IBM z Systems Supports Modern Languages, Tools, Optimization and Processes

z Systems modernization
Illustration by Martin O’Neill

z Systems servers offer better performance with each generation, but leveraging that performance isn’t as simple as just porting over the existing COBOL programs. Adjustments must be made in how the code operates on the machine. Recompiling code with one of the latest COBOL compilers released by IBM ( generates code that exploits the advanced hardware capabilities of z Systems architecture.

The problem for some users, however, is that recompile. The prospect of a major recompile can strike fear in the hearts of IT staff running legacy code. They may not know their source code well or even where all of it resides, and can’t afford to take down mission-critical applications. Even if they make it through the recompile, they still must contend with testing and validation.

“For many clients, the idea of migrating from their existing versions of COBOL to get the performance and other functional benefits is extremely daunting,” Hunt says. IBM responded with IBM Automatic Binary Optimizer (ABO) for z/OS.

A compiler converts a program’s source code into an intermediate representation and then into machine language. ABO instead works with and optimizes the intermediate representation, exactly preserving the logic and options as originally compiled. The approach doesn’t yield as much benefit as recompiling the source code, but it equips applications to run faster and more stably on the improved hardware. “Clients who couldn’t commit to a full migration can start unlocking some of the benefits of the newer hardware, and do it much more incrementally,” Hunt notes.

Application Discovery
For organizations that want to modernize their legacy code (e.g., for use on a hybrid cloud), IBM offers Application Discovery.

Often, the first challenge for developers is understanding the interdependencies and quality issues of software interacting across different platforms, runtime environments and languages. The Application Discovery software suite is designed to make that straightforward. Armed with these tools, developers can identify and update legacy applications to make them available for use on a hybrid cloud via API.

Read more about this solution in “”.

Successful Systems

Through its Linux and z/OS offerings, IBM enables developers to apply the most effective tools on a platform scalable enough to tackle today’s surging demand. Whether the task is building new applications, improving the performance of existing applications or leveraging existing applications on the hybrid cloud, the z Systems platform delivers the tools clients need for success.

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.

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