Micro Focus Brings 64-bit COBOL to AIX 5L

Now with Oracle

It’s a 64-bit world, but some developers have been trapped in the 32-bit dark ages. Legacy development specialists Micro Focus International Ltd. hopes to shine some light on COBOL developers.

On Tuesday, Micro Focus released a 64-bit version of its Server Express COBOL development platform for IBM’s AIX 5 operating system. The company has already issued 64-bit versions for the HP-UX, Compaq Tru64, and Solaris Unix flavors.

Irving Abraham, Unix product manager at Micro Focus, says Micro Focus waited for the release of AIX 5 to adapt Server Express to 64-bit environments. Like many Unix variants, AIX can run in both 32- and 64-bit modes.

“The mass appeal in a 64-bit COBOL is in data handling,” Abraham says. The larger address space allows larger chunks of data to move through the application, possibly improving performance.

In addition, 64-bit COBOL applications interact more efficiently with 64-bit applications, simplifying integration tasks. Abraham says getting 32-bit applications to work with 64-bit databases is difficult. “There has to be some switching and massaging of data,” he says.

According to Micro Focus, Oracle Corp. has tested Server Express with its Oracle 9i database on AIX. The new product takes advantage of the Oracle Call interface.

Abraham says some customers are using Server Express to move COBOL applications off legacy platforms to Unix systems. While he downplayed mainframe migrations, he said users are porting applications that ran on Wang minicomputers and HP3000 to Unix environments.

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.