Oracle seeks AS/400 refugees

Oracle seeks AS/400 refugees

Oracle has announced the free download of a migration tool designed to lure users away from using IBM's DB2 database on their AS/400 systems.

The AS/400, one of the few proprietary mid-range platforms to survive the 1980s and still maintain a large installed base today, is one of the few market niches Oracle has previously been unable to penetrate in the hunt to steal users away from IBM's database, DB2.

"It's an IBM-only strategy if you are an AS/400 shop, because the equipment doesn't tend to play nice with other software," said Oracle Australia's director of Internet technologies, Roland Slee. "Many users have been locked in."

Oracle has released a new plug-in for its Migration Workbench tool to automate the migration of data from DB2 on AS/400 to Oracle's own database. Existing migration paths included in the Workbench project include SQL, Informix and Sybase. These tools are available as a free download from the Oracle Technology Network Web site.

"This is an important breakthrough," said Slee. "You can now migrate from DB2 on the AS/400 with low-risk at low-cost, into a more flexible environment."

Slee said the AS/400 is still favoured by many medium sized businesses who use it for transaction processing systems such as ERP, but it is not a very good platform for data warehousing and business intelligence. Users who want this functionality will be attracted to Oracle9i, providing the migration is relatively simple, he said.

Slee said the migration tools are graphics-based and written in Java so that any capable systems administrator or database engineer can work through them. However, he sees a lot of scope for systems integrators to win services contracts alongside the migration work.

"While the migration workbench is highly automated and easy to use, there will be additional work to migrate applications that integrate with that database," he said.

Slee said there was no program in place to give discounts to users wanting to move from DB2 to Oracle, but "there is always room for discussion on a case by case basis."

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