Bull looks to move legacy Cobol and C apps to a Java environment

The company says its LiberTP transaction processing engine will allow businesses to move from Cobol or C to Java at their own pace

Bull has unveiled a new transaction processing application platform, Libert TP, which it says will allow businesses to move legacy applications from Cobol or C to a Java environment at their own pace.

"We have customers who have huge repositories of business methods written in Cobol or C. They should be running on a modern platform like Java EE," said Laurent de Jerphanion, marketing manager for Libert TP.

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The company has been working on the new platform for about two years, he said, and already has a number of its customers interested in it, particularly those running Tuxedo, the application server for non-Java languages that Oracle inherited with its acquisition of BEA, De Jerphanion said.

LiberTP is interesting for them because "It costs less to support Java than to support Tuxedo or other types of platform," he said.

"We are offering them a way out into the Java world without having to rewrite their Cobol applications," he added. Rewriting business methods in a new language only makes sense if a business is also changing those methods, otherwise it's simpler to transfer the code to the new environment unchanged, he said.

Research and development manager Serge Graloup reckons that someone with Java EE experience could transfer 10 million lines of code in about three months. Once it's transferred, it can be updated piecemeal: "With LiberTP you can have a mix of Java, C and Cobol in the same environment, and you can rewrite the Cobol and the C services one by one in Java," he said.

With LiberTP, Bull is targeting users of Blacktie, a tool for integrating C and C++ apps into Red Hat's JBoss application server stack.

"We think we have a high value compared to this, in terms of simplicity of architecture, speed and reliability," said Graloup.

LiberTP is available worldwide, running on either Red Hat Linux or IBM AIX, and works with Oracle Database and PostgreSQL, Graloup said. The price depends on the number of physical processor cores it is run on: For 10 cores, an annual subscription will cost $69,000, including usage rights, support and maintenance, Graloup said.

There will be a hosted version, too, although Bull has not yet set a price, and a service, charged separately, to update applications that comply with XATMI, the X/Open Application Transaction Manager Interface, Graloup said.

The company expects to release one or two new versions of LiberTP a year, adding more functions and support for different environments, De Jerphanion said.

One of the first upgrades will be support for high-availability and virtualized installations in the cloud, coming in a few weeks, Graloup said.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

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