So much COBOL
There are estimated to be 250 billion lines of legacy code in the world, 200 million of which are written in COBOL. The problem is there are not the young COBOL programmers coming through, while the old hands who wrote all this legacy code are either dead, retired or coming up to retirement.
An estimate recently from the US - Gartner Inc reckoned that the average age of a mainframer was 55. This all sounds a bit worrying if like most Enteprise houses you have this glut of COBOL code and an ageing development team. What to do ?
1. New applications - write these in Java or new packages - get into WEBSPHERE or BIZTALK and move into the brave new Business Integration world - leave COBOL behind in your legacy applications. Good idea
2. Legacy applications - Re-engineer completely in modern software - for most this would be extremely costly - time consuming and a diversion from the important current Business and IT drivers. Not an option many will take.
3. Hook up with a code conversion company - not recommended - you'll get a big pile of spaghetti java or the like that will be as unmaintainable as your current COBOL - this really is a big hole to fall down. 4. Ring Fence your COBOL legacy applications and develop new applications using SOA and Business Integration techniques - recommended, you'll have to either train up new COBOL staff (there will always be people to do it at the right price), rely on the Contractor market (again they'll do it if the price is right) or go for the India etc option (popular and cheaper, companies now have a lot of experience of this and are better positioned to choose when its best to go offshore). But the legacy COBOL will not grow dramatically and should be relatively straightforward to manage. Remember this code has in many instances developed and evolved over DECADES - unless it really is on its last legs it should be better to keep the wealth of detail.
If still on OS/390 you could have a read of the following: BCS migration article
If you are interested in DB2 for z/OS v8.1 migration: Triton Consulting paper on the enhancements in DB2 for z/OS v8.1