS IO module, replacing COBOL IO statements with ESQL in the existing application. Changes have been made so that the entire change is invisible to the end-user in the legacy application.

A Modernization initiative created the urgent need for a data solution.

Data B Mailservice b.v.’s Modernization Initiative created a need to integrate new solutions with existing solutions, which in turn created an urgent need to engineer a data solution. Cost restraints favored a solution that could be engineered by existing personnel within a reasonable period of time. Risk tolerance re- quired that the data migration be done in isolation, with minimal changes to the rest of the software application, and deployment configuration. It was critical that existing deployments remain on their existing platforms, which included Windows, and Linux plat- forms.

Using coBol-it Precompiler for MysQl (citsQl)

CitSQL is a unique product, providing the only precompiler avai- lable for MySQL. The “native solution”, which passes ESQL directly through to the database engine without needing an interme- diary such as ODBC, is fast, and supported all of the required functionality. The technical team, with the collaboration of the COBOL-IT technical team, was able to reproduce the behavior of their original application, as demonstrated in a comprehensive regression test that validated locking behaviors, and sequence of records retrieved. The test teams were also pleased with the re- sults of their performance tests, which all fell within acceptable ranges.

COBOL-IT’s citsQl for MysQl provides value with power and performance

Success on this project was a function of the technical team being able to keep the focus on the data migration, while minimi- zing all other changes to the application. Being able to use CitSQL for MySQL with the existing COBOL allowed Data B Mailser- vices b.v. to smoothly manage the transfer of data from the ISAM data files into the MySQL database. CitSQL for MySQL then provi- ded all the functionality required to recreate a COBOL-like data access programming technique using embedded SQL. The com- bination of value, power and performance ensured that aggres- sive targets were met, and high savings achieved.

CitSQL is a unique product, providing the only precompiler available for MySQL


“We were very pleased with this success. Reproducing the behavior of a COBOL application using embedded SQL is an accomplishment that speaks to the quality of technicians at Data B Mailservices, b.v., and at COBOL-IT. COBOL-IT provides the only precompiler for MySQL on the market, and we agree that the value of this solution cannot be over-stated. We’re looking forward to helping Data B Mailservices, b.v. continue building on their record of success with achieving cost savings through mo- dernization initiatives.”

Stephane Croce, CEO of COBOL-IT


ChallengeSolutionCustomer Benefits
• Require that legacy COBOL-based system and new PHP-based
system share the same data.
• Need to preserve existing legacy COBOL assets, with minimum change, and disruption.
• Migrate data to MySQL
• Use the Open Source MySQL RDBMS.
• Changed COBOL I/O to embedded SQL statements in the application’s
I/O module, preserving functionality while accessing data in
the MySQL database.
• Used COBOL-IT’s CitSQL precompiler and runtime components to
migrate, running with existing COBOL, to migrate data.
• Web-based interface working seamlessly and sharing relational data
source with legacy COBOL application.
• Added value to legacy applications
• Providing a precompiler to an Open Source Relational Database
allowed significant cost savings.
• Future cost savings possible with migration of COBOL compiler to
COBOL-IT’s Open Source COBOL Compiler