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IBM Updating z/OS for Java 7, Aims for the Cloud

IBM wants to give customers using its System z mainframes the ability to extend their important business applications to the Web, the cloud and mobile environments, the company says. Toward that end, the company has updated its Enterprise COBOL for z/OS compiler to support XML Server and Java 7.

IBM's z/OS is a 64-bit operating system for Big Blue's System z mainframes; Enterprise COBOL for z/OS is the compiler that allows line-of-business COBOL applications to execute on z/OS systems. COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), of course, is one of the oldest high-level programming languages.

Why would IBM invest in an upgrade that allows one of the oldest programming languages in use today to support one of the youngest? The fact is, many enterprises still have a big investment in COBOL code. About 60 percent of the world's business applications were written in COBOL, and an estimated 200 billion-plus lines of the code currently exist. Big Blue claims that nearly 15 percent of all new enterprise application functionality is actually written in COBOL.

"COBOL powers many of the critical systems people rely on every day," said Kevin Stoodley, CTO of IBM's Rational division and an IBM Fellow, in a statement. "With this new software, IBM is helping companies reduce operating costs and processing time associated with these applications while delivering new capabilities to take advantage of cloud, Web and mobile devices."

By supporting Java 7 and XML Server in Enterprise COBOL for z/OS v5.1, the company is effectively extending the life of this venerable system, IBM says, and making it compatible with new cloud-based architectures. Making the compiler Java- and XML-compatible also helps developers to integrate COBOL and Web-based business processes with web services, XML, Java and COBOL applications. The upgrade actually provides both XML and Java interoperability, including flexibility and control of the XML-generated documents.

The system offers support for new UTF-8 built-ins, and some debugging enhancements. It also supports unbounded tables and groups. Look also for a new level of z/OS System Management Facility (SMF) tracking capabilities.   

IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS v5.1 compiler works with the latest versions of IBM Customer Information Control System (CICS), Information Management System (IMS) and DB2 software, the company says. The upgrade should be available later this quarter.

Posted by John K. Waters on May 21, 2013