Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a leader in the data conversion industry, why haven’t we heard of you before?

We haven’t advertised. Most of our sales have been referrals and word-of-mouth. Another reason is that our conversion package is used by service providers whos clients have little or no direct contact with the actual technology used to effect their data migrations. We are sure you have heard of IBM. Their conversion services team uses the Gladstone methodology and software to perform conversions all over the world. Gladstone products are well known in the banking industry and are becoming more and more prominent in other areas.

We are a small company with less than 100 employees and an IT staff of 4. We must update our systems to remain compliant with government regulations but have not felt we could afford the six- or seven-figure contracts offered by the service providers. Would our programmers be able to use your software at a cost we can afford?

Absolutely. For example, for its own internal use, a company can purchase a perpetual license of the Gladstone Conversion Package for $70,000. This is considerably less than what our competitors charge for products that perform only a fraction of our functionality. We also offer contracts to service providers based upon projected usage. Incidentally, Gladstone provides on-site training for your IT staff.

Will Gladstone perform our data conversion for us?

We used to advertise ourselves as a “data conversion company” but over the years we have evolved into a software company as well. The origional Gladstone data conversion software was written for our own data conversion team to use on client sites. In answer to your question, we are now both a data conversion company and a software company. It depends on your needs. Do you need software to perform data conversions yourself? Do you need someone to perform the data conversion for you? Or do you need a hybrid of both? Gladstone offers capable consultants who can fill your staffing needs on all levels of the data conversion process, providing as much or as little help as needed.

Your literature states that your tool works only on flat files. If we need to migrate data from one database to another, do we have to use extract utilities to dump or load data to flat files?

No. You are only required to dump to flat files if you are changing platforms becomes you normally cannot move a database intact from one platform to another. The software generates a “flat file READ” because this is what is normally found. If you have the database on the same platform where you are going to do the actual conversion, you may take out the “READ” and substitute with the appropriate “CALL.” This is easy to do because all of the I/O is in one reusable module within the Gladstone software. We are doing this for a conversion in Portugal where we are converting from an ADABAS database to SAP. We just take out the “READ” that is generated and substitute a “CALL” to access the data directly from the ADABAS database. We then write out a flat file that gets loaded to the SAL database that is on a different platform. We wrote our software to use flat files so we can handle any situation, even “worst case” scenarios.

Your brochure says that the actual set of programs to be used in conversion will be built dynamically from the data mapping specifications. Can the user modify these programs to suit some specific requirements? Does the tool generate the JCL with the accompanying DCB parameters required for target and source files?

Yes. The programs that are dynamically built are COBOL programs that allow the user to make as many specific modifications as desired. For example, if data is being mapped from multiple source files to the target file in a complex fashion, code can be added to decide the contents of the target field. We call this “expanded specifications” within the data mapping process. For simple field-to-field moves, no intervention is required.

Can the data mapping tool (Gladstone DataMap™) take inputs from external files? What are the formats supported?

The data mapping tool is designed to allow the mapping to a target file from one or more source files. The formats supported depend upon file definitions. If you are asking about formats such as PL1, Assembler, RPG, etc., the software uses filters to change the file definitions from PL1, Assembler, etc., to COBOL and then proceeds with the mapping.

New fields are typically added in target files during migration. Can we define or add these in the Gladstone tool?

Yes. We have a process that allows for the regeneration of the software with new fields added or old fields deleted.

Does the migration program generated by the Gladstone tool handle format conversion?

In most cases the answer to the question is yes. If you are asking about moving from X(05) to X(20), the COBOL compilier will fill with spaces. If you are asking about moving from a picture of X(03) to 9(03), the programmer can add statements to handle this via REDEFINES, etc. The software wants to make sure that this format change is the explicit intent and not an error.

Can we define simple field level validations for the target file in the mapping tool? Will they be picked up when the migration program is generated?

You can define whatever you want in the mapping. One area of automation that you may be looking for is the discovery of non-numeric data in a numeric field. (This is sometimes caused by default to SPACES, for example.) The software does trap this.

You claim your tool helps in creating sample test data from production datasets. This test set would be beneficial for many uses if it is truly a good representation. Could you explain how this works?

Yes. A test data set is automatically generated. In the data integrity portion of our tool, the first key found for each element value is shown. The software writes out a file of each of these keys, then sorts them and eliminates the duplicates. This file usually turns out to be one of manageable size (1200 records or less). A program is generated that reads the master file and the “keys file” and creates a file with only the keys found in the data integrity processing. This provides a sample file with one of each different value found in the data integrity. This file can be added to, or eliminated from, if you desire. This is an easy way to get a very good sample test file with minimal effort and still have the flexibility to place additional keys if desired. The software also has the capability to generate alias data (for security reasons) in place of the actual data described above.

We have utilities, for example FILEAID, which handle some of the features provided in the Gladstone tool. Also, FILEAID allows us to access databases like IMS, DB2, and VSAM without unloading to flat files. What are the specific features provided by Gladstone’s tool not available in FILEAID?

Software such as FILEAID has typically been used to “fix” a file or “look at” a specific area of a file. The Gladstone software is designed to perform a complete conversion project. This includes the analysis, the mapping, the transformation, the testing and validation, and the conversion documentation. Almost any situation that might be found can be handled by the Gladstone software.

We are still running into lingering issues with our Y2K conversion. Can the Gladstone software add the century to dates?

Gladstone has specific date routines that handle converting over 100 date formats including adding the century. The software will handle format changes such as MMDDYY to CCYYJJJ, etc.

Can we customize the data analysis and integrity reports?

The data analysis and integrity reports are standard, and there have never been any requests to change them, but we are always interested in suggestions. Incidentally, you can customize the data analysis and integrity report by changing the default of 20 unique elements to view, to up to 999.

For more information, please contact us at 877-GLADSTONE or mail@gladstonecomputer.com