Modernize Legacy Batch Applications to a C# .NET Target Architecture

The Java world has been addressing the main challenges of Batch processing, performance and robustness, for a number of years with frameworks such as Spring Batch or more recently with “liberty Batch” by IBM. With Summer Batch, an open source .NET Batch Framework, you can now create Batch Jobs, with checkpoint restart, chunk processing, EBCDIC file readers and writers, GDG like behavior in C#.

This Framework was born out of the collaboration of Accenture and Blu Age Corporation, editor of Blu Age software enabling Cobol to .NET application modernization. Over the past 4 years we have been confronted with a growing demand for modernizing Cobol mainframe systems to OO (Object Orientated) Java or C# applications on distributed platforms. This demand is being fueled by the growing push of IT (Information Technology) organizations to move to the cloud. Further with the arrival of a new generation of CIO (Chief Information Officer) with a stronger OO background we have seen a gradual shift from a re-platforming approach to a code transformation approach. One of the keys to code transformation is to re-architect the code to integrate with modern frameworks supporting the current and future business needs of the modernized system. With Angular JS, ASP MVC, Unity, ADO and Entity Framework solutions are available to support an HTML5 web target for modernizing green screens. Yet a critical brick of legacy systems is often the Batch component. Legacy systems have often been built around batch components that process hundreds of millions of record in limited time windows. To handle such volumes of data you need specific transaction processing with the ability to parallelize to scale on a distributed platform. Though SQL Server offers some batch orientated utilities it implies that batch logic goes to the database servers, separated from the application servers. In the Java world, the JSR-352 batch specification which was born from Spring Batch and IBM WebSphere Compute Grid frameworks fills that void. It allows the development of Java batch applications that can access any relational database server.

After having successfully modernized Cobol systems to Java, leveraging the Java Batch frameworks we started seeing a demand for Cobol to .NET C# modernization. Yet we were faced with the issue of having no clear C# .NET architecture that could easily support the modernization of Legacy Cobol batch. Back at the beginning of 2015, Accenture, who was also at the origin of Spring Batch, and Blu Age decided to invest in the creation of an open source C# Batch framework using the JSR-352 batch specification as its specification. Out of this collaboration came Summer Batch, an open source .NET C# batch framework that was first released in November 2015. To facilitate modernization effort Summer Batch has been extended to support reading and writing of EBCDIC flat files, to mimic GDG behavior and offers optimized sort utilities for large files. Thanks to Summer Batch Accenture and Blu Age have been able to start modernizing Cobol to .NET C#.
Last but not least for Financial Services organizations or any other organization that requires large bulk processing you now have a robust and performant open source framework to develop your batch applications.

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