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Loyalty Pacific transitions to Open Source with COBOL-IT Compiler Suite

 

INDUSTRY :

Retail Loyalty

 

APPLICATION :

Call Center and Batch Jobs

 

COBOL-IT Solutions:

COBOL-IT Compiler Suite Enterprise Edition

 

PREVIOUS ENVIRONMENT:

HP 9000 PA-RISC

 

NEW ENVIRONMENT:

HP Itanium64 COBOL-IT® Compiler Suite Enterprise Edition v2.6

 

PREVIOUS COBOL:

Fujitsu COBOL

Loyalty Pacific upgraded their aging HP PA-RISC servers to Ita- nium64 servers. With their existing COBOL vendor being unable to accommodate the upgrade, Loyalty Pacific began looking for COBOL providers that could substitute a Development and Run- time System, without making any changes to the application. The COBOL-IT Compiler Suite provided all the functionality, perfor- mance, and interoperability required, and COBOL-IT’s technical services are highly recommended.

loyalty Pacific is located in Melbourne, Australia, and administers FlyBuys, which is Australia’s largest shopping rewards program, providing over 8 million cardholders with ways to earn points at some of Australia’s leading brands – including Coles, NAB, Target and Kmart, which can then be redeemed for over 800 different reward choices.

The FlyBuys Loyalty Management System (LMS) consists of an interactive Call Center, and a number of Batch Jobs. The application was developed initially in 1994, and currently comprises over 400,000 lines of code. Programs interoperate with modules written in Java and “C”.

Altogether, the migration from Fujitsu COBOL to COBOL-IT took 6 months in planning and development, and was finally completed in a 12-hour production cutover.

For Loyalty Pacific, compatibility was critical, both to make the migration seamless for end-users, and to minimize the effort on their development team. A key requirement was that the Call Center application be preserved, with all of its functionality intact. The change could not be perceivable to the end-user. Additionally, existing COBOL batch jobs had to run in pre-defined time windows, putting performance at a premium. Interoperability with “C”, Java, and the Oracle database was required. Finally, budgetary limits made it imperative that the solution have no runtime license cost.

A number of alternatives were considered, including NetCOBOL, TinyCOBOL, OpenCOBOL, and COBOL-IT. COBOL-IT emerged as the COBOL of choice, with the highest compatibility, the best performance, and the most effective technical support team.

Running with COBOL-IT, the LMS application passed all function tests. Performance benchmarks requiring response times of less than 1 second were achieved on all Call Center screens. Equivalent or better performance for all batch programs was achieved. Requested functionality enhancements were turned around in a matter of days by the COBOL-IT support team, with a satisfactory conclusion.

surmounting challenges with the help of CoBol-it’s technical team

COBOL compatibility was tested on both the front-end, where the LMS application makes extensive use of function keys in the user interface, and on the back-end, where the development team had to familiarize themselves with new environment variables, and compiler flags governing the location and resolution of data file names.

All screen behaviors had to be tested, including function key mappings, and some source code modifications were needed. The COBOL-IT support staff was very helpful in reducing the time taken to identify and resolve differences in behavior.

COBOL-IT emerged as the COBOL of choice, with the highest compatibility, the best performance, and the most effective technical support team.

Finally, the Loyalty Management System requires the interfacing of “C” with COBOL, programs, the interfacing of COBOL programs with Java services, and interaction with an Oracle 11g database. Obstacles that had to be addressed included the installation of a new “C” compiler, and the crafting of new makefiles for the application. This was accomplished by the FlyBuys development team, with help from the COBOL-IT support staff. Interaction with a CURSES library for screen manipulation had to be configured and tested.

In the end, the stated goal of fully compatible functionality, and a fully seamless integration was achieved.

With COBOL-IT, loyalty Pacific was able to proceed with their upgrade to integrity64 servers and oracle11g, and completely preserve their legacy application.

“With COBOL-IT technology, the existing COBOL application and data were safely re-hosted to HP Integrity64 Servers running Oracle 11g, and interoperating with programs written in “C” and Java. With this solution, Loyalty Pacific was able to avoid the cost, risks, and time associated with a rewrite or a port of their application to a new Operating System. Avoiding the need to re-engineer existing, effective business processess lowers the Total Cost of ownership, and presents a very high value proposition.”

 

ChallengeSolutionCustomer Benefits
To identify and implement a version of COBOL that is supported on Itanium based servers that would cause minimal impact to costs, efficiency and minimize risk.Evaluated and shortlisted COBOL-IT as the most suited solutionMinimal porting effort, minimal risk and minimal costs.
Removed the need to look at a complete change of hardware and software platforms which would have caused additional risks and very high implementation costs.

 

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