IBM released a new compiler for mainframe applications written in COBOL. The company claims that its IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS v5.1 has resulted in application performance improvements of 10 to 20 percent, which could deliver processing efficiency and provide reduced operating cost of servers. IBM stated that 200 billion lines of COBOL code are still in use in banking, insurance, retail and human resources industries.
Besides the plain performance increase, the most interesting claim of its press release is that the new compiler would enable mainframe applications to run in the cloud and, as a result, on phones and tablets. "With this new software, IBM is helping companies reduce operating costs and processing time associated with these applications while delivering new capabilities to take advantage of cloud, web and mobile devices," said Kevin Stoodley, Rational chief technology officer and IBM Fellow, in a prepared note. There was no further detail on this claim.
According to IBM, the new software includes support for Java 7, new UTF-8 built-ins, debugging enhancements, and support for unbounded tables and groups, as well as a new level of z/OS System Management Facilities (SMF) tracking. IBM said the v5.1 compiler improves control over XML documents with the z/OS XML parser, allowing parsing workload to be off loaded to specialty engines to reduce operating costs.
Wolfgang Gruener is a contributor to Tom's IT Pro. He is currently principal analyst at Ndicio Research, a market analysis firm that focuses on and disruptive technologies. An 18-year veteran in IT journalism and , he previously published TG Daily and was editor of Tom's Hardware news, which he grew from a link collection in the early 2000s into one of the most comprehensive and trusted technology news sources.
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