Crossfire Section of IDMS/SQL News need or need not be directly related to IDMS Software. So except in Issue 6.4 it never appeared on the Web. Many Readers have written to us to put this one also on the Web. And here it is from now on!

 June 1998!

 C r o s s f i r e - Supplement to IDMS/SQL News 7.2

Countdown to Zero!

----- Per Chr. Hansen, SRTS, Scandinavia

Datacom/DB, CA's other mainframe database do have some successful clients in Norway. The number of technical people with Datacom/DB knowhow within CA Scandinavia (S,FIN,DK,N) is 5! If you think this number is low just look at the following numbers:

Technicians with IDMS Knowhow - 1 (50% of this is devoted to Ingres, UFO etc )
Technicians with Ingres Knowhow - 1?
Technicians with Easytrieve/Telon - 1?(0)

Considering the fact that the size of IDMS databases have almost doubled in Scandinavia within the last decade, for IDMS, this is a remarkable countdown from 10+ people in 1989 to 0.5 now! Laws of Classical Physics, cannot explain such a phenomena! We might turn towards philosophy or Quantum Mechanics! Mathematically speaking it will be interesting to see how the result will be when this value approaches the singularity close to 'zero', but not equal to 'zero'! Stephen Hawking has proposed a 'principle of ignorance' which says that "a singularity represents the ultimate unkowable in science. .. hence anything which emerges from a singularrity is totally random and chaotic." [quoted by Prof Paul Davis, "God and the New Physics" Page 56 JM Dent & Sons Ltd, Melbourne 1983]

Some clients are taking refuge in Homeopathy, where the effect and the potency of the medicine increases, when the quantity is decreased!.

End of the Road for a Circus

--- Copenhagen dispatch

Distribution Center in CA Scandinavia has been finally closed and all distribution activities moved to CA office in London. Normally when a local operation is closed, clients are a little unhappy. But in this case, the reaction from most clients have been quite opposite! The Nordic distribution circus, under the direct "command" of Nordic Support Managers have been a total disaster all these years. Normal rule is that one always get the unwanted tape or manual first! MVS clients get the VSE tape! VM/CMS clients get everything except the VM/CMS related information! 9607 upgrade comes first, prior to the pre-req 9601! Passwords and PA sheets are very often not sent! If you just ask for the tape and password, you end up getting a DHL package of 145 kg of all the manuals, from ASF to Activator, except the MVS Install Guide and the passwords! There have been cases where clients got beta tapes/diskettes straight from Westwood, instead of going through the bureaucracies of the Nordic procedures. Many IDMS Clients believe that even if the distribution center is moved to Mars or Moon , it can't be worse!

Gateway against IDMS?

- IWDG Special report compiled by R Korhonen

We had questions from some French sources about "Ingres Gateway to IDMS". As reported earlier, the only experience we have on the product in Scandinavia was a project done under the leadership of marketing people in CA Norway at a site in Oslo in 96-97. IDMS Technicians from CA were not involved in the project, officially. The project collapsed miserably in spite of several visits from CA United Kingdom and Gateway development people in the USA. See IDMS/SQL News 7.1 for an earlier report.

What are the expectations on the product? Can you make OLTP applications on the front-end? Or is it only suitable for queries? How does it compare with ODBC approach? Recall that ODBC, in spite of all shortcomings, have been in production at several places. Unless we have clear guidelines from the vendor or from a client, we cannot recommend this product at all, colourful marketing brochures are not enough. Readers may note that IWDG readily recommended IDMS SQL Option as early as 1992 as a mature product!

What went wrong?

"Nothing comes out of nothing!" It's valid here too. When a new product is introduced, it requires tremendous efforts to make it a success. This is especially true when the product is based on a multi-platform client server approach! We are in a critical area where the UNIX systems made titanic claims and failed towards the late 90s.

When the Gateway was given at first it was using SVC access against IDMS. This created many 'CV' threads within a single Ingres-gateway region in MVS. Tests in Oslo (yes, again nowhere else!) revealed that such an option will never work. The Gateway/IDMS was re-written to use LU6.2 internally. This was brilliantly done as far the reports from Oslo tests indicates. But yet again, the development of the product is one thing, implementation and testing is a totally different matter. One doesn't call a development person to do programming work! The only people involved from the vendor (CA Scandinavia) were the sales and pre-sales people who didn't know ABC of IDMS or OLTP systems. Once a technician at the client used the term "pseudo-conversational' programming, the vendor's representative just blinked! And these were the people advising the client on how to convert an ADS/DC application with sub second response time to Ingres/gateway/IDMS/SQL! What else can you expect when the sales person's objective was only to make new contract for Ingres? It is even reported that a CA sales person approached another IDMS client and gave them a lecture on how good the UNIX database is and why they should say good bye to 'old' databases like 'IDMS'. The newly recruited guy had no idea that IDMS was a CA product!

Tailpiece: If any of the readers have good experience with Gateway /IDMS, please drop us a line. We will publish these for the benefit of the readers. 1