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IBM System z Compilers Helping Hand For Developers

IBM is being understatedly quiet about its new Compilers on System z, preferring to talk about them through the company's own magazine channels rather than making a big press fanfare out of things.

Internal (but outward facing) IBM journals detail the optimization technology and hardware exploitation capabilities in the System z processor architectures intended to help developers create high-performance applications without expert knowledge on performance engineering and hardware architectures.

In this regard we are looking at IBM's COBOL, PL/I, and C/C++ compilers for System z. The firm uses the words "portability and reliability" to denote their main characteristics and says that they support the latest IBM middleware, CICS, DB2, and IMS.

COBOL, PL/I, and C/C++ compilers provide integrated coprocessor support for CICS and DB2. With this support, embedded CICS and DB2 statements are compiled in a single step.

Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V5.1 was announced April 23, 2013, and became generally available on June 21, 2013. This compiler has apparently been re-architected to include an advanced technology framework for optimizing COBOL applications and exploiting z/Architecture, including latest zEnterprise BC12 (zBC12) hardware.

"Many well-structured, CPU-intensive batch applications have shown performance increases of greater than 10 percent," says IBM writer Richard Koo. "This will reduce CPU utilization and lower operating costs for customers running business-critical applications. In addition, Enterprise COBOL V5.1 has many new features that help improve programmability, developer productivity, and capabilities to modernize existing applications."

Painting a welcome analogy, Koo points out that like mileage on cars, performance can be difficult to quantify because it depends on a number of factors — how the application is written, the hardware architecture it runs on, system (i.e., hardware and software) configuration, etc.

"Enterprise COBOL Developer Trial for z/OS V5.1 will enable you to plan and assess the real value that could be gained by your applications from upgrading to Enterprise COBOL V5.1. You can also try out new programming features and determine how to make use of them in your applications," says Koo.

Enterprise COBOL Developer Trial for z/OS V5.1 is identical to Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V5.1. It has the same hardware and software prerequisites as the full product. There are no imposed restrictions in functionality and performance. The only difference is the trial version can only be used in non-production environments, and code compiled with it cannot be used in production.

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