Micro Focus, Microsoft partner on app modernization

Micro Focus and Microsoft are working to bolster efforts to enable Cobol-based mainframe applications to run on Windows and also plan a version of CICS for .Net.

Through the arrangement, Micro Focus will extend its Windows-based portfolio, including its Net Express, SOA Express, and Enterprise Server products to provide managed code-based 64-bit offerings that leverage several Microsoft technologies. These include Microsoft’s .Net Framework, SQL Server, Team Foundation Server, BizTalk Server, and System Center Operations Manager. Previously, Micro Focus enabled 32-bit solutions for Windows that did not incorporate Microsoft’s managed code concept.

“What we’re doing with Microsoft is we’re investing to deepen the platform integration between Windows and Micro Focus to enable customers to do this work in a much quicker and repeatable fashion,” said Peter Duffell, vice president of the Microsoft soft practice at Micro Focus. Users develop and test in a Visual Studio-based environment. “Cobol has a first-class place inside .Net,” he said.

Additionally, Microsoft and Micro Focus in 2009 plan to offer a CICS OLTP system, to be called CICS.Net, for Windows. Users could modernize CICS applications and move them onto Windows or keep them on a mainframe, Duffell said. With the modernization process, code is updated to remove errors and applications are fine-tuned.

Users want to continue leveraging Cobol applications but move them to Windows, according to Micro Focus. “There are 200 billion lines of Cobol,” in use today, Duffell said.

A Microsoft official in a prepared statement stressed ROI and modernization.

“By working with Micro Focus we are improving the value attained by mainframe customers choosing to go with the Windows platform for their modernization strategy, and improving the ROI helping them reduce the costs of their deployment efforts,” said Bill Hilf, general manager for Windows Server marketing at Microsoft, in a statement released by the two companies.

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