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User Guide

Overview

InfoCDC is a lightweight simple to implement Change Data Capture (CDC) tool that companies can use to detect and stream relevant data changes from their IBM i (formerly known as AS400, iSeries) applications without any custom IBM i development required.

CDC solutions currently available on IBM i platform typically require extensive planning and implementation, specialized skills, and are rather heavy and expensive to operate. InfoCDC is designed to be an intuitive, lightweight solution that provides the core data integration capabilities at a fraction of the cost of competing products

Sample Use Cases

Below are some examples where real time replication flows deliver better customer experiences or improve the process quality and operational efficiency:

  • send order fulfillment status changes from the IBM i ERP or WMS system to the CRM, ecommerce or third party partners
  • propagate product details from IBM i based ERP to external MDM and PIM solutions
  • send customer details from IBM i based solution to external Customer Data Platform

Product Features

  • Non-intrusive low system impact change detection leveraging IBM i journals 
  • Easy setup and configuration, auto-creation of all required components such as data queues, format tables, and flow definitions 
  • Ability to configure tables and individual columns to replicate 
  • Auto-detect primary keys and unique keys and let users define custom keys for legacy files 
  • Listen for changes in specific columns and ignore irrelevant changes 
  • Support for both commitment control (commits / rollbacks) and auto commit changes 
  • Data Queue messages align with the IBM i Format Table data structure, passing the data in a compact, easy to deserialize, binary format.
  • Automatic type translation by Infoview Kafka and Mulesoft connectors 
  • Support is provided by the same product engineering team that develops and maintains the product, ensuring fast response and resolution.  

How does it work?

The product leverages IBM i DB2 journals to receive database changes and determine if they have to be sent to external clients or not based on the filtering rules. The changes are streamed via IBM i Data Queues – native lightweight messaging queues. Therefore, the InfoCDC would in most cases be used in conjunction with our Kafka or Mulesoft or the upcoming AWS or Azure connectors. These connectors would be configured to continuously listen for new data queue entries and process that change based on the requirements.

IBM i requirements and considerations

  • Minimal supported OS release level is 7.1
  • All IBM i tables in scope for CDC must be journaled with *BOTH record images captured. InfoCDC examines the before and after image of the record to determine if the change is relevant and needed
  • Table must have either a primary key or a unique key constraint in order to apply the change correctly on the target system. In case of legacy tables / files without any unique or primary constrains available, InfoCDC supports user-provided composite key configuration.
  • Null-capable columns are not supported in the current release, the support will be added in future releases
  • Several "exotic" data types, such as BLOB and CLOB are not yet supported

Installation Instructions

  1. Pre-requisite: contact Infoview sales team to receive the application save file and generated trial license
  2. Upload the product save file to your IBM i system
  3. Restore the content of the save file in QGPL library

    RSTOBJ OBJ(*ALL) SAVLIB(QGPL) DEV(*SAVF) SAVF(QGPL/CDCPKGSAVF)
    
  4. Add installation library to the library list.

    • All CDC SAVF files are now available in QGPL. So, need to check library QGPL is in library list.
  5. Run the installation script

    Execute the command CDCINSTALL
    

    installation 1

  6. Description automatically generated Enter the license string and continue

    • Provide the License Information here

    installation 2

  7. Validate the installation

    • Confirmation screen displayed

    installation 3

    Press enter, then CDC main manu screen will be displayed

    installation 4

  8. Verify the CDC environment by selecting option 1

    installation 5

    At any time, CDCMAINMNU command can be executed to back to CDC Main Menu. To do so, add library INFOCDCCOM in the top of the library list

    ADDLIBLE LIB(INFOCDCCOM)
    

    Press enter key, then CDC main menu screen will be displayed

  9. Configure the auto-start job to automatically start the replication flows when the CDC subsystem starts either after IPL or after maintenance period

    • First, create a job description for starting the jobs
      CRTJOBD JOBD(INFOCDCCOM/CDCSTARTJD) JOBQ(QSYS/QSYSNOMAX) TEXT('Autostart Job Start InfoCDC Command JOBD') USER(<include-system-user>) RQSDTA('INFOCDCCOM/CDCSTART')
      

    Note – the JOBD can be created in other libraries, depending on the IBM i operational standards for your environment. The user ID should have enough authority to start the replication flows.

    • Then add the auto-start job entry to CDCSBSD subsystem
      ADDAJE SBSD(CDCSBSD) JOB(CDCSTART) 
      JOBD(INFOCDCCOM/CDCSTARTJD)
      
  10. Configure the monitor job that starts the CDC workflow jobs if needed – this will auto-recover the process if anybody accidentally ends the replication jobs. Please adjust the frequency and start of the job or add it as a Robot task or advanced job scheduler task hourly or every X minutes as necessary.

    ADDJOBSCDE JOB(CDCJOBCHK) CMD(INFOCDCCOM/CDCSTART) FRQ(*WEEKLY) SCDDATE(*NONE)       
    SCDDAY(*ALL) SCDTIME('08:00:00')
    

InfoCDC Configuration

To access the main InfoCDC menu, execute the following commands in the IBM i environment where the product is installed:

    ADDLIBLE INFOCDCCOM
    CDCMAINMNU

Main application menu consists of two options:

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Table maintenance

To add tables to the CDC process, select option 1 (Work with Table Configuration). On the Work with Tables screen you can define new table and work with table configurations

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On the table maintenance screen, type the library and table name then press F6 to add a new table

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The product will automatically retrieve the configuration, column structure, primary key etc. On this screen, we can configure the operations we want to listen for (Insert, Update and / or Delete), as well as columns for filtering the changes (or all for any change) and columns to replicate (or all for synchronizing all columns). In the example below we define new Inventory table and send the inserts, updates (only when the quantity changes) and deletes. Once the configuration is ready, press F10 to save and auto-generate required objects.

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When the table configuration is saved after pressing F10, the product will perform the following steps: 1. Auto-detect the Journal associated with the table 2. Auto-generate the Format table – the empty table that reflects the structure of the data queue message for this particular table 3. Auto-generate Journal listener job name (the job that will listen for journal changes) 4. Auto-generate the Replication Data Queue (the DQ that the external client will be polling) 5. Auto-configure the Replication Flow configuration if not already defined

The Kafka or Mulesoft configuration will need the Format table name and Replication Data Queue name in library INFOCDCDTA in order to start listening for the changes. In order to apply configuration changes to the tables that are currently being replicated, user needs to stop the replication flow first (see the Replication Flow Management section below).

Replication Flow Management

Option 2 on the main InfoCDC menu brings us to the Replication Flow Management screen:

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When the table is added to the configuration, the Workflow entry is automatically added to this screen if not already defined. Multiple tables journaled into a single journal will have a single Replication flow entry on this screen. Initially, the workflow will be added in INACTIVE status to allow the CDC client (Kafka flows or Mulesoft apps) to connect to the appropriate DQ and start listening. When everything is ready, start the flow using option 1, or use function key F2 to start all inactive workflows in one step. Press F5 to refresh the screen and ensure the intended flows are active.