DHS mainframe data enters Web world

Relational database centralizes storage while granting other agencies secure access

THE HOMELAND SECURITY Department is
implementing a system that will let it share
critical citizenship and immigration information
from its mainframe database while continuing
to store that data centrally.

The department's Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) division has deployed the
latest version of CA's IDMS Server, which extends
information stored in back-office mainframes
and databases to Web services and service-
oriented architecture
environments.

DHS relies on CA IDMS, a
high-performance relational
database that works with
mainframes, to manage citizenship,
immigration and
noncitizen resident systems.
The department uses CA
IDMS Server to extract information
from the database.
DHS must respond in a
timely fashion to requests
from other agencies, such as
the FBI and State Department,
that rely on that information
for their operations,
said Bruce Hillyer, ICE's
manager of database
administration.

With CA IDMS Server
r16.1, DHS can offer users direct,
secure access to data via
the Web, eliminating the
need to store information in multiple systems,
DHS said.

Like many agencies and large commercial organizations,
DHS stores volumes of pertinent
business information on old mainframes and
databases. Migrating from those systems can
be time-consuming and costly. Plus, new relational
databases might not be able to handle
the vast amount of data stored in such systems,
Hillyer said. 'We have one system with 400
million records,' he said. 'No [new] relational
database can handle the volume or the search
capabilities required' to manage such a large
number of records.

As a result, agencies are looking for ways to
make data in back-office systems available online
to business partners, other government
agencies and consumers.

CA IDMS Server helps fulfill that requirement
by simplifying the secure access of mainframe
resources via standard application program
interfaces (APIs) that can be used in Sun
Microsystems' Java and Microsoft's .NET development
environments.

The new version of CA's product also includes
enhanced Java Database Connectivity (JDBC)
and Open Database Connectivity drivers for
secure communications using Secure Sockets
Layer (SSL) via TCP/IP between distributed
platforms and the mainframe.

CA IDMS Server now supports the next generation
of IP ' IPv6 ' along with IPv4, said
Greg Beedy, CA's product manager for IDMS
Server.

The server also offers external identity auditing,
he said. That feature helps database administrators
keep track of who is updating
data via the Web and distributed applications.
It supports auditing of Java 2 Platform, Enterprise
Edition systems through CA SiteMinder
Web Access Manager, which provides a centralized
management foundation to secure
Web applications and data.

The system is compatible with other identity
managers and stand-alone Java applications.
Support for primary- and foreign-key metadata
is another enhancement, Beedy said. That
feature enables CA IDMS Server to use standard
APIs that discover the
relationships between Structured
Query Language tables
in CA IDMS and between
network records based on
their primary- and foreignkey
definitions. It is useful for
development, business intelligence
and data warehousing
software tools that need
to know CA IDMS database
definitions.

CA IDMS Server now includes
a Microsoft Vista interface,
which will be useful if
the agency moves to the company's
newest operating system,
Hillyer said.

DHS is finishing beta testing
of CA IDMS Server r16.1,
and it will soon be deployed
in a production environment,
Hillyer said. The Justice Department,
which hosts ICE's
systems at its data center, is updating its SSL
and mainframe operating system to work with
JDBC drivers, he added.
Many organizations are putting Web front
ends on applications so users can access data
online, Hillyer added.

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