Im looking over a college catalog and they dont teach java they teach cobol. why are these companies still using 20 yr old mainframes running 20 year old software and hireing people fulltime to maintain said software. i guess i must be very naive because i think it would only take a modern microcomputer and about 3 months alone to rewrite thier software. is it that complex? what is it i dont see?
1. They are cheap and don't want to pay to rewrite. 2. Yes you are naive to think 1 person could do it in 3 months. Do you realize how much time and effort was put in to just get it y2k compatible. 3. The silver bullet of the moment are packages such as SAP. Computers shouldn't run the business. They should enable the business.
I don't agree with the statement that they are cheap. They are expensive to maintain. However, this expense is often balanced against the HUGE expense both monetarily and in time to replace what amounts to trillions of lines of legacy code! In quite a few cases, code has operated correctly for years to decades. Original design was either never captured or lost, original programmers are years gone. There is a fear (rightly so) of losing business rules contained in this code. [This message has been edited by Carl Trusiak (edited October 25, 2001).]
Randall, I guess you are naive. The department that I work in with about 100 people support just ONE small area of a major company, and we have well over 50 million lines of Cobol and PL/1 using IMS/DB2 to support crossing maybe 50 systems of varying sizes and about 2000 modules - each very complex. The complexity of the interfaces is mind boggling. Not to mention that the batch run that we do nightly would take about 12 days without a mainframe behind it. I would estimate that the cost of completely re-writting just this small piece of the business would cost GM about 100 million dollars. But it WORKS the way is it - so WHY? I can assure you that these will not be re-written in the next 10 years. They are putting some nice GUI front ends on them, and migrating alot of reporting to shadowed data on Oracle databases, but Batch ain't moving during my career.
"JavaRanch, where the deer and the Certified play" - David O'Meara
Give it a little while longer and we'll be talking about C in the same terms. Before COBOL was the butt of legacy jokes, it was FORTRAN. So it's nice to know there's a tradition. But come on, PL/1? Doesn't using that language violate the terms of the Versailles Treaty or something?
Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. - Robert Bresson
Carl, I wasn't talking about the cost of maintenance. I was talking about the short sightedness of many companies. The why rewrite it it works now. If the payback for something like this isn't measured in quarters, it doesn't get done. So they pay the high cost of maintaining them for a longer period of time. That is what I meant by cheap. But I guess that is really just shortsighted. How will that affect my next few quarters.
Cobol is not going away. I was shocked to realize that EJB can't really be implemented in my company as all the business logic is on the mainframes. But one sad fact remains, entry level Cobol programmers tend to get paid less than entry level Java or C/C++ Programmers. So beware!