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Linux COBOL solution joins Speedware set

Linux might well be the solution that's the best fit for the remaining 3000 sites needing to migrate, but without enough budget. While Micro Focus has got the greatest mind-share, and Fujitsu also runs on the open source environment, a fresh offering through Speedware presents another target for COBOL II code.

"COBOL-IT is to COBOL what Red Hat is to Linux," said Speedware's president Andy Kulatowski. "By offering our legacy customers the option of moving to open source COBOL, we give them the opportunity to substantially save on licensing costs while still benefiting from enterprise grade support and services."

The compiler and development suite comes with a raft of modules: a Compiler Suite, Developer Studio and pre-compilers for MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL Server. Speedware's agreement with COBOL-IT lets it distribute "an enterprise-class open source COBOL in the North American market and to provide North American based support to COBOL-IT users." Speedware will provide 24/7 technical support, re-hosting and system integration services, and training.

The Speedware-COBOL-IT joint release notes the enduring legacy of COBOL, which many companies do not consider legacy technology for their business apps. "According to various estimates, COBOL remains the language of over 60 percent of the programs used daily by enterprises around the world," it states. "Mainframe sites in particular have the highest cost structures and the largest collections of COBOL programs. These sites can benefit the most from the professional tools that will allow them to access the cost savings available to users of open systems and open source products."

Speedware has entered the IBM legacy modernization market, so mainframes are in its sights. But HP 3000s have the highest percentage of servers running COBOL, by our estimate. Open source solutions with professional support are scoring higher as replacements. Like the OpenBravo ERP solutions piloted by The Support Group, COBOL-IT runs a subscription program for support plans.

More and more organizations are opting for non-proprietary but professionally supported open source technologies such as Linux and MySQL. Open source has proven itself as a viable strategy to reduce and contain operational costs, and to avoid being locked in to one vendor. An open source solution for COBOL workloads allows sites to take advantage of the open systems world without having to pay premium prices for proprietary COBOL compilers.

Calling Speedware the compiler's "newest technical hub," COBOL-IT Regional Director Don Estes said the company is a natural partner. "With their modernization expertise, SCP-certified support organization, and impressive history of successful projects, Speedware and COBOL-IT together can secure the bottom line advantages of open systems and open source for our North American customers."