Can I configure DB2 replication from the mainframe to AIX?

I want to replicate DB2 from the mainframe to an AIX box since it's cheaper and the copy can be used for testing. Is this possible?

DB2 replication options hinge on the integration skills available and how much you want to spend.

The least expensive way to move DB2 database information from the mainframe onto an AIX operating system involves DB2 utilities or writing custom code in-house. An unload on the mainframe followed by a load on AIX should suffice. You would need to write a home-grown program to perform any data transformation or masking tasks.

If you have a budget with room for DB2 replication, look into vendors that provide sophisticated tools that gather, transform and mask data from disparate sources in batch mode. Options include Treehouse Software's tcVISION, Attunity Replicate and others, or replication services from specialists like XTIVIA, Inc.

Another set of software tools asynchronously replicate data from the mainframe to AIX in near real time. Options include the open source SymmetricDS and DBReplicator tools.

Consider using IBM's DB2 for z/OS Distributed Data Facility (DDF), connecting the mainframe to other servers over a network. The transaction monitor offers thread pooling and connection management with z/OS workload management priority settings. You may use DDF to push data down to AIX or pull data from the mainframe as you run tests.

There is a drawback to pulling data -- it will stretch out response times as the rows make their way through the network.

Consider security whenever handling business data. In some mainframe shops, programmers will be required to mask the customer data pulled from production. Making the data as anonymous as possible protects the business from leaks without invalidating use, as with software testing.

About the author:
Robert Crawford spent 29 years as a systems programmer, covering CICS technical support, Virtual Storage Access Method, IBM DB2, IBM IMS and other mainframe products. He programmed in Assembler, Rexx, C, C++, PL/1 and COBOL. Crawford is currently an operations architect based in south Texas, establishing mainframe strategy for a large insurance company.

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