So, the thinking goes like this. A multitude of critical systems are still running on old hardware, written in old languages and sitting on old stacks. Despite the unicorns and rainbows protestations of many, that isn’t going to change any time soon. But what happens if you have an old COBOL application, but you want to enable it to be in some way interoperable with web-based APIs? Well, generally you don’t have many options, but FairCom is looking to change that.

The company today announced its catching titled c-treeRTG COBOL Edition. Essentially the plug and play product allows COBOL apps to connect to web-based and mobile applications by replacing the native COBOL file system with a standards-based interoperable API set.

This is actually pretty cool – instead of having to completely replace applications and databases, FairCom is allowing that old stuff to remain in place, but get wrapped with a set of integration tools – with no changes to COBOL code, no data duplication and no major architectural changes. Existing applications gain a new file system offering transaction processing, scalability and recoverability while hopefully expanding data availability.

Case in point: Wencor, an aircraft parts manufacturer and distributor for airline carriers, operators, repair stations and manufacturers, has modernized its COBOL-based inventory system with FairCom. Wencor reports that while its COBOL system was reliable and accurate, accessing inventory data was difficult, and could not be done in real-time by customers and employees. By replacing the COBOL file system, Wencor was able to make inventory information available in real-time to customers through its website.

The solution has the following features:

  • Robust data management: Provides several high availability features, such as full transaction log, automatic recovery and limited dynamic dump for integrated backup capabilities.
  • Full administrative tools set: Allows you to monitor, manage, configure and fine-tune one or more c-treeRTG COBOL Edition servers with graphical tools to view and manipulate database structure, files schemas, tables and records.
  • Support for multi-length records and redefines: There is no need to duplicate or distribute the data into multiple tables.
  • Shared memory: No network latency for installations with the client and server on the same machine.
  • Memory File support: Speedy access to non-persistent data such as temporary tables.
  • Outstanding performance: Preserves the speedy I/O you are accustomed to in your COBOL applications. No need for a slower SQL connection with its added overhead of query optimization.
  • User access: Control user access and permissions, view current connections and see files that are being accessed by specific users to prevent ghost locks.
  • Security: Natively implemented data encryption ranges from simple masking to advanced encryption.
  • Flexible configuration: Configurable data and index caches, data file locations, logs, etc.
  • Concurrent access to records and files: Manages multiple levels of locks and provides native support for the various forms of file opening used in COBOL programs.


Makes sense to me. I’m seeing a lot more existing applications, from decades old mission critical ones to simply e-commerce solutions sitting on a VPS somewhere, whose owners want to ensure access, availability and scalability. While this solution isn’t doing anything to drive agility, reinvent the organization or anything remotely so high brow, it solves a real world problem today. For every Netflix that wants to reinvent the world, there are a hundred Wencor’s that simply want to unlock organizational data. FairCom is helping solve that problem.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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