Phaseshift considered possible quick fix

Sterling Software Inc.’s enhanced version of VISION: Phaseshift may act as a good year 2000 quick fix in certain situations, but the technique it relies upon is not foolproof, according to two analysts.

VISION: Phaseshift is a language-independent software product for MVS and OS/390 systems that dynamically encapsulates programs and data so applications with two-digit date formats do not see the century roll over and operate unchanged from 1999 to 2000, according to the company.

Residing between the operating system and the program, VISION: Phaseshift intercepts data as it is read in to or written out from the program and automatically shifts any dates within the data forward or backward by a specified number of years. Dates are shifted by multiples of four or 28 years.

“It’s a pretty neat trick …and the advantage of a technique like that is you don’t have to change the data and you don’t have to change the actual program logic that does the comparison,” said Dick Heiman, analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

“As a lifeboat, as an emergency fix, it makes sense…because it [requires little] effort to implement it.”

VISION: Phaseshift supports MVS, QSAM, VSAM, BSAM, IMS/DB, DB2, CICS, IMS/DC and TSO.