Oracle Tuxedo offers cloud muscle to the mainframe set

The new Oracle Tuxedo 12C can also run simple Java objects

With the latest release of its Tuxedo transaction processing server (TPC), Oracle is hoping to lure mainframe users onto the cloud.

Moving a mainframe application to an Oracle Exalogic system, where it would run on the newly updated Tuxedo, could cut operational costs of that application by 80 percent, the company asserted. "We can take a traditional mainframe down to a handful of Intel servers," boasted Ajay Patel, vice president of product management for Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Oracle has prepared the recently released Oracle Tuxedo 12c to run more effortlessly on the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, a hardware and software package for running applications in an "enterprise private cloud," Patel said. Oracle has been urging organizations to consolidate their IT resources into a uniform architecture -- using either Oracle or non-Oracle hardware -- so these resources can be shared and IT costs correspondingly cut.

First created by AT&T for large-scale distributed transactional processing, Oracle Tuxedo is an application server for running non-Java programs, such as C, C++, Cobol and other languages, in a distributed system. Oracle has also equipped Tuxedo to run mainframe programs, through the Oracle Tuxedo Art extension.

This release of Tuxedo buddies up to Exalogic in a number of ways. Tuxedo can now be managed by Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, which is Oracle's management console for its enterprise software. Administrators could now operate Tuxedo from the same console they use to run other Oracle software. Also with this release, administrators can provision multiple instances of Tuxedo, along with other programs it requires, using templates. Administrators can also scale up or scale down the number of Tuxedo instances, depending on demand.

As part of the launch, Oracle also announced that next month it will update Oracle Tuxedo ART in a version to be called Oracle Tuxedo ART 12c, which would be an essential component in running mainframe applications on Exalogic. Tuxedo ART currently emulates CICS, IBM's Customer Information Control System, a Cobol-based transaction server program that runs on IBM mainframes. With this release, ART will also emulate IBM's Information Management System (IMS) mainframe transaction software.

Those running an IMS could move the applications to Tuxedo and have it run on Exalogic, Patel said. Many large organizations, such as banks, run both CICS and IMS applications for mission-critical duties, Patel said. Patel listed the usual reasons why a business may want to move off a mainframe, such as the leasing costs and the reported growing scarcity of mainframe administrators. In many cases, however, the mainframe applications are too complicated (and too undocumented) to feasibly rewrite to another platform. So, hosting the application on Tuxedo might be a feasible alternative.

Beyond cloud readiness, the Tuxedo update brings new features to help developers and administrators. Using POJOs (Plain Old Java Objects), developers can now run Java code on Tuxedo, which can be handy for adding Java functionality to a C, C++ or Cobol program. Developers can now write their Tuxedo C/C++ programs in the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE (integrated development environment), thanks to a new plug-in. "We've never had a strong IDE" for Tuxedo, Patel admitted.

With this release, Oracle also includes a new messaging technology, called Oracle Tuxedo Message Queue. On older versions, Tuxedo used the Oracle database message queue, though this new messaging system offers updated capabilities in store-and-forward, pub-sub and asynchronous queuing. "It has much richer messaging functionality," Patel said. He likened the new messaging platform to IBM's Websphere MQ, for which Oracle Tuxedo Message Queue could serve as a substitute, Patel suggested.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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