What are ADABAS and Natural?
ADABAS stands for “adaptable database system.” It was launched in 1971 by Software AG using an inverted index architecture and is thus a nonrelational database system. The system was known for its speed and reliability outliving many of its contemporaries (rival inverted index DBMS Datacom eventually transitioned to a relational architecture.
In 1979 Software AG developed a fourth generation (4GL) application development platform for the ADABAS ecosystem called Natural. Applications utilizing ADABAS as a database are, therefore, often built using Natural. Natural supports both procedural and event-driven programming.
Why would I modernize ADABAS/Natural applications?
- The Mainframe Brain Drain: Mainframe programmers are retiring and young programmers aren’t learning the legacy technologies they need to understand to replace them. Although Software AG has developed NaturalONE, an Eclipse-based IDE, to make Natural more approachable to younger programmers, Natural and ADABAS SMEs are becoming harder and harder to find.
- The Limitations of a Nonrelational Database: The inverted index architecture of ADABAS offers fast retrieval speeds, but it cannot handle the data maintenance needs of many companies, especially as they move toward realtime processing.
- Licensing and Maintenance Fees: Migration to modern, open architectures can dramatically reduce the fees you pay for proprietary platforms.
The Blu Age Solution
Blu Age has put together a unique solution that combines an immediate database migration with an incremental modernization of the legacy code (Natural, COBOL, etc.). Once the database is migrated to a modern, relational architecture, a middleware solution is used to allow the legacy applications to write to the modernized database in real time. An incremental, iterative approach can then be utilized to modernize the code. This best-of-breed approach, combined with Blu Age automation and tooling increases the final code quality and minimizes the risk of failure.