BluePhoenix and Veryant Partner Up for COBOL Modernization
May 24, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Sometimes you want to modernize a COBOL application running on an AS/400 or mainframe, and sometimes you want to move those COBOL applications to another platform. Sometimes, you want to do a little of both. And that is why Veryant, one of the makers of cross-platform COBOL compilers that is not part of the Micro Focus collective, has teamed up with BluePhoenix, which sells legacy application modernization tools for mainframe and i boxes.
Under a partnership agreement inked between BluePhoenix and Veryant announced last week, BluePhoenix will be able to resell Veryant’s isCOBOL compilers and runtimes. The goal is to help companies port mainframe-based COBOL applications to more modern platforms, by which both companies generally mean Unix or Windows platforms, and to extend these applications with Java to update them for modern application interfaces, ditching the green screens.
“We believe that this new offering will change the COBOL landscape in the open platform market,” explained Arik Kilman, chief executive officer at BluePhoenix, in a statement announcing the deal. “Our partnership provides a very competitive solution. Customers will have the ability to move to a superior technology while significantly reducing the licensing and maintenance costs associated with running COBOL in open platform environments.”
Kilman, who just returned to the CEO post at BluePhoenix in April, said that BluePhoenix estimates the annual open systems COBOL market to be valued at more than $300 million, and that there were “a multitude of companies facing steep COBOL licensing and maintenance fees” who would look to the joint offering of isCOBOL and BluePhoenix modernization tools to help them cut costs. The two companies have already done a number of projects together.
According to Veryant, isCOBOL can access data stored in DB2/400 and the compiler itself is created in Java, which means it can run on any platform that supports a Java Virtual Machine; it has to be at the JDK 1.4.2 or higher level. The isCOBOL debugger and compiled code can run on any box that has a Java runtime of 1.4.2 or higher level. And as we pointed out last year, that means the Power Systems i platform can make use of isCOBOL to be a target platform for mainframe applications being migrated off mainframes, just like another other so-called “open system.” And, equally suitably, industries that use COBOL on the AS/400 and its successor platforms can port that COBOL code to isCOBOL and even use BluePhoenix tools to port the COBOL eventually to Java if that suits them. Not every company wants to get away from COBOL, so being able to rehost those apps using isCOBOL is important to BluePhoenix.
There are a lot of interesting possibilities for the niche of COBOL users on the i platform, or those who might want to move to it. You might laugh, but a small mainframe shop has a certain amount of affinity with a Power Systems i box, which looks like the bargain of the century compared to an IBM mainframe. And that is because it is.