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Frequently asked questions

What is tcACCESS?

tcACCESS is a powerful integration platform (Mainframe Software, Workstation software, Middleware) for users of IBM mainframes. tcACCESS allows a transparent integration of mainframe data sources and mainframe programs into Open System applications using industry standards like SQL, ODBC, JDBC, .NET .

Why has tcACCESS been developed?

Most corporations are facing the same dilemma: Numerous application systems and databases on different platforms and different systems. The central mainframe based data processing has been developed over decades and must now cooperate with new applications that run under UNIX/LINUX/Linux on System z or WINDOWS. tcACCESS offers a universal and transparent solution to integrate the mainframe into these worlds. A realtime, direct access to all corporate data (OpenSystem to Mainframe and Mainframe to OpenSystem) are guarantors for a successful "e-Business" and provide the base for the implementation of a "Realtime Enterprise".

Why should a corporation use tcACCESS?

tcACCESS supports a relational view to non relational mainframe data sources and allows the usage of standard access methods like ODBC/JDBC and J2EE. Extensive programming of interfaces on the mainframe and on the client are no longer necessary. tcACCESS ensures a fast and cost effective integration of Mainframe and Open Systems architectures on a data, application and presentation level.

How can I use SQL to access my mainframe data sources from a WINDOWS or UNIX/LINUX/Linux on System z application?

tcACCESS provides a standard SQL-based access (SQL Engine) to nearly all kinds of mainframe data sources. The access is being performed using the industry standards ODBC, JDBC, J2EE. An ODBC interface is also available for UNIX/LINUX/Linux on System z applications. If an application system does not support these standards, a tcACCESS API can be used.

Are dataviews supported that include multiple data sources?

Yes, tcACCESS supports the definition of so-called "Joins" using SQL (SQL Engine). Fields from multiple datasources can be joined to create a dataview. This dataview is presented to the user or the application like a normal table.

Is TCP/IP or MQ-Series a requirement for the implementation of tcACCESS?

No, tcACCESS can be connected with an IBM mainframe using all Connectivity-Standards.

How is the Metadata being provided in tcACCESS?

tcACCESS offers graphical import functions to import copybooks for various programming languages (COBOL, Assembler, PL/I, etc.). During the import of meta data for an IMS or DL/I database the database definitions will be included in the analysis (PSB, DBD). In the case of ADABAS and CA-Datacom the meta data will be automatically extracted from the corresponding dictionary. Meta data for CA-IDMS, including all navigation and connection parameter are automatically extracted from SCHEMA definitions. tcACCESS analyses the input data and checks for "Virtual Tables" (OCCURS, OCCURS DEPNDING ON, ADABAS Periodic Groups and Multiple Fields) and offers different processing options during the import.

Does tcACCESS support the modification of data and is transaction processing supported?

tcACCESS works bi-directional. That means that mainframe data can be read and modified. SELECT as well as UPDATE, INSERT and DELETE are supported. For all mainframe resources that support transaction processing (DB2, IMS, ADABAS, CA-Datacom, CA-IDMS, VSAM/CICS) the use of "transactional"commands like COMMIT and ROLLBACK is supported.

What kind of SQL-syntax can be used and is it possible to use SQL functions?

tcACCESS supports the standard specifications of the SQL-commands SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT, DELETE, COMMOT, NOCOMMIT, ROLLBACK. Sub-selects are also supported. A variety of SQL functions (mathematical functions, statistical functions, date functions, functions to process characters and strings) offer a wide range of possibilities to process mainframe data using SQL.

A lot of our legacy mainframe files are in compressed format. These files have been created in times when disk storage was very expensive. We also use bit mapped data a lot. Can this sort of data be processed by tcACCESS? And can I still use SQL?

Good questions. Of course, tcACCESS supports the integration of in-house written programs and routines to decompress the data, prepare the data and process it. Even a single bit can be presented as an individual columns of a relational table. Customers that have been using a mainframe over decades have successfully implemented this with tcACCESS.

Does tcACCESS offer functions that enable a mainframe program (Batch and Online) to access databases or resources on a Windows or UNIX/LINUX/Linux on System z box?

tcACCESS contains a component called "Open System Transparency" (OST). OST can be used to directly access any OpenSystem database that can be reached via ODBC from a mainframe batch or online program. In addition, you can use OST to easily start any WINDOWS or UNIX/LINUX application or process from a mainframe program.

We use datafiles that are part of thrid party software packages. We would like to access those files but do not have any data descriptions nor any access programs. Can we still use tcACCESS?

Yes, you can use the "Screen Content Server" (SCS) component of tcACCESS. SCS uses 3270 maps of the application and treats them like a data source. The access to the screen data is performed with standard SQL. You can SELECT the data but can also UPDATE, INSERT and DELETE the data, if the underlying application supports this. Well, and if the support exists in the application you could even perform a ROLLBACK. tcACCESS comes with a WINDOWS application that assists you to create the scripts necessary to navigate through the 3270 screens.

Sometimes it would be desirable if one could use existing mainframe programs in WINDOWS or UNIX/LINUX/Linux on System z applications. Can we use tcACCESS to integrate the mainframe programs?

Certainly, tcACCESS supports the integration of mainframe programs (Legacy Integration). Just imagine a VBA macro that has been executed as part of a WORD document and calls a COBOL mainframe program. The COBOL program gets executed and returns data back to the macro where the data is being processed.

Are there case studies available that talk about the usage of tcACCESS?

Yes, refer to our web site, there are different case studies available. tcACCESS customers talk about their experience with the product and explain in detail what they are using it for.