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Author's profile photo Rob Verschoor

Q: How to demonstrate a DBMS migration? (A: with a video)

Last update:26-Jun-2019


One of my professional frustrations is that most non-IT people don’t seem to care about things that I find interesting.

For example, rarely do I meet interesting people at a party who don’t walk away when I start talking about the fascinations of converting one SQL dialect to another. I mean, are there really that many topics that are more fascinating?  (okay, I admit I’ll bow to string theory, nuclear fusion, and why it’s so much harder to loose weight when you’re over 45 years old).

For the SAP Advanced SQL Migration tool, we needed to find a way to demonstrate what it was that we were trying to do. That ain’t easy: I mean, when you migrate an application from one DBMS to another, then what do you get? Well, initially you had an application that was working fine…. and after it was migrated it is still working fine, except on a different database. For some reason, many people find that boring (as I mentioned earlier, this SQL migration stuff gets me really excited — but I guess that just says a lot about me). So how can we make this more visible?

Finally, I think we found a way to show what we’re trying to do.

Below is a link to a video recording of a demonstration of the SAP Advanced SQL migration tool.

The video shows a 2-tier, stored-procedure-based, transactional client-server application. The application is for a publications database, with entities like authors, titles and publishers (for those with a Sybase background: it’s loosely modeled on the ‘pubs2’ database). There’s some 2000 lines of PL/SQL involved.

The following steps are demonstrated:

  1. The video first demonstrates how the application works on an Oracle database, and how for example Oracle PL/SQL exceptions are used to handle error conditions.
  2. Then, SAP Advanced SQL Migration is executed against the Oracle application. The migration tool extracts the schema and all stored procedures, functions and packages from the Oracle server, and converts these to the SQLScript dialect for SAP Hana.
  3. The generated SQL code for creating the schema is executed against an SAP Hana server, and so are the converted SQL objects (e.g. stored procedures, packages, etc.)
  4. The data is copied from Oracle to Hana (through Hana SDA)
  5. The client application is disconnected from Oracle and reconnected to Hana, and,magically, the application works exactly the same, including the handling error conditions

The real important point in this demo is that no changes had to be made to either the generated SQL code or the client application: SAP Advanced SQL Migration performed a 100% correct and automatic conversion from Oracle to SAP Hana.
Admittedly, things are unlikely to be 100% correct and automatic when we would run the migration tool against a real-life customer application, but hey, that’s why it is a demo: to show what is potentially possible.

Now, watch the demo here (NB: the video was not edited, except for fast-forwarding over some longer-winding parts, as indicated):


If you’re a customer and you’re interested in exploring how to migrate custom applications away from Oracle, MS SQL Server, DB2, Teradata or Netezza, contact to discuss how SAP can help.

If you’re an SAP Partner Edge partner and you would like to get a copy of Exodus to use in migration projects with your customers, contact as well.


For completeness, here is an older, longer and generally somewhat more boring video of migrating the same application from Oracle to SAP/Sybase ASE:

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      Author's profile photo Leo Francia
      Leo Francia

      Thanks so much for this article and the demo video, Rob. This reminds me of "The Prestige" by Christopher Priest. The main difference in the Advanced SQL Migration is "The Turn" is not visible to the audience and "The Prestige" is sublime. Magical!

      "Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"."