An institute of study and prevention of Cancer in Italy migrates their healthcare application to Virtual Servers with COBOL-IT














Online and Batch Programs



COBOL-IT® Compiler Suite Enterprise Edition

COBOL-IT® Developer Studio



Solaris Hardware


IBM Informix C-ISAM

Micro Focus COBOL



VMWare V-Series

Enterprise Linux x86 Servers


IBM Informix C-ISAM

COBOL-IT Compiler Suite Enterprise Edition



Micro Focus COBOL






ESTAR (Regional body of Technical-Administrative Support)




An institute of study and prevention of cancer moved from Micro Focus to COBOL-IT in just two months, while modernizing their hardware platforms. They positioned themselves for future growth on Virtual Platforms. 

“When we were faced with huge costs increases from Micro Focus, HTWC provided us with the COBOL-IT solution, which was 100% compatible, satisfied all of our requirements, and met all of our commercial requirements.” Project Manager

Experts in Oncology and Healthcare Services for Cancer patients

The mission of the institute, which has been a leader in the field of cancer prevention for over 40 years, is to “promote, produce, measure and study primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of cancer, within the public health service.”.

Located in Florence, Italy, its institutional activities include cancer screening activities, physical and psychological rehabilitation and follow-up of cancer patients, attività di senologia clinica;attività di laboratorio di prevenzione oncologica;laboratory activities for the prevention of cancer, attività di ricerca e valutazione epidemiologica in ambito di prevenzione primaria e secondaria dei tumori;attività di aggiornamento professionale nell’ambito della prevenzione oncologica per le aziende del servizio sanitario regionale e nazionale;professional development activities in the field of cancer prevention and assessment of new technologies and oncology quality of care.

In 2014, it employed 136 employees, and provided over 18M€ in services for the Italian Public Health Service.


The HealthCare Software Application

The Software Application is comprised of a combination of Transaction Processing programs and Batch procedures that were developed internally.  The Application is designed to manage Cancer Screenings, maintain clinical records, and support all internal administrative activities.   The application was originally developed in 1980, and has been in continuous use since then, with regular maintenance and functional updates to accommodate changes in the administration of healthcare services, and necessary adaptations for legal considerations.

The Appplication is maintained by 2 in-house developers using HTWC development tools for Xframe and ICON as well as the COBOL-IT Developer Studio.  The Application cosists of about 800 Transaction Processing modules and 900 batch programs totalling over 1.5M lines of code and serving over 100 users.


The Decision to use COBOL-IT

After the institute made the decision to upgrade their Sparc Cluster running Sun Solaris 5.8, and host their application in a Virtual Environment, they discovered that Micro Focus would impose very high cost increases on them.  It was evident at that point that continuing to use Micro Focus was not a viable option.

The institute consulted with HTWC, and learned that HTWC was Certified for use with COBOL-IT, and that the transition from Micro Focus to COBOL-IT could be made seamlessly with no effect on any of the other elements of their Solution Stack.   They reviewed their requirements that source code not be modified, and that performance of both the Online and Batch processes be equal or better than the performance of these processes using Micro Focus.  Finally, they reviewed the cost differential, which was considerable.

With all of their requirements met, the institute elected to proceed with the move to COBOL-IT.  It was not necessary to consider any other alternatives, as HTWC was able to demonstrate that replacing their Micro Focus compiler with a COBOL-IT compiler would have no impact on any of the other components in their solution stack.  COBOL-IT demonstrated a very high compatibility with the Micro Focus compiler, and it was clear that the COBOL-IT solution offered the combination of minimal costs and minimal risks that they required.

COBOL-IT was able to satisfy all of the technical and commercial requirements. The migration was completed in just over two months.


The Challenges

The biggest challenges were related to the transition from a Sparc cluster running Sun Solaris 5.8 to IBM x3650 servers running Centos 7.  The virtual platform on which the institute now hosts their application is running VMWare VSphere 5.1.  Development and Production Servers are hosted on separate virtual servers.

Issues related to data migration from a big endian to a little-endian platform were handled by the migration partners.  “COBOL-IT helped with the development of the new build and run scripts, use of the EXTFH interface, and development of the COBOL-IT compiler configuration file.  All questions were answered promptly with detailed explanations and as a result there were no problems.  The COBOL-IT solution provided 100% equivalent functionality to the original solution and there was no business disruption during the migration.”


“Users of HTWC Solutions have a unique opportunity to achieve great cost savings in a move to COBOL-IT.  COBOL-IT is certified by the entire HTWC solution set, and the move can be made with very low risks and very low costs in almost all cases.”

Stephane Croce, CEO of COBOL-IT


ChallengeSolutionCustomer Benefits
High costs of new licenses on Virtual PlatformsAvoid new license costs with COBOL-IT.Move to modern platforms at lower costs ensures resources for continuing modernizations.
Keep performanceTake advantage of optimizations provided by COBOL-IT.Maintain existing batch windows and keep the performance the application users appreciate.
Migrate without code changesLeverage Certification of COBOL-IT products with HTWC toolset.Customers resume using migrated application with 100% preservation of functionality.



Mauro Manzato