BACKGROUND: The world's fourth largest airline and the United States' oldest carrier, Northwest Airlines, together with its global travel partners, serves more than 400 cities in over 80 countries. Flying toward its lofty goal of being the world's most preferred airline, Northwest Airlines' fleet of more than 415 aircraft operates over 1,700 flights daily. Ensuring the safety and timeliness of these flights is the carrier's primary concern.

PLATFORMS: IBM DataPropagator Relational is available on all DB2 platforms (OS/390, AIX, AS/400, Windows NT, HP-UX, Sun Solaris, OS/2, VM/VSE) and DB2 DataJoiner runs on IBM AIX and Windows NT platforms.

PROBLEM SOLVED: To obtain early warnings about unexpected developments and to monitor operations efficiently, the controllers and planners of the airline's operations need immediate access to information concerning flight routes, schedules and crew lists. An enormous amount of such data is captured daily in the company's central IBM DB2 operations database. However, Northwest wanted to make the data easily accessible to its various divisions from their local databases. That meant extracting the data from the host and propagating it to the various IBM DB2 and non-IBM databases the divisions used. Seeking a quick, cost-effective and easy-to-implement solution for its enterprise-wide data replication needs, Northwest Airlines selected IBM DataPropagator Relational and IBM DB2 DataJoiner.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DataPropagator Relational, in concert with DB2 DataJoiner, allows Northwest Airlines to easily and quickly replicate data in a heterogeneous environment. The products enable us to replicate from DB2 views, which means we can join data in DB2 prior to replication. This gives us the ability to present/transform the source data into a form more suitable for the target application. In addition, SQL can be executed before or after the replication. DB2 DataJoiner will allow us to migrate data from one database to another or one platform to another, should that be necessary, without modification of the application. A GUI tool running on a workstation simplifies replication administration. DB2 DataJoiner understands the data type and SQL language differences between heterogeneous platforms and automatically compensates for them. New data movement needs can be implemented quickly, which means faster access to data and faster response time for business users.

STRENGTHS: By eliminating the various migration processes used earlier, the company has been able to save money and development resources company-wide and improve the currency of data. DataPropagator's efficient log-based change capture and flexible apply technique, which captures all DB2 updates without requiring any changes to the application, eliminates any impact on transaction performance. There is absolutely no risk to the applications that maintain the source data. In addition to replication, with DB2 DataJoiner we are also able to access data on any of our current platforms as if it all resided in a single local database. As an added benefit, we are now in a position to write applications and access data from multiple platforms in a single SQL statement, thus preserving the substantial investment we have already made in those platforms.

WEAKNESSES: We have struggled at times with the identification/notification of PTFs, fix packs and/or patches that should be applied as preventive maintenance.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Competing products were unable to match the price/performance provided by the combination of IBM's DataPropagator Relational and DB2 DataJoiner. By choosing DataPropagator and DB2 DataJoiner, Northwest Airlines has been able to not only make data accessible, but also to leverage its investment in existing systems.

DELIVERABLES: DataPropagator and DB2 DataJoiner helped us eliminate various migration and file transfer processes, save money and IT development resources as well as improve currency of data.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Support from IBM was a key factor in the success of early stages of this project. IBM was quick to respond to our requests and get answers to our questions. Now that we are up and running, the ongoing support continues to be excellent. We generally receive a call back from the support center within minutes of our problem call.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation received with the products is very good, and the most current versions, along with other supporting documentation, are easily accessible on the Web.

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