Strate takes development load off mainframe

22 July 2008

Strate takes development load off mainframe

Driving down development costs while maintaining mission critical applications.

Strate has purchased Micro Focus's Mainframe Express Enterprise Edition (MFEEE) to reduce development costs on its mainframe and enable it to do development in a testing environment as opposed to on the mainframe, reducing risk to its critical mainframe applications responsible for processing transactions worth billions of Rands on a daily basis.

João de Oliveira, Sales Director at MigrationWare, says as a Micro Focus partner, MigrationWare was tasked with implementing the solutions at Strate, which is the authorised Central Securities Depository for the electronic settlement of all financial instruments in South Africa.

"Strate handles the settlement of equities, warrants and bonds for the JSE Ltd and the Bond Exchange of South Africa. Its mainframe therefore processes a massive number of transactions every day. This made securing time on the mainframe for development and testing -- measured in millions of instructions per second (MIPS) – problematic for Strate's IT division," he says.

Reducing costs:

Manoj Puri, Strate's head of IT, says the drivers for the adoption of Micro Focus products included a need to reduce the mainframe running costs, while looking at ways to use the mainframe's capacity more effectively.

"The important benefit of MFEEE is that it enabled our developers to compile and unit test sets of Cobol code on a PC as opposed to working directly on the mainframe. While the final testing of the code has to be done on the mainframe, the reduction in the number of MIPS used by the development process, together with a reduction in total development time, is expected to significantly reduce development costs on the mainframe," he says.

"Developing code for the mainframe is always a challenge because our software is extremely complex and is responsible for settling equities, warrants and bonds for the JSE and the Bond Exchange. We’re therefore talking about a mission critical application that processes billions of Rands every day and we need to be certain of the impact of new code introduced into the mainframe application," he says.

Realising the benefits:

De Oliveira says an important aspect of MFEEE is that it not only removes the development from the mainframe resulting in a significant cost saving, but also enables developers to complete mainframe projects in significantly less time.

"In fact, by providing state of the art toolsets for developers and allowing them to develop in a Windows environment as opposed to the mainframe environment, productivity gains can be increased by between 20 percent and over 70 percent according to an international study done at the DePaul University in Chicago," he says.

Given that mainframe upgrades could cost financial institutions like Strate millions of Rands, utilising technology that takes the load off the mainframe is often able to forestall these upgrades with the mainframe being utilised as a final systems test and deployment server.

"Freeing up MIPS on the mainframe enables it do what it does best – reliably and securely process large scale, high volumes of transactions," de Oliveira concludes.

About MigrationWare:

MigrationWare specialises in modernising legacy code and aging IT infrastructure by transforming and extending existing valuable investments in IT onto contemporary, open, more cost-effective environments or software languages. Through its commitment to automating the conversion and migration process, MigrationWare reduces to a minimum the costs and risks associated with IT rejuvenation projects.

MigrationWare and Micro Focus:

MigrationWare is a strategic partner of Micro Focus. MigrationWare's products supplement Micro Focus's offerings which are distributed by Micro Focus worldwide. MigrationWare also partners with Micro Focus on a number of international clients and distributes and supports Micro Focus software in Southern Africa.