Microsoft, Micro Focus lead mainframe migration effort

Micro Focus, Rockville, Md., and Microsoft Corp. have agreed to a joint effort aimed at helping IT organizations migrate mainframe applications onto Windows-based systems.

The agreement calls for creating a Mainframe Migration Alliance that includes a variety of IT product and services suppliers, said Mike Gilbert, Micro Focus' VP of marketing "This alliance brings together for the first time platform, technology and service partners to provide a comprehensive and effective response to the needs of IT users who face increasing and unacceptable costs and risks simply to run their businesses on legacy platforms," he explained.

Officials said the plan calls for Microsoft and Micro Focus to expand membership in the coming months with firms that share the view that legacy applications are valuable assets that can be migrated to take advantage of the lower-cost Windows platform.

Prior to this alliance, Gilbert said IT officials had a number of choices of action in dealing with their mainframe systems: 1) remain on the mainframe and accept high costs and low flexibility; 2) implement a packaged application such as CRM or ERP to replace existing business applications; 3) "rip and replace" the legacy applications with newer technologies like Java or .NET; 4) transform legacy information by changing the code base; or 5) modernize the legacy information by making the smallest necessary changes to the code base.

The Mainframe Migration Alliance builds on legacy modernization approaches, Gilbert said, and can further maximize the platform support available for legacy applications. Micro Focus calls this "lift and shift" migration, which is said to enable low-risk migration of Cobol/CICS applications to a modern, open and extensible platform, he said.

"This is the lowest risk approach possible," Gilbert contended. Customers, he added, can benefit from low-cost, high-performance Windows platforms and the ability to more quickly extend and reuse their applications in new business initiatives using tools like Visual Studio and the .NET framework.

About the Author

Lana Gates is a freelance writer based in Mesa, Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at


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