Ace Realty has an 80-user network running an Oracle 7 database on NetWare 4.1. The company recently acquired Budget Realty, which has a 15-user peer-to-peer network running a FoxPro 5.0 database. The company intends to consolidate both databases into a new database running on a new server environment that requires VPN access. Please recommend a new database platform, migration tools and related steps required for this migration.
My Solution: Michael Lawson
FarPoint Solutions LLC
FarPoint is a solutions provider in Simsbury, Conn. The company works closely with Compaq and specializes in thin-client application development.
Before I present my solution, its important to describe my companys approach to application development.
We specialize in thin-client Internet applications that use a single integrated development environment to produce a single application. Its similar to Citrix MetaFrame and Microsoft Terminal Server—without additional licensing costs. Our applications respond, look and feel like standard Windows applications.
The development environment we use is Clarion for Windows version 5.5, with the new ClarioNet templates.
We would address this particular project in two phases. First, we would analyze the existing database tables to create a data dictionary. This data dictionary would reconcile all the relationships between the individual tables and separate databases. We would then examine the individual applications to determine a common work flow.
That initial phase usually takes between 80 and 100 hours and would cost between $8,000 and $10,000, plus out of pocket costs.
Depending on the number of processes, forms, tables, reports, and the like, we would be able to come up with a project plan. That project plan would present a detailed strategy and time line for providing LAN access and Internet access.
We use encryption technology and a thin-client executable, so no VPN is needed in this solution—just a single IP address and socket number.
Once the analysis is finished we would start the development phase. A typical application can range from $10,000 to $25,000, using the existing data from the data dictionary created in phase one. The applications development can take three to six months.
If a conversion is required to something more affordable than Oracle—such as Microsoft SQL Server—then the application costs can range from $20,000 to more than $100,000 and are usually completed in one calendar year.
Most application development of this type with a minimum feature set (i.e. replace the functionality of the previous applications, plus a few additional features) generally cost in the neighborhood of $50,000 and takes less than nine months to develop using a single programmer.
That is achievable due to the fact that most of the design work is done in phase one using the data dictionary. Using Extreme Programming techniques with a programmer on the clients staff realizes even faster deployment times and cost savings. Visit www.extremeprogramming.org for more information.
Using the median case presented in this article, Ive provided a cost breakdown, including a price for each component in the solution.
: Richard A. Mertl”>
My Solution: Richard A. Mertl
Mertl & Associates
Mertl & Associates is a solutions provider in Montreal.
Ive broken down my recommendation into several components. Each component includes a rational for why I am recommending a particular hardware or software solution.
I believe this solution requires three Pentium III servers, each with dual 1-GHz processors, 1 GB of memory and a 120-GB hard drive with RAID 5.
Each server would run Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Two of the servers would run Citrix XP MetaFrame Server. The third server would run Microsofts SQL Server 2000, which will be the companys database-management system going forward—replacing the current Oracle and FoxPro systems.
Windows 2000, Citrix and SQL Server each would require 95 client access licenses, presuming user traffic is continuous and simultaneous.
However, I believe that presumption is incorrect. The real-estate firm can likely save some money on software licenses because theres no need to install the complete user base from day one. I suspect that all of the end users dont access the system at the same time.
Overall, I think the cost for this hardware and software solution would be around $65,000.
If the company grows, network and server throughput should not be an issue. This solution is easily scalable with the addition of Citrix servers. In the meantime, the current file server/data server should be able to handle any anticipated business growth.
Migrating the real-estate firms FoxPro and Oracle databases to SQL Server isnt a difficult process, but it is challenging to fully describe migration costs without a more detailed RFP and an actual look at the customers databases.
Migration from Fox dbf files is possible with FoxPro and Microsoft products. The Oracle migration will have to be more closely evaluated. The approximate cost depends on the quantity of the data and the quality(cleanliness) of the data.
The RFP did not describe the size of each database, so I cant estimate how much work will be required. However, standard developer tools will certainly facilitate the migration.
The RFP also called for VPN access. We will provide that using either Citrix desktops or NFuse application user interfaces. Internet access for all users will be required in the form of dial-up accounts (56-Kbps modems) or high-speed access (such as DSL).
Please note that VPN tunneling is not required because Citrix encryption is usually adequate for lower-level security requirements.
I expect that this solution will take three to six months to develop, with sign-off in month eight.