DATABASE CONVERSION PROJECT
Database Conversion Project
In 1999, Germany’s largest cellular phone carrier signed a contract with Amdocs, one of the world’s largest and most successful providers of billing and customer care. All of the company’s billing operations were now to be managed by the Amdoc’s Ensemble system (http://www.amdocs.com/hotnews.asp?news_id=17).
The sheer magnitude of converting the company’s subscriber records – some 6 million – from the legacy database to Amdoc’s Oracle based one presented numerous challenges. Some of these included:
- Transferring the information within a reasonable amount of time.
- Ensuring the integrity of the data after its transfer.
- Devising redundancy into the process for safeguarding the data.
- Dealing with possible crashes during the conversion to guarantee continuity.
Amdocs turned to Log-on to design and implement a conversion solution. Log-on assembled a team of some 10-15 experts in the field of programming and database conversion, and designed a highly efficient, safe conversion engine. The team designed a system that included the following:
- Mechanism for correcting and modifying the original data so that it was ready for conversion.
- Data mapping module for receiving instructions to control the conversion process. This provided built in flexibility so that the system could be modified as required.
- Efficient conversion of Flat database files to an Oracle platform.
- Modules for validating the data after conversion.
- Sequencing mechanism that enabled automatic and smooth resumption of the process in case of interruption.
To make the conversion as efficient as possible, the conversion engine was built directly in C for a Unix environment. Besides the actual conversion, the team also had to deal with other issues such as efficient loading of the data. To deal with this, and with other issues such as ensuring the continuity of the conversion process, the Log-on team devised a caching mechanism. Using Unix and SQL scripts the raw data was loaded into an intermediate table (to ensure safeguarding the data) and only afterwards was loaded into the end table.
Due to the complexity of the process, the entire Log-on team was present during the conversion, ensuring that the implementation went according to plan and dealing with any problems that arose. It’s success demonstrates the creativity and expertise of Log-on’s professional staff, as well as Log-on’s legendary commitment to their customers.
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