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Adabas Vista and Fastpath Questions and Answers

Created by Liferay Admin, last modified on Tue, 7 Oct 2014, 14:23

By Michael Meehan, Senior R&D Manager, Software AG

June 2007

In his capacity as manager responsible for the Adabas "Add-On" products Mike Meehan meets and talks to many current and potential users of these products. In these two articles he answers common questions about and explains the major features of Adabas Vista and Fastpath.

Table of Contents [-]

Adabas Vista - Overview and Fequently Asked Questions#

Background Information#

My recent customer site visits bring me into contact with various uses of Adabas Vista and Adabas Fastpath. A common theme is that Vista is used to replace huge customization software components developed to provide translation of database and file numbers, using Vista’s file translation feature. All these sites also use the other primary Vista feature, file partitioning. Here is a very brief rundown of what can be done using Vista:

Business: Credit Reference Service#

One of the partitioned files has 450 million records in 31 partitions, another has 18 partitions. Vista translation is also extensively used to enforce separation between application file numbers and physical file placement.

Business: Mobile Phone Network#

One example of partioning at this customer is the Account Statement History file. Just this file takes up around 60 disk packs with hundreds of millions of records partitioned by account number. Vista is the only alternative to keeping planned (and unplanned) outage in a manageable amount of time. Vista translation is used at this site as well.

Business: (Internet) Vehicle Information Service#

350 million records growing at 3+ million per month currently using around 45 partitions, partitioned by vehicle registration. Again, the maintenance of such a file demands Vista partitioning. Vista translation is also used extensively.

Vista - Partitioned Files Background#

Although Adabas is able to accommodate files with vast amounts of records; these customer sites have found this presents operational difficulties when outage times are required to be minimal to keep the businesses running 24 hours a day. Adabas Vista allows one large file to be partitioned multiple files. Each file is a fully independent Adabas file in its own right. Vista makes the files appear as one to the application. This means the application gets all the advantages of programmatically dealing with one file by retaining lower developing costs through simplicity while the database operations side gets all the advantages with being able to manage smaller files in parallel and/or individually.

Vista - File Translation Background#

These sites have used file translation for many years, making the application fully independent of the database and file numbers used. This allows database operations to be fully in control of file placement. For example, files can be placed according to individual operations requirements without the need to worry about the file numbers used in the applications. Originally these sites all used a home-grown file translation customization software framework. The approach was simplistic, inflexible in all cases (it is a very complex subject to solve this software challenge generically) and all these sites had to deal with all the risks associated with being in the software development business. Now, Vista’s generic file translation is used without any drop-off in performance and at the same time there is a massive increase in the flexibility the generic approach provides.

Vista – Frequently Asked Questions#

What influenced your decision to buy / implement Adabas Vista? What were your expectations of the product?#

These sites all wished to replace in-house partition and translation software. Over time there are too many risks associated with home-grown solutions. For example, these sites are forced to employ, manage, motivate and retain software development skills. This is a big diversion from their real focus which is database administration and operation. Also, Vista provides a full function answer to translation and partitioning rather than the previous simplistic, inflexible customization. In all cases, the expectations were that all the advantages of Vista could be adopted without a noticeable increase in CPU beyond that already seen by the original customization software.

Were these expectations met?#

Yes, exceeded by product-level flexibility over in-house restrictions. For example, Vista can handle access across all partitions of a file for descriptors that are not associated with the partition criteria whereas the home-grown solution could not – a massive improvement in capability and performance.

Also, Vista improves 24x7 coverage. With Vista, it is possible to take individual partitions offline for maintenance leaving the others online for continuous use. Or conversely, all partitions can be taken out of service together with maintenance performed on them in parallel, significantly reducing planned outage time.

Can you give us an estimate as to how much CPU (in percentage) you have saved?#

Customers broke even, or did better, as intended. Vista brings far more day to day flexibility, so overall it is a clear, clear win. Vista is future-proof for supporting Adabas version 8 and beyond as well.

How easy was the installation?#

Very easy.

Were there any tuning procedures you had to go through?#

Specific runtime tuning isn’t really an issue. The big thing with Vista is to put importance on the choice of partition criteria and the divisions of partitions to allow for growth, placement, etc. in the future.

Did you have to make any changes to your production environment to introduce Vista?#

No, Vista is transparent to the application, even to the point where the new (Vista) system ran in parallel to the old (in-house)to enable comparison. There were several situations where comparison exposed bugs in the old in-house software!

What time scale are we talking about to get Vista into a production environment?#

The normal upgrade of Vista is no problem. It is very quick. In the situation where Vista is used to replace an entire software infrastructure, then there may be major project investment to pull out the old and put in the new. If Vista is placed into a site where there was no previous home-grown solution, then implementation is almost instantaneous.

Would you recommend that other users install Vista?#

Yes, Vista partitioning/translation is a must for large scale sites to meet maintenance windows, etc. And, running the same application multiple times (test, QA, etc.) unchanged against different sets of data is excellent.

Is there any way in which a customer can estimate the expected CPU gain? Is there a trial kit available?#

Vista is not a CPU product. It is a flexibility add-on tool. AVILOOK (shipped with Adabas) can be used to see the best way to implement the partitioning feature.

Adabas FastPath - Frequently Asked Questions#

What considerations affected your decision to buy / implement Adabas Fastpath?#

Outsourcing was an important consideration in our decision. The customer of the outsourcer demanded reduced consumption bills. They also did not want to have to upgrade their system.

Were these expectations met?#

Yes.

Can you give us an estimate as to how much CPU (in percentage) you have saved?#

Fastpath has been used too long in our implementation to give numbers. However, when/if we take it out of service, our systems fall apart (CPU, response, etc). The pain we feel is immediate. We cannot do without Fastpath. With 5 billion commands per week, Fastpath saves 40% of those from going to the Adabas databases.

How easy was the installation?#

Easy.

Were there any tuning procedures you had to go through?#

We do periodic checks for new access (AFPLOOK etc.) to see if Fastpath is not looking at new systems, etc. Other than that, we do no other tuning procedures.

Did you have to make any changes to your production environments to introduce Fastpath?#

Fastpath is totally transparent to the running applications. It can be applied and removed dynamically. Fastpath is now replacing usage of the standard edition ADARUN PREFETCH=YES because it is more intelligent. It does not need to tune in the JCL of jobs all around our system. With Fastpath, read-ahead does not have to be put inside individual application programs (where it cannot be tuned transparently to the application).

What time scale are we talking about to get Fastpath into a production environment?#

Instantaneous.

Would you recommend that other users install Fastpath?#

Yes. We are surprised that there are not more sites taking advantage of it.

Is there any way in which a customer can estimate the expected CPU gain? Is there a trial#

kit available? AFPLOOK can be used to estimate expected CPU gain. It will ALWAYS save Adabas CPU once you apply it. For example, recently 2 new files were introduced on a database at a customer site where CPU consumption was poor. We immediately Fastpathed these files, saving 60% of the whole database CPU. Fastpath also saved massive batch elapsed time.
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