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November 28, 2011

Micro Focus launches mainframe app migration smarts

Low risk alternative to rewriting PL/I is to 'lift and shift' to Linux, Unix or Windows

By Jason Stamper

IBM mainframe PL/I applications may have been around as long as anyone can remember, but Micro Focus says it’s now found an alternative approach to risky and costly rewriting of PL/I apps for those companies who find them a burden to maintain.

A legacy modernisation and migration firm, Micro Focus said its Server Enterprise Edition for PL/I is, "The first complete, cross-platform migration solution that enables mainframe PL/I applications to be moved, with minimal changes, from an IBM mainframe to Linux, Unix or Windows Server platforms, where they can be operated for a fraction of the cost."

The company said it’s a low risk alternative to rewriting or replacing applications, and that for many IT departments this means that they will be able to self-fund ongoing PL/I application modernisation by reinvesting a proportion of the annual operating cost savings, which can be as much as 70%, into modernisation and innovation.

The company has a number of financial services customers already using the technology in Germany, the UK and Italy. It’s not yet got sign off to name those companies.

"Organisations relying on PL/I application portfolios to run their businesses have had several options to explore for modernization," said Dale Vecchio, Research VP at Gartner. "Their choices have traditionally been to retain, retire, rewrite or replace. Re-hosting, a solution that emulates the mainframe environment on distributed platforms has historically applied to COBOL portfolios. For many organisations, re-hosting remains a good starting point for a broader mainframe modernisation strategy."

"Companies worldwide are continuing to increase their deployments of mission-critical applications on Windows Server and SQL Server," said Microsoft’s worldwide director of platform modernisation Bob Ellsworth. "The PL/I migration solution from Micro Focus can help companies that still depend on PL/I-based mainframe applications to move to the Microsoft application platform."

"PL/I applications running on IBM mainframes are nearly always business-critical. It is therefore crucial to provide a robust platform that helps organizations move applications with as few changes as possible," said Kevin Brearley, product management director at Micro Focus. "Our products mitigate risk, which is the number one concern of CIOs interested in exploring how migration can benefit their organisations."

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