RealTime IT News

CA Offers COBOL Migration Service

Software vendor Computer Associates , looking to modernize businesses systems still running COBOL applications, has launched the Legacy Renewal Solution for that goal.

Dubbed a services-and-software solution by the Islandia, N.Y., software company, the system comes at a time when 75 percent of the world's business data is still processed using the venerable and second-oldest high-level programming language, according to statistics provided by CA from the Tactical Strategy Group.

The company identifies the business processes in the application and extracts them using a knowledge engine (KE) based on S2T technology from EvolveWare. The KE uses a method of pattern recognition to interpret source code and generate target code. It is then converted using CA's AllFusion Gen utility, a model-based development tool that handles the process of generating the code and transforming it into J2EE- or .NET-based applications.

Michael Amundsen, CA director of product management, said that while much of the conversion and migration is automated, there's a good deal that is still handled by services technicians at CA. But the end result, a completely model-driven application, is worth the effort because the models can be re-used on other platforms.

"That's the magic [that], on the other end of this, is a differentiator," he said. "Once we have it in a modeling environment, we can then decide whether or not we want to target COBOL on the mainframe, C on the Unix platform, C# on the .NET platform, Java on the J2EE platform, or some combination thereof to distribution the application to meet the customers needs."

Besides the platform-independent benefits of a model-based application, officials say the ability of companies to extract and document business processes, then forward engineer them into a new application, helps meet process compliancy requirements within regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

There are many different utilities available that handle COBOL migration, like LegacyJ or NetCOBOL for .NET. But what separates CA's product from the many COBOL migration kits out there, said Thomas Murphy, vice president and analyst with research firm Meta Group, is the flexibility of the product.

Many companies today used mixed applications of J2EE- and .NET-based applications, he said, and the flexibility gives customers options to build their applications the way they want.

"That's one of the core pieces of this; that we're not just going from one place to another but trying to give people better options about what they move forward, how it is architected and what technology they get on the other side," he said.