Softbase Upgrades Test-Data Management Tool

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-05-19 Print this article Print

Data Generation Facility Version 4.1 supports VSAM and QSAM, as well as DB2 on distributed platforms such as Unix and Windows.

Softbase Systems Inc. is putting out a version of its test-data management tool that supports VSAM and QSAM, as well as DB2 on distributed platforms such as Unix and Windows, the company plans to announce at the International DB2 User Groups annual North America conference on Monday. Data Generation Facility 4.1 is a tool that allows users to generate, subset and extract test data. The update offers an updated interface and guaranteed privacy compliance with regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), said company officials in Ashville, N.C. Privacy compliance is ensured by mandatory masking, wherein sensitive data such as Social Security numbers or addresses are scrambled. This allows developers to work with live copies of production data for testing purposes without broadcasting customers private data, officials said.
Jeff Boggess, database administrator of North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance, uses DGF as a data-population tool, grabbing data off one IBM DB2 database and loading it onto another for testing of insurance applications such as policy processing and billing software.
Boggess said the tool is particularly useful for retaining referential integrity. Before using DGF, developers at the Raleigh, N.C., company had to write programs to keep table relationships intact when extracting and loading data. DGF allows developers to preset relationships and automatically ensures all proper data is retrieved or deleted. "Its a very big time saver," Boggess said. "When you had to change something or wanted to pull it out differently, it would take a lot of time, and youd have to make sure you werent undoing something you did before. The tool takes care of making sure you dont lose any of your relational integrity." Boggess also liked the idea of data masking. "It will come into play with Social Security numbers, where … we can let users see the data but it will mask the numbers, unless its somebody with security clearance to see it," he said. "The everyday Joe wont be able to see it." DGF 4.1 will be generally available at the end of June, officials said. It is priced per mip up to 3,000 mips, at which point licenses become enterprise-wide. Search for more stories by Lisa Vaas.
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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