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APRA Faces The Music With Micro Focus

  • 24 November, 2005 09:30

<p>SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, November 24, 2005 — The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), the organisation responsible for managing music rights in Australia and New Zealand, has chosen Micro Focus to help migrate its business-critical computer applications from a legacy Digital (now HP) platform to ensure their longevity and future usability.</p>
<p>Faced with the choice of either re-writing its applications, or migrating them to a new platform to modernise its systems, APRA chose the latter. Not only did this protect its investment in the existing applications, it was also less expensive and disruptive for the organisation. With a number of options to consider, APRA chose Micro Focus and its Lift and Shiftä solution to migrate its COBOL applications to UNIX Sun Solaris 10. That meant migrating existing HP COBOL applications to Micro Focus COBOL, a more robust, feature-rich COBOL language for contemporary platforms.</p>
<p>With a database of more than 3.2 million musical works and a membership list topping 43,000, APRA maintains complex business systems that support hundreds of custom-written applications for everything from registering new members, to licensing music for dozens of different uses.</p>
<p>“This is a well established industry with hundreds of interconnected organisations working across the globe to manage the performance and reproduction rights of music creators and publishers,” said APRA Chief Information Officer, Gus Jansen.</p>
<p>Facilities requiring a user interface are developed as a Windows application using PowerBuilder, but those that have to process high data volumes are written in COBOL to run as batch applications. COBOL applications are invoked from Windows and web applications, as well as from user-initiated scripts, providing APRA with a true multi-platform architecture.</p>
<p>“Not only are we tasked with managing the copyrights of local creators, we also administer the rights of foreign composers and publishers under reciprocal representation agreements,” Mr Jansen said. “As a result, the volume of information we process is immense, and the applications we use to capture, process, store and transfer information need to be fairly robust to keep pace.</p>
<p>“Unfortunately our batch applications are written using old code on a legacy HP COBOL platform, which, at some point in the future, won’t be supported,” Mr Jansen explained. “Also problematic for us is the fact that the VMS interface to our RDBMS has not been supported for some time.</p>
<p>“This presents us with several problems, especially as we develop new applications that need to support advanced technologies such as Internet downloads and web-based content.”</p>
<p>APRA was faced with a choice between replacing its legacy systems with new applications running on a new platform (UNIX or Windows), or retaining its existing applications but migrating them to a new platform.</p>
<p>“In the end the choice was easy, because we had too much invested in our current applications to discard or redevelop them,” recalled Mr Jansen. “It would also have been prohibitively expensive to replace our systems wholesale and effectively build new systems from scratch, and would have been too much of a disruption to the organisation.</p>
<p>“It might sound complicated, but we’ve already begun migrating applications to UNIX Sun Solaris 10 using Micro Focus’ integrated development environment and found that the majority of the work is automated by the “home-grown” conversion software. That makes it much easier for us to manage, and gives us time to test the conversion using the advanced testing tools Micro Focus supplies as part of its solution.”</p>
<p>Keith Mante, Country Manager, Micro Focus Australia, said the knock-on benefits of the migration, once complete, will include faster development of new applications using Micro Focus COBOL, and the ability for APRA to build more agile systems for its clients.</p>
<p>“Developing a new application from scratch would cost APRA in the region of $5000 and take up to two weeks to complete,” he said. “Migrating an existing application from VMS to UNIX takes 15 minutes with our solution. If you consider how many applications APRA uses and how responsive they need to be, the value of migrating APRA’s legacy applications with Micro Focus is clear.”</p>
<p>APRA hasn’t set a timeline for completing the conversion because applications will be migrated on a need-to-use basis.</p>
<p>“With Micro Focus we can retain our COBOL applications, still the most reliable solution for our high-volume transactions, and will in fact be taking on more personnel skilled in both COBOL and UNIX programming to help us make the most of our systems in future,” Jansen said.</p>
<p>Micro Focus - Unlocking the Value of Legacy™
Micro Focus is a leading provider of legacy development and deployment software for enterprise platforms. Micro Focus enables organizations to reduce costs and increase agility with minimal risk by reusing their legacy applications with contemporary architectures and Web services. Founded in 1976, Micro Focus is a global company with principal offices in the United Kingdom, United States and Japan. For more information, visit</p>
<p>Micro Focus is a registered trademark and Unlocking the Value of Legacy and Lift and Shift are trademarks of Micro Focus. Microsoft and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other products mentioned in this announcement are trademarks of their respective owners.</p>

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