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October 30, 2008updated 19 Aug 2016 10:07am

COBOL in the cloud. No, seriously

While the jury is still out on just how big a change ‘cloud computing’ represents, Microsoft’s announcement of its Azure Services Platform will inevitably have the effect of bringing more credibility to the concept. Already companies like Google,

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While the jury is still out on just how big a change ‘cloud computing’ represents, Microsoft’s announcement of its Azure Services Platform will inevitably have the effect of bringing more credibility to the concept. Already companies like Google, Yahoo, IBM and Sun have made plenty of noise about cloud computing, but now the largest software firm in the world has started to outline its own cloud computing strategy.

Microsoft has said it expects to boost the number of data centers it operates by three times, its power usage by 15 times, and the Internet traffic going out of its data centers by nine-fold, as it hosts more of its own and third party applications on its Azure Services Platform.

But perhaps lost in the noise that this announcement generated was the news that one company, Micro Focus International, intends to enable COBOL applications to run on the Azure Services Platform. In other words, COBOL applications that run in ‘the cloud’. Now if that’s not a sign that ‘cloud computing’ will be an evolution of existing computing paradigms rather than a revolution, I don’t know what is…[click continue reading to learn why you want your COBOL apps in the cloud]…

Micro Focus, a British firm incidentally, said that hosting COBOL apps in the cloud could become part of an enterprise’s legacy modernisation strategy.

“Current experience clearly demonstrates the value of moving to an open, agile platform with operating costs decreasing by between 50 and 90% for each application,” said Stuart McGill, CTO at Micro Focus. “Cloud computing models enable further consolidation and virtualization of the single global operating model, and are expected to reduce future investment requirements by a similar factor.”

Micro Focus said it will enable corporations to move existing enterprise COBOL applications into the cloud either as private cloud services — available only to that company — or as cloud applications available to the marketplace as a whole.

“The Azure Services Platform helps industry partners like Micro Focus modernize applications by delivering the flexibility, choice, and control enterprises require,” said Robert Wahbe, corporate VP, Connected Systems Division at Microsoft. “We…[will] work with Micro Focus to help developers create applications in the cloud with familiar tools, less complexity, and an open platform.”

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I recently wrote a feature article on cloud computing, and whether the enterprise is ready for it, which you can read here.

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