COBOL is alive and well at IBM

Posted by Nick Farrell

IBM has been tinkering under the bonnet of its ancient COBOL server platform and updated the mainframe platform so it can host cloud based applications and services.

Big Blue's latest update adds XML Server as well as Java 7 capabilities to the System/z COBOL platform. According to the company this update will extend the overall lifespan of COBOL by regenerating it towards the cloud computing arena. It is not clear if this will work until there is an evil COBOL, which no one ever talks about, but appears by surprise and is played by John Hurt.

According to IBM, there a lot of COBOL about and it is used to power critical systems. It claims that the new update will help companies reduce cost and processing times but will also benefit them by enabling them to take advantage of cloud, mobile and web technologies.

IBM claims the update will speed up the performance of applications by up to 20 percent.

Kevin Stoodley, chief technology officer at IBM, said in a statement "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."

He thinks that the platform will be at par with other modern cloud platforms without requiring a complete re-write of applications. Companies and businesses, ranging from retail to finance to insurance, can use the power of mainframes to power mobile and web applications, he said.