Micro Focus operates many IT businesses, but its heartland is still COBOL. A couple of news releases from the vendor showed that this week, tying the veteran's business programming language with Microsoft's nascent Azure and preserving of the value of what some call legacy information systems.
In the more recent announcement yesterday, Micro Focus used time at the COBOL WG4 standards meeting to pledge
...commitment to current and future COBOL standardization and modernization. As enterprises increase their focus on ROI from IT spend, Micro Focus urges organizations to modernize COBOL systems and applications to maximize their investments in existing IT systems.
The vendor which acquired COBOL vendor Acucorp last year went on to remind the world that "In short – it’s time to start viewing COBOL as an asset. As COBOL evolves, it continues to thrive alongside the latest technologies to ensure that core existing applications can benefit from the interoperability of object orientation, XML and service oriented architecture."
This evolution of a tool first used in the 1960s can be difficult, but Micro Focus shows no hesitation. Microsoft announced its Azure Services Platform, the company’s new cloud computing platform, at the Microsoft PDC conference this week. Micro Focus was already demonstrating at PDC how COBOL and Azure work together. This is the kind of gusto that can drive a migration: the ability to embrace new tech that captivates business owners. (Whether the 3000's native COBOL II can be made to work with Azure is left to the community's forward thinkers to tinker with.)
Cloud computing might smack a little of the old time-sharing model when the HP 3000 was first introduced. After all, IT directors of a certain age might remember when offsite services, via the x.25 standard, were sent and received through "the cloud." And yes, the cloud was a part of the template when computing had flow charts.
But everything old can be made a little newer again. Micro Focus said in its Monday release from the PDC
Micro Focus will enable secure, reliable and scalable enterprise COBOL applications to run on the Azure Services Platform. As part of an enterprise modernization strategy, organizations will be able to harness cloud computing to deliver Micro Focus expertise as software+services on the Microsoft platform. This announcement builds on the Micro Focus / Microsoft relationship, announced in July, further extending their joint technology roadmap.
For the first time, and demonstrated at PDC, Micro Focus enables 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. As corporations move to a single global operating model, the immediate availability and scalability of Azure accelerates deployment of enterprise applications that support the business, and reduces the investment required.