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Strate takes development load off mainframe

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Strate has purchased Micro Focus' 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.
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.
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% and over 70%
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.