Last week I was at an ENTOTA 'Meet the Experts' event in the Heritage Motor Centre near Warwick and a fascinating time I had there too.

I'm not going to write much more about ENTOTA given I blogged about them only a couple of weeks ago and we can all see them up close and personal at the Data Migration Matters event in London in a couple of weeks time, but one of the interesting points of their half day event was the introduction to Michele White of Proceed.

Now Proceed is an organisation that specialises in SAP data archiving and document management. They use the SAP software NetWeaver ILM to deliver these services. Of course not being one of the SAP cognoscenti I wouldn’t dream of trying to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this as a product set but I am aware as an architect that - as the name Information Lifecycle Management suggests - this is the element of the SAP armoury responsible for automating the archiving and ultimate destruction of historical data. All of which every good application environment should have, of course, if the data in our production systems is not to grow like topsy, degrading response times and making upgrades all the more expensive as old, no longer needed data has to be massaged to fit new shapes.

Michele claims that with the use of SAP reporting products on top of ILM the result is huge decreases in storage requirements and optimised retrieval where the location of storage can be invisible to the users who view standard reports, be they from the production database, production reporting servers or the archive.

All well and good but what interests me, from my selfish data migration point of view, is that this was included in the narrative of a standard data migration by Clive Bellmore and the ENTOTA chaps. It seems like finally the message is going native that data migration ends not with the ETL but with the decommissioning of legacy systems.

As I have often said elsewhere this can be a logical decommissioning, for instance in a de-merger where the old application still exists as a production system for someone but not for the émigrés themselves but in plain vanilla migrations the old system should be switched off and scrapped as part of the migration process.

The first vendor I was aware of to provide software to do this was informatica but now, as my recent blogs have shown, X88 and Experian QAS amongst others also offer some degree of legacy retirement/archiving in their product set.

Each vendor, of course has a different approach. The ENTOTA-Proceed axis, with their syncretistic blending of SAP offerings provides an option that is highly optimised for an SAP environment. One does wonder how well it works for none-SAP legacy, but for SAP it provides a seamless experience for the users. The X88 Pandora approach is a bit more DIY when it comes to retrieval, based as it is on the retention of the Pandora repository. It does have the advantage of ease of initial load (you do it anyway to do the profiling) in both a technical and project sense and a ubiquity of experience whatever the legacy.

I will be dwelling further on this as part of my Data Migration Matters 6 Keynote where I will be looking at the appearance of data migration software solutions which go a long way to managing the whole end to end piece. Exciting times in the DM space then.

Proceed website
ENTOTA website (acquired by BackOffice Associates in 2013)

Johny Morris

About the author

John Morris has over 20 years experience in IT as a programmer, business analyst, project manager and data architect. He has spent the last 10 years working exclusively on data migration and system integration projects. John is the author of Practical Data Migration.