Adabas databases continue to develop after 33 years.
What is it?
After 33 years on the market, Adabas tends to be viewed as a legacy database. But although there is a large base of old, reliable Adabas applications in use, Software AG (SAG) has kept near the forefront of database development with XML and web services, for example.
Believing the writing to be on the wall for its database products, in the late 1990s SAG attempted to turn itself into a middleware company with products such as EntireX. But demand for Adabas and the related Natural development language continued, with a surge around 2000. SAG has ported all its products to Linux and Adabas D is the database part of Sun's Staroffice.
Where did it originate?
SAG was founded in Germany in 1969, Adabas launched in 1971 and Natural in 1979. SAG has partnered other suppliers, including IBM and Microsoft, making Microsoft's Com object technology available on mainframes, for example.
What is it for?
Adabas began life as a mainframe database and SAG maintains a close relationship with IBM on mainframe developments with a recent joint project to implement Adabas on the new 64-bit Shared Virtual Storage technology for the eServer zSeries mainframe.
As this suggests, Adabas is used in robust 24x7 enterprise database applications. The availability of Adabas implementations for most operating systems, combined with the the EntireX integration software, makes Adabas particularly suitable for applications involving mixed platforms.
Natural, surely the last development environment still to be described as a fourth generation language, is used for developing and deploying applications on mainframes, Windows, Unix, Linux and Open VMS.
What makes it special?
Although Adabas has a limited number of customers, they tend to rely heavily on their applications, which are unlikely to be replaced in the long term unless users abandon their mainframes.
Alongside legacy and maintenance work, Adabas people get the opportunity to work with leading-edge XML and web services developments.
Version 6 of Natural allows programmers to develop and maintain programs running on Unix and mainframes from a Windows user interface, a feature known as Single Point of Development.
How difficult is it to master?
Completing a course of Adabas training for either development or database administration involves about 10 days of courses at £350-£400 a day.
Where is it used?
SAG has more than 3,000 customers, most of them using large, mission-critical systems. They include Marks & Spencer's Financial Services, Prudential, BT, BP, Comet, JP Morgan Chase and a variety of local authorities. SAG is strong in Germany and in Central and Eastern Europe.
Not many people know that
The former SAP database SAP-DB, now offered by MySQL as MaxDB, was based on Adabas-D.
What systems does it run on?
Most current operating systems, including Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Sun Solaris, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, IBM AIX, Suse Linux (Intel and S/390) and Red Hat Linux.
What is coming up?
Web Services, using SAG's Tamino XML server.
Courses take place at SAG's UK training centre in Derby.
Rates of pay
Analyst/programmers can expect £20,000 to £35,000. Salaries are highest for those with other mainframe skills and for people working in the finance sector.