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Your Data Needs to Talk

ProData Computer Services RDB Connect offers remote access to non-i databases.


Functionality/Usefulness

This product gives you full SQL access into a remote, non-i database. Let’s say there’s something on the Oracle side of the house that you could really use in some report or screen on the i side. No problem. Go get it.

Perhaps you need to update multiple databases in real time from some order-entry functions or other file-maintenance functions. You can now easily run it all and control it all from RPG (and COBOL) directly from your i platform.

Now, lest you think that I may have contradicted myself in the Ease of Use section when talking about your level of SQL knowledge impacting your learning curve and therefore RDB Connect’s usefulness, let me explain. Most of us who’ve programmed for any length of time are used to figuring out what’s going on by reading the source code that we’re presented. And most of us can easily pick up techniques from code samples. So unless you’re dealing with something like APL, most contemporary languages are fairly readable. This concept applies to the code samples you get from ProData. The ease of readability and usability really aid in the assimilation of this product into your programming efforts.

RDBConnect supports MySQL, DB2*, Oracle, Postgre and Microsoft* SQL Server—so let your mind run wild on how you can handle many tasks in your office from one point and perhaps reduce those spurious communications and maintenance programs. It was really cool to see how I could use one program to do full table inquiry and maintenance functions, across platforms and in multiple database products. This tool provides the capability to easily centralize all or most of your file maintenance routines for the enterprise, in one spot. If you think you need to hit another systems database, chances are you can do it.

Now, keep in mind, you’ll need connectivity to these systems to use these functions. If the SQL Server is down, so is your access, in which case you’ll need to design some kind of backup—but then, you’d have to do that anyway.

Support

Tech support was great to work with and knew their stuff.

What I'd Like to See in the Next Release

My only suggestion was about adding other database types, such as Microsoft Access, to the base product. The company says that’s on its way, so if you don’t see it, ask ProData. Chances are it’s either been released by the time you read this or it’s coming soon.

Summary

I was really impressed with this one. The idea of single-point file maintenance over many systems and files is just impressive. The coding examples embedded in the distribution make it easier to hit the ground running. If you can hit where you want to be via a comm link and SQL, you’ve got it. And the idea of being able to insert records into Oracle from RPG—wow!

This product is just coolness. It’s a niche product to be sure, but one that you’ll use on a regular basis once you start.

The Rima Report

Category Points Weighting Overall Score
Certifiability 4.00 .100 0.400
Installation 3.80 .150 0.570
Ease of Use 3.80 .150 0.570
Documentation 3.80 .150 0.570
Functionality 3.80 .150 0.570
Usefulness 4.00 .150 0.400
Support 3.90 .150 0.585
 
Total 27.10   3.865
KICK THE TIRES: If you’re in a heterogeneous environment and need to hit the other databases in real time, this is sure to make your short list.

(Points given are on a scale of 0 to 4, with 4 being the highest. Each category is assigned its own weighting from the total of 100 percent.)

Don Rima has more than 20 years of experience with IBM midrange systems. Don can be reached at dr2@dlr2.net.


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