Paris, March, the 3rd of 2017
Governments don’t work with just anyone. They’re among the most conservative businesspeople in the world, given their charge over the well-being of so many people, and that every dollar they spend comes from hard-working taxpayers. Compliance and trust drive everything they do.
The IT world further compounds these needs, as a single mistake could hinder millions of people from getting important services and take time and money to fix. Much of their data is as critical as it is sensitive. The flow of data on medical, financial or criminal records simply can’t stop. Even with these strict needs, two major government agencies—the California Department of Justice and the US Department of Veterans Affairs—both found a trusted partner in COBOL-IT.
The California Department of Justice oversees the entire justice system of the country’s largest state, with over 38 million people and such cities as Los Angeles and San Francisco. That role involves sensitive data like criminal and civil records, lab work, firearms use and distribution and jail inmates. Third party integrators are banned from accessing it off-site out of necessity, but COBOL-IT’s compiler helped make it a straightforward process.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs employs over 345,000 people on its own with an annual budget of $182 billion as of 2017. As an executive-level organization, the head of the VA is appointed directly by the president of the United States and approved by the Senate. They describe COBOL-IT as mature, stable technology, compliant to their standards with no known vulnerabilities.
For both, the biggest motivator was cost. Trimming one’s IT budget usually comes with the implication that the cost is made up in dropped features or technical debt. But COBOL-IT proved it met (or exceeded) the capabilities of comparable compilers but for a fraction of what they would charge.
For the VA, cost was so important to them that it’s what started their project in the first place. They had COBOL batch programs running in an Oracle Tuxedo environment, handled by Micro Focus. As with many organizations that talk to COBOL-IT, they found Micro Focus to be too expensive and sought to migrate to something more affordable.
They found that COBOL-IT was compatible with both Oracle Tuxedo and the Sun SPARC operating system the servers were running on. At the same time, working with it didn’t feel too different from Micro Focus software, making the adjustment easier. They also noted that ESI Services, LLC (ESI) and Practical Transitions (PracTrans), whom integrated COBOL-IT as close partners, provided excellent support during the proof-of-concept, which proved true throughout the entire contract. To top it off, COBOL-IT is based on an open source stack which simplifies further support.
For the California Department of Justice, COBOL-IT’s compiler was part of a large, multi-year migration from a Unisys OS2200 mainframe. The DoJ had legacy code running on ClearPath Dorado servers that looked to be decades old. Running the code on this system was expensive on its own, and supporting it took legacy programmers who were becoming harder and harder to find as they aged.
Their migration would consist of rewriting and replacing the applications running on the Dorado servers to instead run on modern Linux systems, with the goal of decommissioning the old mainframe. But more importantly, they had to finish the project before they would have to renew their licenses with Unisys. A year before that happened, they knew they wouldn’t be able to finish in time and brought in some third-parties to help, including COBOL-IT, ESI, PracTrans, MSS and Synthesis.
Eighty two of the applications were written in COBOL. Using COBOL-IT’s compiler, migrating them became a simple, straightforward process barring only some minor complications with the legacy application interfaces that were quickly solved. Following that, all the software was migrated along with Unisys data files.
It all took just six months, finishing just in time to let the license fees lapse on the Dorado servers. The DoJ reports that they lowered their costs significantly, and are now more agile, able to take advantage of the modern features of Linux and Oracle. The system has since been stable and more performant. In their own words, the Department of Justice “…now has a development path for the future, unencumbered by the old, difficult-to-maintain legacy assets.”
The VA and California DoJ join a growing list of organizations eager to bring down cost while simplifying and often modernizing their COBOL-driven systems with COBOL-IT. Such ranks already include Verifone, Axway, Pepsico, Carrefour, the French Ministry of Finance and hundreds of others. Its tools are built to work with widely-used, often open source tools. They support agile and DevOps practices from their core, adding ease not only to the modernization process but to any ongoing or future maintenance. And their integration partners have proven they can get the job done not only quickly, but to incredible standards. For managing any COBOL code, legacy or not, COBOL-IT is quickly becoming the most trusted choice.
COBOL-IT is the first company to offer a high quality, professional COBOL compiler and a foundation to Digital Business Enablement and Agile IT, to large enterprises seeking to migrate, deploy and maintain their COBOL applications at the lowest cost and lowest risk.
Founded in 2008, COBOL-IT has rapidly assumed a position of leadership in the global COBOL community, migrating hundreds of customers, with hundreds of thousands of users and hundreds of millions of lines of COBOL code.
With a robust product suite and a proven migration process, the company provides solutions that allow clients to preserve the functionality of their strategic COBOL applications, with superior performance, agility and a significant reduction in costs. Technical Hubs located around the world allow COBOL-IT to guarantee that all of our clients have access to expert, responsive technical support. Partnership agreements between COBOL-IT and the leading providers of technical services and software solutions in Open Systems ensure that moving to COBOL-IT can be accomplished at low cost and low risk everywhere in the world.
ESI Services, LLC (ESI), formerly EDP Systems, Inc., was originally founded in 1973 in Tallahassee, Florida, as a provider of tools and services to users of Burroughs (now Unisys) equipment. Over its 44 years in North and South America as well as Europe, ESI has grown and evolved as a provider of IT-based business solutions, particularly in the area of COBOL and the migration of COBOL-based systems to current technology. ESI has been the North American distribution and technical hub for COBOL-IT since 2010.