Wakefern's CIDS Manager of Infrastructure, Charles Hawalka (left) and Senior Systems Programmer Jim Murphy (right) use mainframe servers to seamlessly move data.
With these concerns in mind, Wakefern began examining alternatives to its SNA/NetView mode of communications. Between 2001 and 2003, the company evaluated many replacement solutions, discussed the situation with several vendors and tested some of the products. Most of them, however, “didn’t have the functionality we needed,” Hawalka recalls.
Except, that is, for TPS’s NFM. Once Wakefern selected TPS, the company began converting data feeds from NVDM to NFM in March 2003 and completed them within six months without having to change any of the data-processing programming on the mainframe, its many System p servers, its Windows* OS-based boxes and the 4690 platform. “NFM automatically converts the data to an ASCII or EBCDIC format,” Murphy says.
Another key component to the solution was its similarity to NVDM. Both NFM and NVDM use comparable terminology, which made it easier for Wakefern to transition to the new product. As Hawalka explains, “TPS did a good job designing NFM to replace NVDM. And at the same time, they enhanced it, giving it more functionality than NVDM.” One such additional function was the capability for the company to use data-encryption products when it uses NFM’s FTP to exchange files with business partners.