Adabas-Natural Migrations

Many of today’s mainframe applications that were developed in Natural and Adabas are still mission critical and continue to deliver significant benefits to the organizations that use and rely upon them. Nevertheless, the Total Cost of Ownership and technological risk associated with these applications have now escalated to unacceptably high levels. Anubex’ automated Natural modernisation and migration solution provides an opportunity to liberate these valuable and reliable business systems from their dependency upon non-strategic, legacy technologies and enable them to be integrated with state of the art components.


Product highlights

The Anubex Natural migration solution takes any application developed in Natural (i.e. the programs, DDM’s, copycodes etc.) and automatically converts it into a fully identical application, but designed to run within an alternative environment on the same platform, or a different platform altogether. The new application is completely free of dependencies on Natural technology and, instead, uses modern and industry standard development tools such as Java, .NET and COBOL, to allow flexible application integration and extension.

Convert from anywhere

The Anubex conversion process utilizes Natural’s SYSTRANS output format, in order to migrate the Natural artifacts. This approach largely isolates the conversion from the underlying system, therefore every Natural platform is supported, i.e. IBM Mainframe (z/OS, MVS), Fujitsu Technology Solutions BS2000/OSD and Unix.

Convert to anywhere

The converted application can run on either IBM Mainframe or Open Systems running Linux, Unix or Windows (LUW).  The chosen target platform is simply selected as a configuration option during the conversion process.
When the target platform is LUW, additional Anubex tools handle the transformation of other source types, such as JCL, Assembler and COBOL programs etc., thus ensuring that the entire application runs on the new platform.

Client technology compatibility

Even when migrating from a Mainframe to a LUW target, the terminal emulator, which provides end-user access to the application, can optionally be retained for connection to the new LUW servers. This high degree of compatibility enables the switch-over to be 100% transparent to end-users.
Many Natural mainframe applications are enhanced or integrated through the use of 3rd party screen-scraping technology. Anubex conversions provide byte-to-byte compatibility with the existing mainframe protocols; therefore screen-scrapers remain compatible, even on Open Systems.

Complete Natural coverage

Natural is recognized as a rich and powerful development environment. The Anubex Natural migration tools provide full support for advanced Natural language features, including:

  • High-precision Natural computations (full 29 digits);

  • Natural Reinput statements;

  • Natural Escape handling;

  • Double Byte Characters;

  • Multi-lingual user interfaces;

  • Adabas, VSAM and DB2 data sources;

  • Pseudo-conversational configuration mode.

Enhanced User Interface

The application’s character-based user interface is converted into a modern, open Java or .NET front-end that can be maintained using standard development tools like Eclipse and Visual Studio.
Following the migration, developers can enhance the converted Natural Maps with graphical components such as drop-down fields, checkboxes and data lists.


For any migration project, and especially those that target a Mainframe platform, performance and CPU consumption are crucial acceptance criteria, because they directly impact the TCO of an application. Anubex ensure that two significant objectives are achieved in converting Natural applications:

  • Sub-second response time for end-users.

  • Optimized CPU utilization (MIPS).

Automated testing

Testing the converted application is achieved with Anubex’s TestMatch. This reduces the time and effort required to complete the project because:

  • TestMatch avoids the requirement to manually create test scenarios;

  • TestMatch limits end-user involvement to acceptance testing.


Anubex has a 100% success rate, having completed numerous Natural migration and modernization projects around the globe on both IBM mainframe and LUW target platforms.  Each of these projects has been delivered on time, within budget and to the complete satisfaction of the customer.


Natural artifact mappings and maintenance

Different options are available for migration of the Natural artifacts. To give an overview of what is currently possible, we define two categories: Object-Oriented solution or COBOL solution.

Object-Oriented target

In today’s market, Object-Oriented code typically equates to either Java or .NET code that runs on LUW platforms.

Natural object type


Programs, Sub-Programs, Subroutines



Inline code

Data Areas - GDA/LDA/PDA


*Predefined maps


Because the practice of code reuse through copycodes is no longer supported in modern languages such as Java and C#, the mapping of it may require inline code in the OO target.
After migration, all code is maintained using standard, industry leading development tools such as Visual Studio (for .NET code) or Eclipse (for Java code).

COBOL target

COBOL target code runs on either IBM Mainframe or Open Systems. The table below summarizes how all Natural object types are converted into a COBOL counterpart.

Natural object type


Programs, Sub-Programs, Subroutines




Data Areas - GDA

Copybooks and Programs

Data Areas - LDA/PDA


*Predefined maps


After migration, all COBOL code is maintained using standard development tools on the chosen platform.
In conjunction with Anubex’ Waxwing technology, the converted *Predefined maps can be maintained using a WYSIWYG editor such as Eclipse or Visual Studio, to further facilitate application integration and modernization.