IBM's z16 platform has a suite of compiler products to help customers modernize their business- critical applications to accelerate digital transformation. At SHARE Columbus (Aug. 21-26), Roland Koo, program director of product management and strategy, compilation technologies, and enterprise products at IBM, will talk about the new language portfolio on z/OS in his session, "Modernize Business-Critical Applications With the Latest Compilation Technologies and Take Full Advantage of IBM z16." This session also covers the new features and product directions of COBOL, PL/I, C/C++, and Java.
"Application modernization does not mean you have to re-write your applications in another language or move your applications off IBM zSystems to another platform," Koo says. Customers can use the Pareto principle, known as the 80/20 rule, to minimize risk and cost.
When looking to modernize business applications, Koo advises customers to utilize the "optimize and extend" model on z16. This entails first optimizing the performance of existing applications through the latest compilers, then extending existing applications using the new language features on those compilers (i.e. COBOL, PL/I, C/C++, and Java) and IBM Open Enterprise languages (Node.js, Python, and Go), or expose applications and data through APIs.
"If you are currently running Node.js, Python, Go, or Java applications and need to access critical applications and data on z/OS, you should run these applications on z16 to take advantage of colocation to optimize response time and throughput," Koo explains. "By doing this, you can also take advantage of enhanced security and new AI capabilities, which are unique features of the platform."
New Language Portfolio Possibilities
The IBM Open Enterprise Languages portfolio includes Node.js, Python, and Go. "These languages are offered with a no-charge license and optional paid S&S. This means customers can develop and deploy applications at no charge. They only need to pay if you need IBM support," Koo explains. These options enable customers to modernize their z/OS applications, meaning they are no longer limited to using the same language in which the application was originally written.
According to Koo, customers can take advantage of the more popular and growing languages on IBM's platforms, focusing on the "best fit" for developing new applications or extending current applications. "Additionally, they can use APIs to interoperate with them," he adds. The portfolio also provides customers with access to developers who use open-source based Node.js, Python, and Go. "As a result, development skills are easily transferable between platforms," Koo says. These languages also have a large number of "good-to-go" packages that customers can use instantly in their applications so delivery time can be significantly shortened.
New Compiler Products and Application Modernization
The z16's new compiler products offer features for application modernization. Koo explains that the new COBOL 6.4 enables developers to extend the capabilities of COBOL programs with Java, but without the need to write object-oriented COBOL code. Additionally, this simplified COBOL/Java interoperability also reduces the number of manual Java native interface calls required, compared to COBOL 6.3 and earlier compilers.
Secondly, there is greater interoperability between AMODE 31 (31-bit) and AMODE 64 (64-bit). "COBOL 6.4 and PL/I 6.1 programs can now handle growing addressability needs (>2GB) without converting the entire application to 64-bit,” Koo says. "They can develop new 64-bit applications that work with existing 31-bit applications. In this way, they can gradually convert 31-bit applications to 64-bit on an as-needed basis."
The new IBM z16 platform provides more than just on-chip artificial intelligence inferencing and quantum-safe technologies. Attendees of Koo's session can expect to learn about the affinities between zSystems hardware and the compiler roadmap, the languages roadmap/direction on z/OS (including the embracing of open source), and how to help developers modernize their applications and adopt hybrid cloud.
Register for SHARE Columbus and check out the SHARE Columbus z16 Roadmap to plan out your must-see sessions.