If you’re running COBOL applications, chances are you have tens of thousands of hours invested in the mission critical software that runs on your legacy mainframe. Typically, these applications have been around for decades. Over the course of time, they’ve been tailored to meet the changing needs of the organization. That process often results in greater complexity, so rewriting or replacing that software may not be a realistic option.

Converting COBOL to Java is generally a good alternative for companies aiming to modernize their mainframe applications. This automated approach allows applications to be migrated to a modern programming language, using modern databases and platforms that a new generation of developers can more easily maintain going forward. Migrating COBOL to Java creates an opening for innovation that simply doesn’t exist with legacy platforms.

Java is one of the most widely used programming languages today and it’s the language of choice for many IT programs in schools and universities across the globe. Migrating COBOL to Java allows for the use of modern IDEs, software libraries, and modern software architectures. By converting COBOL to Java, you can take advantage of cloud services and scale your applications on demand.

COBOL to Java Migration Using the Astadia FastTrack Factory

In the past, if you wanted to refactor COBOL to Java, there were limited options available for automation. Historically, COBOL refactoring tools have required a great deal of manual editing and exhaustive testing to ensure that the migrated system is functionally equivalent to the original, and that overall system performance is adequate. In other words, typical COBOL to Java refactoring tools can help speed up the process, but they still require an intensive focus on the details of the refactored code.

Fortunately, there’s now a new option available. At Astadia, we offer fully automated migration and testing that includes COBOL to Java conversion, as well as database migration and testing. We do this by using the Astadia FastTrack Factory, a powerful software platform with 100% automation capabilities, which dramatically accelerates mainframe modernization projects while also reducing risk to near zero.

The FastTrack Factory is a complete mainframe-to-cloud migration solution that accelerates and ensures successful outcomes, maintaining functional equivalence and providing ample opportunities for exhaustive testing before going live on the migrated system. That gives stakeholders 100% confidence in the outcome.

FastTrack Factory white paper


COBOL to Java Conversion Tools

Every organization is different, and every migration is different. Each client’s system has its own unique development and design standards, patterns, and frameworks. The FastTrack Factory accommodates these differences while also delivering 100% automation of code conversion, database migration, as well as functional and performance testing processes.

To accomplish this, we have designed the FastTrack Factory to be highly configurable, with language parsers, analyzers, rule-based converters, and generators that work together to perform complex transformations on existing source code. These components can be easily configured to produce optimal code as you migrate from COBOL to Java. If your organization has implemented specific standards for coding, Astadia’s code conversion tools can be configured to incorporate those standards into its transformed Java application code.

The FastTrack Factory consists of five primary components:

  • CodeTurn – Provides automatic source code conversion. CodeTurn supports many different source languages, such as COBOL, Natural, and CA ADS. The most typical target languages are COBOL, Java, C# or.NET.
  • DataTurn - Provides specialized features for various source databases, such as Adabas, IDMS, Db2,IMS, VSAM, ISAM, and target databases such as SQL Server, Oracle, or Db2. The target database can be accessed natively without restrictions.
  • TestMatch - Automated Record and Replay testing for online and transaction-based applications such as3270, MQ, and EntireX. TestMatch provides functional tests, performance tests, and stress tests.
  • DataMatch - Automated testing for data-centric and batch programs. The tool compares databases after running batch job on mainframe, with after running converted batch job on the target platform.
  • CobolBridge – A VSCode based IDE that allows for the editing and debugging of COBOL while running Java or C# in the back end. COBOLBridge uses CodeTurn and COBOL tools as part of the 'build' process, producing maintainable Java or .NET. Customers can take time to retrain COBOL developers and then decide to start maintaining Java/C#.

Licensing the Factory: An Industry First

Many clients choose Astadia to help them develop a COBOL to Java conversion plan, then to execute it using our automation tools. However, if you prefer to deliver the project internally, you can license the FastTrack Factory and do it yourself. This is a critical factor to consider as you evaluate potential migration partners; can you license their software, or are you obligated to engage their services?

This is an important question, even if you prefer to engage professional services to execute your project. Why? Because in order for us to offer the FastTrack Factory as a licensed product, we must make it possible to operate the solution and execute a COBOL to Java conversion with minimal manual intervention.

Other providers in the mainframe modernization market offer tools that can only automate 70-80% of the process. The remaining 20-30% of the development work must be done manually, which introduces project risk. This creates significant challenges and costs, whereas the FastTrack Factory offers a complete, fully automated solution, delivering predictable, proven results.

COBOL to Java Migration Strategy

Mainframe shops are facing increasing pressures to modernize their core business systems. This is being driven by escalating license and maintenance costs, a worsening shortage of mainframe talent (including COBOL programmers), and a strong need for increased agility and innovation. These three factors are compelling mainframe customers to seek alternatives and plan their COBOL to Java migration strategy.

Learn more: What about my COBOL programmers when migrating to Java?

In the past, mainframe modernization projects were lengthy, expensive, and came with substantial risks. Astadia’s FastTrack technology is a game-changer because it shortens project cycles, reduces costs, and decreases risk to nearly zero. The FastTrack Factory is the only fully automated migration software platform on the market, built on methodologies developed over 20 years and refined through the course of hundreds of mainframe migration projects.

If you'd like more information about Astadia’s COBOL to Java conversion tools or the comprehensive capabilities of our FastTrack Factory, we'd love to hear from you. Please fill out this form to get started.

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