UniKIX, COBOL Enterprise Software Alive and Well


I am well aware from my enterprise software market research that IBM still realizes about 1 percent of its revenue from IT departments that continue to depend on and even rhapsodize over the about-to-turn-40-year-old Customer Information Control System (CICS). It's pronounced as Kicks or C-I-C-S, depending on who you ask (see the relevant section in the CICS Wikipedia entry for more information).


And I remember how many guys my age - see my photo - made a few bucks consulting during the run up to the Y2K scare because they were the only ones who still knew COBOL. They're almost always guys despite the fact that Admiral Grace Hopper probably deserves the most credit for first developing and later promoting the COBOL language.


So why was I surprised to see that a company called Veryant recently introduced its isCOBOL Application Platform Suite software and a relationship with Clerity, providers of UniKix mainframe rehosting technology. Further surfing tells me Clerity basically owns Veryant.

"COBOL continues to be the language of business around the world," said Alfredo Iglesias, vice president of business development for Veryant, in a statement. "By including an Eclipse-based IDE and other advances in our latest release, it is now even easier to maintain and modernize COBOL application code."

And CICS continues to be the transaction monitor of business around the world despite attempts by IBM's 1960s-1970s hardware-manufacturer competitors and later AT&T (TUXEDO, which was later marketed by Novell, and then BEA, and now Oracle) to offer an alternative. High-volume transaction processing also remains one area where I see no open source alternative to closed source software (I'm always willing to be corrected in that; send me an e-mail or leave a comment).


UniKIX was my first information-technology employer's (Honeywell/Bull/Honeywell-Bull) attempt to take on CICS during the 1980s. I had never heard of Veryant or Clerity (and I pride myself on knowing the history and heritage of the most obscure software companies). According to some other Web pages whose authority I cannot verify, UniKix went from Bull to Fisher Technology Group to PeerLogic to Critical Path to SUN (which called it MTP) and then to Clerity.


But Veryant's Phoenix dateline and address intrigues me. Phoenix was the home of Honeywell's large systems manufacturing plants (and the GE plants before that). Anyone know if it's just coincidence?