COBOL Application Modernization

Automated COBOL Conversion

Converts codebase from COBOL to modern Java or C# while maintaining business logic.
Great for applications that need minimal feature or capability extension.



Automated Code Conversion delivers a modern application and data tier with 100% like-for-like functionality as compared to the legacy application, based on fully maintainable open systems. We use our DBShuttle and CTU technologies to convert applications from COBOL to native CICS COBOL, Java, or C#.

Automated COBOL Conversion:

  • Uses mainframe applications as the basis for new off-mainframe applications
  • Produces object-oriented applications that are easy for your C# and Java teams to maintain and enhance
  • Focuses on fast and accurate code conversion that guarantees like-for-like functionality
  • Great for applications moving from COBOL to Java or C#, with minimal capability extension planned.




Growing maintenance fees, scarcity of trained developers, expected end-of-life announcements, cumbersome deployment processes, platform dependencies – these are just a few reasons companies are migrating from legacy Mainframe COBOL applications to modern Java/C# solutions. Whether migrating management support systems, operations infrastructure or reporting applications, the COBOL to Java/C# migration process is usually highly complex, risky, expensive and time consuming.

CTU (COBOL-to-Universal) is an automated conversion tool that transforms a Mainframe-based legacy application from COBOL to Java or C#, producing object oriented code that can be easily maintainable and efficiently integrated with other Java and C# applications. CTU supports the full environment of the Mainframe-based COBOL application, including databases (e.g.,DB2, IDMS, IMS and VSAM), TP monitors (e.g., CICS), JCL, utilities (e.g., IDCAMS), and SORT. The resulting code has the exact functionality of the original legacy application and can easily be tested and implemented in production.

How It Works

During initial project kick-off, Modern Systems will provide the customer with an inventory preparation guide that details how to ‘punch’ and gather all required components from the legacy mainframe environment to be converted. Modern Systems uses these resources to establish the definitive project inventory and to populate a repository of components to be migrated to the target environment.

Once the Inventory Analysis is complete, the next phase is to review the in-scope application inventory and document design decisions related to the source and target platforms, data modeling from legacy to relational, data migration rules for the database, and any required files, and code migration rules or anomalies that are encountered.

Next, Modern Systems begins the process of unloading, transforming, and loading of data from the source environment to the target environment. The data migration processes used to accomplish this are based on the structure of the existing data model and its mapping to the relational database, defined during the previous phase.

Converted, functionally equivalent application code is then delivered to the customer in a series of work packets, based on milestones determined during the initial analysis. Automated COBOL Conversion covers online applications, batch programs, and JCL members. Modern Systems tests the converted code, then delivers it along with any required frameworks to the customer.

Since Modern Systems does not require code freezes during the conversion process, there will be a final code refresh performed to account for changes to the source system during the conversion process. Once complete, the customer is responsible for testing the target environment while Modern Systems provides post-delivery support for a contracted time frame.



If replacement of an aging database or file system (such as IDMS, Adabas, IMS or VSAM) within a COBOL application is the focus, the Modern Systems solution includes comprehensive changes to the existing COBOL applications so that they flawlessly process against the new relational database model. For COBOL-based source applications that use IDMS-DC, we provide a one-for-one conversion from the current TP monitor to CICS COBOL, allowing native CICS processing for the future. The resulting setup includes screens used in the mainframe environment as well, including BMS and MFS Maps.

Modern Systems uses DB-Shuttle® to convert non-CICS COBOL applications to CICS COBOL, and to convert programs or modules so they execute against a relational database model. The process automatically converts existing COBOL components including programs, subroutines, copybook records, and copybook modules. Services that are provided by a non-CICS teleprocessing monitor are replaced with CICS services.


Tool-Assisted Reengineering

Extend capabilities of modernized applications to include web services, APIs, and more.



The Modern Systems COBOL reengineering solution generates fully web-based applications to replace current CICS, IMS-DC, and IDMS-DC COBOL applications. Whether reengineering COBOL to .NET or COBOL to Java, the result is a fresh set of new web applications that take full advantage of web processing while providing the same basic functionality as the existing COBOL applications. With our tool-based reengineering of COBOL to C# or Java, any former database or file access is replaced with object processing against the relational database of choice.

After the project is complete, the new C# and Java applications are maintained in Visual Studio, Eclipse, or any other standard IDE. The new relational database can be from a Modern Systems database conversion (IDMS, Adabas, IMS, or VSAM), a purchased relational database, or a relational database designed from scratch. The new application is native to Java or .NET, has a very small code footprint (like COBOL), and can include buttons, pull-downs, hyperlinks, gridviews, and other web features. In addition, the new data access methods are easily used "as a service" by other applications.

Modern Systems can provide the COBOL tool-assisted reengineering as a service, or our customers can use the eavRPM® tool suite to perform the reengineering project in their own timeframe, implementing their own standards, and following their own specifications for look and feel in the new .NET and Java applications.



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