Case study

ABK Systeme harnesses the power of COBOL and Linux for a platform independent business payment transaction solution


ABK Systeme wanted to migrate its existing COBOL applications to the Linux platform to create a high performance, platform independent solution for European and international business payment transactions.


As cross-border trade across the European monetary union intensifies, the volume and value of international business payment transactions increases. The banks that facilitate these transactions on behalf of their customers demand high performance IT solutions to enable them to manage extensive monetary transactions quickly and reliably. They face a problem of disparate technologies and varying institutional standards that hinder the exchange of information via central banks and clearing centers.

ABK Systeme GmbH is a market leader in solution development for banking payment transactions and clearing for the euro area. To address the challenges and respond to customer needs ABK wanted to create a high performance, platform independent solution for European and international business payment transactions.

As organizations from the banking and telecom industries look to decrease IT costs and free up precious resources, Linux is seen as a powerful alternative to supporting multiple platforms and applications.

Faced with two of its main customers wanting to migrate to Linux within the year, but tied to previous COBOL technology investments, ABK needed to align its software with its customers’ requirements. Specifically, ABK required a tool to help migrate its COBOL applications to the Linux platform. ABK selected Micro Focus Studio to help migrate its Euro Finance Information System (E.F.I.S®) business payment platform onto IBM’s zSeries on Linux mainframe.


“Working with Micro Focus and IBM put us in the position to resolve this task in a very short period – helping our customers to complete their business-critical Linux projects on time,” says Armin Gerhardt, Managing Director of ABK Systeme GmbH in Dreieich, Germany.

With the help of IBM and Micro Focus, ABK migrated its existing COBOL applications onto the IBM eServer zSeries Linux-only mainframe. As a result, ABK now offers its customers a business payment solution that handles domestic, European and global payments.

It is capable of processing 50 million domestic German payment transactions or more than 500,000 SWIFTmessages within six hours from a single physical platform.

Core applications in today’s banks are based primarily on COBOL to ensure the required performance, stability, and availability. Therefore, business payment transaction solutions require a COBOL interface in order to provide the appropriate information to internal systems. For external communication, the application has to accept any banker’s order, regardless of the format, then read, convert, and forward it to any executive bank or clearing point. To guarantee the required utilization, the applications must be engineered to be customer-compliant, scalable, and modular.

The Micro Focus Studio solution for Linux allows customers using Linux on zSeries to consolidate applications running on multiple platforms onto a single server. This immediately reduces maintenance and administrative efforts. ABK’s efforts to service complex global client and workflow-oriented payment system issues on a single platform was enhanced by using Micro Focus Studio for zSeries as the development environment and application server.

“As Linux gains in popularity as an open platform, ABK joins a number of financial service-oriented companies that are using Studio’s ability to migrate customer data to IBM’s Linux-only mainframe,” says Irving Abraham, Product Manager for Micro Focus. “The need for COBOL solutions to migrate customers from disparate platforms to leading-edge Linux technology underscores our commitment to the future of COBOL as a viable and lasting technology that will exist side-by-side with the newer technologies of Java, web services, XML, .NET and others.”

“Every day, more and more enterprises discover the advantages of migrating their most critical business applications to Linux running on a zSeries mainframe,” explains Joan Meltzer, Director of Solutions Marketing, IBM Systems Group. “The addition of solutions like Micro Focus Studio helps continue that momentum, and provides customers with a valuable tool to assist them in making the transition to Linux on the mainframe.”

50 million
Domestic German payment transactions processed in 6 hours
SWIFTmessages processed in 6 hours


The deployment of ABK’s zSeries-based Euro Finance Information System business payment platform offers substantial advantages for bank departments. Using the zSeries-system, each Virtual Machine can process the business payment transaction application and the current account system, as well as further applications. As a result, the IT server environment and the corresponding LAN are significantly reduced, effectively minimizing points of failure and the need for support.

In deploying the Virtual Machine, the period of time required for synchronization of single data, or the coordination of business payment transactions and the current account system, is greatly reduced and can be carried out in shorter intervals. This offers substantial advantages to the individual bank departments, as the account management is much more up to date.

In addition, business payment transactions no longer need to be separated into individual areas. As every employee within the departments responsible for business payment transactions is familiar with all functions of the entire system, staff productivity is maximized.

The Euro Finance Information System allows financial centers to manage all business payment transactions of different banks. Whether the banks work within the same or a foreign banking network is not an issue. The same applies to out-/in-sourcing or transaction-banks. The system can serve all kinds of business payment transactions (clearing houses), including EBA, CLS, Chaps, Target, RTGSplus, and clearing houses in different European countries.

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ABK Systeme GmbH case study
release-rel-2024-5-1-9444 | Tue Apr 30 16:03:23 PDT 2024
Tue Apr 30 16:03:23 PDT 2024