Sector 7 Software

Sector 7 Software produces Database Management software for the HP3000 computer environment.

Their flagship product, , is marketed by Open Seas UK.


FLEXIBASE/IMAGE provides a comprehensive set of facilities for the management and analysis of IMAGE, TurboIMAGE and IMAGE/SQL databases on HP3000 computers. It provides systems development staff with database restructuring and test database creation functions. It provides operations staff with quick capacity changes, automatic capacity management and database repair functions. It provides system managers with database performance analysis and optimization tools. It provides computer auditors with database integrity checking and transaction analysis facilities. The functions listed below can be selected from the FLEXIBASE menu.


This facility provides statistics on the contents of a data base and other information that is useful for analysing database performance. Because it contains a rule-based expert system, it will automatically recommend improvements that can be made to a database such as reblocking, detail set repacking, or capacity changes where appropriate. This includes the calculation of optimal master set capacities.

The DIAGNOSE function performs only a serial read of the sets selected for analysis and it therefore runs quickly. At the same time as collecting the necessary statistics, it also performs a check on the format and integrity of the database including a check on the correctness of detail and master set chains.

The DIAGNOSE function is best used to scan databases regularly, to identify faults or to report on improvements that can be made in performance. Because it can scan many databases and analyze the statistics for you, even database experts can save a lot of time and effort with this facility.

CHECK Function

The CHECK function provides a unique capability that is not available in any other software product: namely the ability to check the logical integrity of a TurboIMAGE database.

You can use this facility to check that a database adheres to the rules required by the application design. It can check for logical data relationships which are not enforced by the way the application design is mapped onto the database design. For example: it can check that there are matching records on two datasets for a given item value, when those two records are not linked by a master-detail relationship.

The CHECK function can also report on many other useful parameters, such as: the sum of item values in a detail chain matches that of items in the master chain head; that the length of an item chain in one detail set is consistent with the length of the same item chain in another detail set; that the data item values in a set are unique (for example, that Invoice Numbers, Product Codes or Order Numbers are not duplicated); and that the sum of sub-item values equals the value of another related item.

By using this facility on a regular basis, it is easy to pick up logical integrity errors in the database caused by program errors, design defects, the misuse of QUERY, malicious corruptions, software aborts and many other sources of data error.

ANALYZE Function

The ANALYZE function reads and analyses IMAGE transaction log files. It can be used to provide answers to "who did what" questions and as a general transaction audit facility. It also provides statistics that are useful for database performance analysis.

Extensive enquiry and reporting options are available to the user so that only the relevant log records can be selected for analysis. For example selection can be on the basis of dataset accessed, user program, terminal device in use, data item changed, etc.

Comprehensive statistics on the actual usage of a database are provided which are stored and accumulated in a history file. Those datasets that receive the most write access can be identified as well as the active programs or users. Information collected by the ANALYZE function is also used in the DIAGNOSE module.

Both the ANALYZE and the DIAGNOSE functions can, on request, provide their statistical output in Lotus 1-2-3 format files, for downloading into spreadsheets on your PC.


This module provides quick capacity changes on master or detail datasets. It does in seconds or minutes what would otherwise take hours or days with a full DBUNLOAD/DBLOAD. If there is not sufficient work space on disc it will operate via a tape work file (unlike other products which would fail in this circumstance).

AUTOMATIC Capacity Function

This module provides for automatic management of dataset capacities. You can create a job that scans a range of databases (or datasets) and compares them against user defined parameters. These parameters are: the maximum percentage full to be permitted, the target percentage full and the minimum percentage full. If the actual number of entries exceed the maximum, a capacity change will be invoked by the job to reduce the percentage full to the target. Likewise if the actual number of entries is less than the minimum, a capacity change will be invoked to increase it to the target. If such a job is run regularly then the risk of exceeding dataset capacities can be avoided.

A formula for the target capacity can also be specified; for example based on the entries in other sets or the historic maximum number of records (the "high water mark").

REPACK Function

This feature enables a detail dataset to be reloaded in primary path sequence so that speed of access to the dataset is optimized - this can provide spectacular improvements in application response times and throughput.

REPAIR Function

The purpose of this module is to correct any broken chains that have arisen in access paths to detail datasets. Broken chains can arise occasionally due to a variety of hardware and software problems.


This function enables an existing database to be transformed into a new structure or format. The changes that can be made include the following:

- Changing the type or length of a data item.
- Changing the position of data items within an existing dataset.
- Adding or deleting items in existing datasets.
- Changing the position of sets within a database.
- Adding or deleting datasets.
- Renaming datasets or data items.
- Adding or deleting access paths.
- Changing the capacity of a dataset.
- Changing database passwords or blocking factors.

All possible changes that may be required to an IMAGE or TurboIMAGE database are incorporated. This includes changes that cannot be done with standard Hewlett Packard DBUNLOAD/DBLOAD utility programs or other database management products.

TRANSMUTE automatically identifies the need for data conversion and will retain the meanings and values of all data present in the data base during the conversion. The TRANSFER function is like the TRANSMUTE function but in this case the data is moved from one database to another at the same time as the data is changed. The changes made are determined by the differences between the originating and receiving databases. The function can be used for creating a new version of a database while retaining the original database.


This function enables the value of a data item to be globally changed throughout an existing IMAGE database. The change will be made irrespective of whether the item is an ordinary item, a sort item or a search item. When an item is a search item it is impossible to make such a change in QUERY and it is tedious to have to write a program to make such changes.

ERASE Function

The ERASE function removes all records from a dataset and leaves the dataset empty. It does this in a fraction of the time that QUERY or other utility programs take to delete all records.

CREATE Function

The CREATE function can be used to create a new, cut-down version of a database. It copies a database but selects a limited number of records. Records can be selected on a random basis (eg. 20% of all records) or on the basis of a specific data item value (or range of values).

All associated records in other datasets are copied so the new database is a logical subset of the old one. This function is particularly useful for creating small test databases but it also has other applications in the manipulation of operational databases.

ARCHIVE Function

The ARCHIVE function is designed to extract a selected subset of data from a production database into a smaller, archive one. The archive database can then be kept separately, so improving response times on the production database, or stored to tape to save disc space. ARCHIVE extracts entries from a "key" dataset according to user-specified selection criteria. Because ARCHIVE also follows the search paths from each qualifying entry, to extract any entries in other datasets that are associated with it, you can be certain that the archived subset will be logically coherent. Once extracted, archived entries will be deleted from the production database (it is possible to
exclude selected datasets from the deletion process).

Other Functions

FLEXIBASE can rename an existing database in seconds, FLEXIBASE can also quickly copy an entire database. The DECOMPILE function will generate a new schema file from an existing database by inspection of the database root file. UNLOAD and LOAD functions provide quick and easy tools to dump the contents of a dataset to a flat file, or to load
a dataset from an existing flat file.

Third Party Indexing

FLEXIBASE functions support the IMAGE interfaces to Third Party Indexing (TPI) products (OMNIDEX and SUPERDEX) designed to improve database access times and functionality. The DIAGNOSE function will indicate which indexes are applied to a database. Where necessary, functions which change the order of entries in a dataset (such as REPACK) will automatically call the appropriate TPI routines to rebuild the set's indexes.

Support for IMAGE/SQL

Using FLEXIBASE/IMAGE, it is possible to modify an IMAGE database, even when it is attached to a DBEnvironment. In the simplest case, where no changes have been made to the default, the TRANSMUTE function will detach the database before making any changes, and re-attach it automatically once the change is completed. Where extra configuration changes have been made (for example, column splits or extra views), these will be detected and reapplied after the change. Extra utilities are also provided to allow IMAGESQL log files, and SQL statements to be generated.

ALLBASE/SQL DBEnvironments can be managed using the separately purchasable FLEXIBASE/SQL product. See the separate data sheet for further information on FLEXIBASE/SQL.

Multiple Language Capability

FLEXIBASE includes English, French, German and Spanish language files for all messages and prompts. Multiple languages can be run concurrently by different users.

On-line Help and Set Information

You can obtain assistance before replying to any prompt within FLEXIBASE by simply entering a question mark. You can also obtain lists of databases in the local group, lists of sets within a database, or lists of items within a set whenever required. The set display also gives a handy summary of the set capacities and percentage full.

Security, Control and Reporting

FLEXIBASE operates within the security constraints of IMAGE and the MPE operating system. It will only allow database access and update capability to those users with adequate authority. All functions provide a complete audit trail of all changes made to a database.

Warranty and Support

FLEXIBASE is warranted for a period of 3 months from date of purchase. Support is provided from the offices of Open Seas or through local distributors. Regular updates of the software are supplied to all users who pay a small annual support fee. A comprehensive manual describing the FLEXIBASE software is supplied to all purchasers of the software.

Software & Hardware Environment

FLEXIBASE/IMAGE is designed for use on IMAGE, TurboIMAGE or IMAGE/SQL databases on the Hewlett Packard 3000 range of computers running the MPE/V or MPE/iX operating systems. On MPE/iX systems the software uses Native Mode code.

Ordering Information

For further information please contact:

Open Seas UK Ltd
The Linde Building
7 Nuffield Way
Abingdon . Oxon
OX14 1RJ
Tel: +44 (0)1235 537391
Fax: +44 (0)1235 535168
Web Site:
This office can also provide details of local distributors in other countries and localities. See separate price list for the current purchase price of the product. Rental terms are also available on request. A free demonstration tape and manual of the FLEXIBASE software can be supplied to enable prospective purchasers to evaluate the product.

IMAGE, TurboIMAGE and IMAGE/SQL are trademarks of Hewlett-Packard.
OMNIDEX is a trademark of Dynamic Information Systems Corp.
SUPERDEX is a trademark of Bradmark Technologies Inc.
FLEXIBASE is a trademark of Open Seas SA OP9902.

The Humber Ridge Co Ltd,
Humber Ridge
Teignmouth, Devon, TQ14 9TE
Fax (+44) 01626-770838

Updated Tue May 29, 2001 5:19pm EDT