Old though they may be, legacy COBOL applications can still choke a processor. Veryant introduced vCOBOL on Tuesday as an alternative to its existing isCOBOL products, and as an alternative for enterprises with large-scale COBOL applications that need to be migrated off of mainframe hardware and onto cheaper servers.
vCOBOL is the result of Clerity’s investment in Veryant in 2008. Veryant’s isCOBOL migration product was aimed at small to medium-size businesses, and Clerity decided to help Veryant construct an enterprise option.

Dovid Lubin, vice president of technical operations at Veryant, said that the vCOBOL compiler and runtime are able to run COBOL code in a Java environment at a faster speed than isCOBOL. vCOBOL costs US$2,995 per developer per year, with other pricing based on the number of runtimes purchased.

isCOBOL was designed to be everything to everyone,” said Lubin. “It has lots of features for writing standalone COBOL applications. But for raw COBOL processing power, especially CPU-intensive applications, we needed to develop different, more optimized and streamlined code that would take full advantage of the processing power and minimize the overhead.

“We developed a new code generator, while the scanner and parser are the same. It ships a lot of the work isCOBOL does at runtime to the compiler.”

Lubin said the process of moving a legacy mainframe COBOL application into a Java environment via vCOBOL starts with a recompile.

“That’s the first step in transitioning from any COBOL [code] to vCOBOL,” he said. “vCOBOL is designed, first and foremost, to support all mainframe dialects of COBOL. Then there are some additional extensions for some Micro Focus COBOL and other COBOL features, but the focus has been on mainframe COBOL dialects.”