Tapping phone directory data

Some developers shy away from the term data warehouse, even though their application can be described that way. And, increasingly, the line between operational and analytical data stores may be blurring. At the publishing division of McCloud U.S.A, a competitive local exchange carrier based in Cedar Falls, Iowa, AS/400 resident databases are moving to NT and (eventually) Unix. Reasons include economy and application partitioning, as well as advanced reporting needs.

"We don't choose to call it a data warehouse. We call it an Oracle database," said Jeff Gleason, database administrator of the publishing division. McCloud distributes 14 million copies of white- and yellow-page directories in 21 states each year.

Two years ago, McCloud began a project to replicate back and forth from AS/400 environments to Oracle databases using the InfoPump data movement tool from Platinum Technology Inc., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. The Oracle databases support, for example, sales automation applications. "We use [the data store] for OLTP, as well as data analysis. Now we can provide our users with a more intuitive interface," said Gleason.

At the direction of a consultant, the project started out based on SQL Server on NT. Later, plans changed. "We found the Microsoft product did not give us the scalability and flexibility we needed," said Gleason. This added time to the project as McCloud moved to what Gleason described as a more robust server. That was Oracle on NT. The plan is to go to Oracle on AIX.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.