I want to talk about IBM’s InfoSphere Information Server Data Integration (DI) software this week – especially as the latest version becomes available this month – because it now comes with so many mainframe-related features. But what is InfoSphere, I hear you say? It’s more than a marketing scheme to sell WebSphere and DB2 data integration products that were once sold separately.
The story really starts about five or six years ago when IBM bought CrossAccess to get its hands on CrossAccess’s connectivity products. Later, IBM bought Ascential Software for its ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) software, and then DataMirror for its CDC (Changed Data Capture) and replication software. These all fed in to the WebSphere data integration stack.
In previous blogs I’ve talked about zIIP and zAAP specialty engines and how there is now software available from a number of vendors that makes use of these devices. Well, InfoSphere’s DI features also make use of these specialty engines.
InfoSphere Information Server now comes with expanded SOA and grid support. Grid environments get new automation tools for managing and optimizing Information Server when it is deployed across large-scale server farms.
According to Michael Curry, director of product strategy and management for IBM's Information Platform and Solutions, the existing InfoSphere product is SOA-able, but some interfaces are more SOA-able than others! Curry added: “that everything that you create with Information Server can be published as a service within an SOA. That’s where we are right now. But what we’ve added in this release is stronger support for security – so we’ve added support for WSSecurity standards. We’ve also added support for Web 2.0 interfaces, so you can create mash-ups that consume data from InfoSphere Information Server.” There’s support for Web 2.0 services using REST and RSS standards, as well as support for direct service publishing from Oracle databases.
Perhaps the big news about the announcement is the enhanced and improved mainframe access. It’s now much easier for programmers to expose legacy VSAM data sources as services. This advance is built on the developments leading directly from IBM’s acquisition of CrossAccess. Other important enhancements include the addition of CDC capabilities (thank you DataMirror) and VSAM-to-VSAM replication capabilities (again, thank you DataMirror). Users now are now able to access VSAM data directly through Web services.
For IMS users (who I’m sure are all members of the Virtual IMS Connection user group at www.virtualims.com) the product now offers IMS change data capture.
Enhancements announced to IBM InfoSphere Classic Replication Server included stand-alone replication capabilities for a subset of mainframe data sources to ensure high availability of critical information and to offload query processing to a secondary environment for improved system performance.
Also announced was IBM InfoSphere Classic Data Event Publisher, which provides a file-based interface to InfoSphere Information Server in addition to the existing IBM WebSphere MQ interface for changed-data delivery. Enhancements enable lower latency capture of source data and ensure replication accuracy, IBM claims.