Micro Focus International Ltd. wants to make it easier for businesses to use their legacy mainframe systems in a Web-enabled world.
The company, with U.S. headquarters in Rockville, Md., on Tuesday released its Mainframe Express Enterprise Edition, a collection of software designed to enable businesses to take applications residing on legacy systems and extend them to the world of service-oriented architecture and Web services, as well as Microsoft Corp.s .NET and Sun Microsystems Inc.s J2EE environments.
The result is reduced development costs, increased business agility and minimized business risks, said Tony Hill, Micro Focus chairman and CEO.
"If you have a mainframe, you fundamentally have [two] decisions," Hill said. Businesses can either move off the mainframe or find a way to expose it to the Web-enabled world.
"Weve got some customers who say, Were running on a mainframe and it does a good job, but what wed like to do is manage it, reduce the costs of the mainframe [and] open up the systems to new technologies." Hill said.
Micro Focus and Microsoft Corp. in April announced an alliance designed to help businesses use the .NET framework to migrate their workloads from mainframes to systems running on the Intel architecture. The new offering is designed for those who want to stay with their mainframe systems.
Mainframe Express Enterprise Edition offers an integrated package of existing and new offerings, including analysis tools via the Mainframe Express IDE (integrated development environment) and automated application and component generation capabilities that allow for capturing mainframe programs in such environments as JavaBeans, .NET and XML, with no recoding.
Campus Partners, a student loan processing company based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has used the component generation offering from Micro Focus to present its IMS- and CICS-based data in a more attractive and accessible way on the Web, said IT Director John Elliott.
Campus Partners officials were happy with the OS390 system from IBM, but the information presented to employees and customers was outdated and difficult to use.
"The mainframe system itself is a very robust processor, very stable," Elliott said. "Weve done upgrades and patches to the software, but at its base, its an old green-screen system." Using the component generator feature, Campus Partners can now put its mainframe-generated data onto a more interactive and attractive Web page via XML, he said.
Micro Focus technology "offered us a very simple way to take a very dated legacy system and turn it into an e-business Web site," Elliott said.