Updating Your Mainframe Apps

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-04-06 Print this article Print

Software can help automate the migration of applications from mainframe computers to Web platforms.

To reduce costs and improve return on investment on their information systems, organizations have been moving mission-critical applications from mainframe computers to less expensive Web platforms such as .NET.

One hitch: These applications, such as customer order-entry or accounts receivable, are often based on the Cobol programming language and Customer Information Control System (CICS) transaction processing. Historically, mainframe migration requires an understanding of the application, developing accurate business rules and writing the program in another language, such as Java. We believe this is time consuming and increases the probability of introducing new errors.

An alternative: Reuse Cobol software with a tool that allows for automated conversion to Webified applications, thereby limiting the introduction of new errors. Vendors making these particular tools include Fujitsu Software, Intensity Software and Micro Focus.

Phil Murphy, principal analyst at Forrester Research, says the largest known migrations from small mainframes to Wintel platforms have ranged from several hundred million to one billion instructions per second. What about anything larger? Some members of the Mainframe Migration Alliance, an industry group, believe it can work. "That's the unknown sound barrier that has been untested," Murphy says.

Kanter, who holds an Ed.D. degree, is a CPA and associate professor at DePaul University's Graduate School of Business. Muscarello, a Ph.D., is associate professor at DePaul's School of Computer Science. They are co-authors of a study for Fujitsu Software on this topic.


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