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    Massive scalability, extreme reliability – and an outdated application infrastructure: how does that make you look?

    Imagine a world where you are the technology leader running your handcrafted application on the most advanced business platform which embodies the industry’s most coveted principles: massive scalability and extreme...

    Imagine a world where you are the technology leader running your handcrafted application on the most advanced business platform which embodies the industry’s most coveted principles: massive scalability and extreme reliability.  Good choice!


    Now picture yourself 20 years later running that application to meet your business needs.   Sure your application has grown with you and your chosen platform (which has made significant advances in price/performance and open architecture) has served you well, but you look around and you see the world has changed.


    The system principles you embraced 20 years ago are still going strong and the business logic continues to meet your service level agreements but the “vanishing point” of your business viability can be summed up with one word: Access.


    Your proprietary database is preventing you from leveraging all your enterprise resources.

    This vital business information is locked in your application.  Your application’s degree of isolation from the rest of the enterprise is stifling you.  This is hurting your business and, maybe more importantly, making ‘your system’ look out of touch and not strategic.


    The keys to unlocking this information are:


    1. The ability to use industry standard tools to access and generate reports from your data
    2. The flexibility to merge with data to/from other platforms
    3. The ability to take advantage of readily available skillsets for new development using cross-platform tools


    The old (current) proprietary, block mode screen access and custom programming to access your data, just won’t do for the next 5, 10 or 15 years. Something has to change but what can you do?


    1. You could replace your application with a package but the risk is high and the function/features of the package will never meet your business needs as well as your hand crafted application does.
    2. You could replicate your data to other platforms and access the data on those platforms using modern access methods but, in a real-time environment:

      1. Replicated data isn’t really synchronized data
      2. Your access is limited to a potentially stale lookup and
      3. Updates still need to be done via the legacy interface.

    3. You could “screen scrape” the information from the block mode screens.  This can work wonders when it comes to modernizing the presentation layer – but it is not a recommended approach for transactional database access.
    4. You could Web service enable your application to gain access to the business logic.  This lets you build custom interfaces using industry standard tools and can leverage the investment already made in the business logic.
    5. Or…. You can modernize the database used by your application to be an open SQL environment.  This enables the ultimate in flexibility enabling secure access to the valuable data locked away in your legacy application and unlocking the possibilities to use all the cross-platform technologies your other enterprise platforms are using.


    Options 3 and 4 (screen scraping and web enabling) are long proven approaches to modernizing the look and feel of the NonStop applications.


    Option 5, database modernization, allows you to quickly and transparently modernize your HP NonStop application from Enscribe files to Nonstop SQL databases (without code changes) and thus enable access from a broad range of interfaces and facilities via open standards (e.g., JDBC/ODBC, CrystalReports, etc.).  Once your apps are using NonStop SQL, new functionality can be developed in SQL (instead of legacy Enscribe), using readily available skill sets and unleashing the possibilities of cross-platform development, access and reporting.


    Database modernization lets you leverage the application you’ve been investing in through these years without a risky migration and establishes a solid foundation for your growth down the road using open, industry standards…. So the mindset and fundamentals that helped you be successful for the last 20 years can be the cornerstone of your success today.


    I’m Brad Poole and I’ve been happily active in the Tandem community for over 25 years with roles ranging from Tandem development manager to comForte Solutions Architect.  My main focus for over a decade has been with HP NonStop security and application modernization. Let me know your thoughts and experiences by commenting on this blog or by sending me an e-mail via