Posts Tagged ‘DevOps’

Z Open Terminal Emulation

September 25, 2020

You can spend a lot of time working with the Z and not find much new in terminal emulation. But there actually are a few new things, mainly because times change and people work differently, using different devices and doing new things. Sure, it all goes back to the mainframe, but it is a new world.

Terminal emulator screen

Rocket Software’s latest wrinkle in terminal emulation is BlueZone Web, which promises to simplify using the mainframe by enabling users to access host-based applications anywhere and on any type of device. It is part of a broader initiative Rocket calls Open AppDev for Z. From DancingDinosaur’s perspective its strength lies in being Zowe-compliant, an open source development environment from the Open Mainframe Project.This makes IBM Z a valuable open platform for an enterprise DevOps infrastructure.

Zowe is the first open source framework for z/OS. It facilitates DevOps teams to securely manage, control, script and develop on the mainframe like any other cloud platform. Launched in a collaboration of initial contributors IBM, CA Technologies, and Rocket Software, and supported by the Open Mainframe Project. The goal is to cultivate the next generation of mainframe developers, whether or not they have Z experience. Zowe promotes a faster team on-ramp to productivity, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and communication.

This is the critical thing about Zowe: you don’t need Z platform experience. Open source developers and programmers can use a wide range of popular open source tools, languages, and technologies–the tools they already know. Sure it’d be nice to find an experienced zOS developer  but that is increasingly unlikely, making Zowe a much better bet.   

According to the Open Source Project, IBM’s initial contribution to Zowe was an extensible z/OS framework that provides REST-based services and APIs that will allow even inexperienced developers to rapidly use new technology, tools, languages, and modern workflows with z/OS. 

IBM continues to invest in the open source environment through Zowe and other open source initiatives.  Zowe also has help from Rocket Software, which provides a web user interface, and CA, which handles the Command Line Interface. You can find more about zowe here.

IBM introduced Linux, a leading open source technology, to the Z over 20 years ago. In time it has expanded the range of the Z through open-source tools that can be combined with products developed by different communities. This does create unintentional regulatory and security risks. Rocket Open AppDev for Z helps mitigate these risks, offering a solution that provides developers with a package of open tools and languages they want, along with the security, easy management, and support IBM Z customers require.

“We wanted to solve three common customer challenges that have prevented enterprises from leveraging the flexibility and agility of open software within their mainframe environment: user and system programmer experience, security, and version latency,” said Peter Fandel, Rocket’s Product Director of Open Software for Z. “With Rocket Open AppDev for Z, we believe we have provided an innovative secure path forward for our customers,” he adds. Businesses can now extend the mainframe’s capabilities through the adoption of open source software, making IBM Z a valuable platform for their DevOps infrastructure.”

But there is an even bigger question here that Rocket turned to IDC to answer. The question: whether businesses that run mission-critical workloads on IBM Z or IBMi should remain on these platforms and modernize them by leveraging the innovative tools that exist today or replatform by moving to an alternative on-premises solution, typically x86 or the cloud.

IDC investigated more than 440 businesses that have either modernized the IBM Z or IBMi or replatformed. The results: modernizers incur lower costs for their modernizing initiative than the replatformers.  Modernizers were more satisfied with the new capabilities of their modernized platform than replatformers; and the modernizers achieved a new baseline for which they paid less in hardware, software, and staffing. There is much more of interest in this study, which DancingDinosaur will explore in the weeks or months ahead.

Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer, is DancingDinosaur. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at http://technologywriter.com/.

July 13, 2020

IBM Wazi cloud-native devops for Z

June 12, 2020

In this rapidly evolving world of hybrid and multicloud systems, organizations are required to quickly evolve their processes and tooling to address business needs. Foremost among that are development environments that include IBM Z as part of their hybrid solution face, says Sanjay Chandru, Director, IBM Z DevOps.

IBM’s goal, then  is to provide a cloud native developer experience for the IBM Z that is consistent and familiar to all developers. And that requires cross platform consistency in tooling for application programmers on Z who will need to deliver innovation faster and without the backlogs that have been expected in the past.

Wazi, along with OpenShift,  is another dividend from IBM purchase of Red Hat. Here is where IBM Wazi for Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces comes in: an add-on to IBM Cloud Pak for Applications. It allows developers to use an industry standard integrated development environment (IDE),  such as Microsoft Visual Studio Code (VS Code) or Eclipse, to develop and test IBM z/OS applications in a containerized, virtual z/OS environment on Red Hat OpenShift running on x86 hardware. The container creates a sandbox. 

The combination of IBM Cloud Pak for Applications goes beyond what Zowe offers as an open source framework for z/OS and the OpenProject to enable Z development and operations teams to securely manage, control, script and develop on the mainframe like any other cloud platform. Developers who are not used to z/OS and IBM Z, which are most developers, now can  become productive faster in a familiar and accessible working environment, effectively  improving DevOps adoption across the enterprise

As IBM explained: Wazi integrates seamlessly into a standard, Git-based open tool chain to enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) as part of a fully hybrid devops process encompassing distributed and z systems.

IBM continues: Wazi is offered with deployment choices so that organizations can flexibly rebalance entitlement over time based on its business needs. In short, the organization can 

protect and leverage its IBM Z investments with robust and standard development capabilities that encompasses IBM Z and multicloud platforms.

The payoff comes as developers who are NOT used to z/OS and IBM Z, which is most of the developer world, can become productive faster in a familiar and accessible working environment while  improving DevOps adoption across the enterprise. IBM Wazi integrates seamlessly into a standard, Git-based open tool chain to deliver CI/CD and is offered with deployment choices so that any organization can flexibly rebalance over time based on its business needs. In short, you are protecting and leveraging your IBM Z investments with robust and standard development capabilities that encompass the Z and multicloud platforms.

As one large IBM customer put it: “We want to make the mainframe accessible. Use whatever tool you are comfortable with – Eclipse / IDz / Visual Studio Code. All of these things we are interested in to accelerate our innovation on the mainframe” 

An IT service provider added in IBM’s Wazi announcement: “Our colleagues in software development have been screaming for years for a dedicated testing environment that can be created and destroyed rapidly.” Well, now they have it in Wazi.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work athttp://technologywriter.com/

BMC Finalizes Compuware Acquisition 

June 4, 2020

On June 1 BMC completed its acquisition of Compuware. Both were leading mainframe independent software vendors (ISV) and leading providers of mainframe application development, delivery, and performance solutions. Recently the mainframe ISV space has picked up the action. Just a week ago DancingDinosaur was writing about the renaming of Syncsort to Precisely after completing its acquisition of Pitney Bowes, a company best known for its postage metering.


Given IBM’s lackluster performance as a mainframe software application vendor, albeit somewhat constrained by legalities, a healthy mainframe ISV market is good for everyone that wants to thrive in the mainframe space. And there are others DancingDinosaur hasn’t covered recently, such as DataKinetics, a mainframe performance and optimization provider, and Software Diversified Services (SDS), which specializes in mainframe security.

In some ways DancingDinosaur is saddened that the number of independent mainframe ISVs has dropped by one, but is hopeful that those that remain are going to be stronger, more innovative, and better for the mainframe space overall. As BMC says in its announcement: Customers to benefit from an integrated DevOps toolchain with mainframe operations management and agile application development and delivery. Everybody with a stake in the mainframe space should wish them success.

As BMC puts it: the strategic combination of the two companies builds on the success of BMC’s Automated Mainframe Intelligence (AMI) and Compuware’s Topaz suite, ISPW technology, and classic product portfolios to modernize mainframe environments. BMC with Compuware now enables automation and intelligent operations with agile development and delivery – empowering the next generation of mainframe developers and operations teams to excel when working with mainframe programming languages, applications, data, infrastructure, and security.

And the industry analysts say in the announcement: “Adding Compuware’s Topaz software development environment to the BMC portfolio is another step in the direction of targeting the enterprise developer. With Topaz, developers take a modern approach to building, testing, and deploying mainframe applications. This move should allow BMC to spread the word that modern tools matter for the mainframe engineer,” wrote Christopher Condo, Chris Gardner, and Diego Lo Giudice at Forrester Research.

In addition: fifty percent of respondents in a 2019 Forrester study reported that they plan to grow their use of the mainframe over the next two years and 93% of respondents in the 2019 BMC Mainframe Survey believe in the long-term and new workload strength of the platform.

For the mainframe shop, the newly unified portfolio will enable enterprises to:

  • Leverage the processing power, stability, security, and agile scalability of the mainframe
  • Scale Agile and DevOps methods with a fully integrated DevOps toolchain – allowing for mainframe applications to get to market more quickly and efficiently without compromising quality.
  • Combine the self-analyzing, self-healing, and self-optimizing power of the BMC AMI suite of products to increase mainframe availability, efficiency, and security while mitigating risk; along with the Compuware Topaz suite, to empower the next generation of developers to build, analyze, test, deploy, and manage mainframe applications
  • Create a customer experience to meet the business demands of the digital age – jumpstarting their Autonomous Digital Enterprise journey

BMC’s AMI brings an interesting twist. Specifically, it aims to leverage AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to achieve a self-managing mainframe. Key elements of such a self-managing mainframe in the areas of security for advanced network and system security include improved adherence to PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, GDPR, ISO 27001, IRS Pub. 1075, NERC, and other industry standards for protecting data. Most helpful should be BMC AMI for Security to execute out-of-the-box scorecards for frequently audited areas. 

Similarly, AMI can address areas like  capacity management to optimize mainframe capacity by addressing bottlenecks before they occur, boost staff productivity, and deliver a right-sized, cost-optimized mainframe environment. Or DevOps AMI for the mainframe through application orchestration tools to automatically capture database changes and communicate them to the database administrator (DBA) while enforcing DevOps best practices.

ISVs also can ignite a spark under IBM, especially now that it has Red Hat, as is the case of IBM enabling Wazi, a cloud native devop tool for the z. That’s why we want a strong ISV community.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at http://technologywriter.com/

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on z

February 20, 2020

IBM is finally starting to capitalize on last year’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat for z shops. If you had a new z and it ran Linux you would have no problem running Red Hat products so the company line went. Well, in mid February IBM announced Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform is now available on the z and LinuxONE, a z with built-in Linux optimized for the underlying z.

OpenShift comes to z and LinuxONE

As the company puts it:  The availability of OpenShift for z and LinuxONE is a major milestone for both hybrid multicloud and enterprise computing. OpenShift, a form of middleware for use with DevOps,  supports cloud-native applications being built once and deployed anywhere, including to on premises enterprise servers, especially the z and LinuxONE. This new release results from the collaboration between IBM and Red Hat development teams, and discussions with early adopter clients.

Working with its Hybrid Cloud, the company has created a roadmap for bringing the ecosystem of enterprise software to the OpenShift platform. IBM Cloud Paks containerize key IBM and open source software components to help enable faster enterprise application development and delivery. In addition to the availability of OpenShift for z it also announced that IBM Cloud Pak for Applications is available for the z and LinuxONE. In effect, it supports the modernization of existing apps and the building of new cloud-native apps. In addition, as announced last August,it is the company’s intention to deliver additional Cloud Paks for the z and LinuxONE.

Red Hat is a leader in hybrid cloud and enterprise Kubernetes, with more than 1,000 customers already using Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. With the availability of OpenShift for the z and LinuxONE, the agile cloud-native world of containers and Kubernetes, which has become the defacto open global standard for containers and orchestration,  but it is now reinforced by the security features, scalability, and reliability of IBM’s enterprise servers.

“Containers are the next generation of software-defined compute that enterprises will leverage to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives,” says Gary Chen, Research Director at IDC, in a published report.  “IDC estimates that 71% of organizations are in the process of implementing containers and orchestration or are already using them regularly. IDC forecasts that the worldwide container infrastructure software opportunity is growing at a 63.9 % 5-year CAGR and is predicted to reach over $1.5B by 2022.”

By combining the agility and portability of Red Hat OpenShift and IBM Cloud Paks with the security features, scalability, and reliability of z and LinuxONE, enterprises will have the tools to build new cloud-native applications while also modernizing existing applications. Deploying Red Hat OpenShift and IBM Cloud Paks on z and LinuxONE reinforces key strengths and offers additional benefits:

  • Vertical scalability enables existing large monolithic applications to be containerized, and horizontal scalability enables support for large numbers of containers in a single z or LinuxONE enterprise server
  • Protection of data from external attacks and insider threats, with pervasive encryption and tamper-responsive protection of encryption keys
  • Availability of 99.999%  to meet service levels and customer expectations
  • Integration and co-location of cloud-native applications on the same system as the data, ensuring the fastest response times

IBM z/OS Cloud Broker helps enable OpenShift applications to interact with data and applications on IBM Z. IBM z/OS Cloud Broker is the first software product to provide access to z/OS services by the broader development community.

To more easily manage the resulting infrastructure organizations can license the IBM Cloud Infrastructure Center. This is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering which provides simplified infrastructure management in support of z/VM-based Linux virtual machines on the z and LinuxONE.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at http://technologywriter.com/

Meet SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 12

February 25, 2019

A surprising amount of competition has emerged lately for Linux on the mainframe, but SUSE continues to be among the top of the heap.  With the newest release last fall, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, should secure its position for some time to come.

SUSE touts SLE 12 as the latest version of its reliable, scalable and secure platform for efficiently deploying and managing highly available enterprise-class IT services in physical, virtual, or cloud environments. New products based on SLE 12 feature enhancements should allow for better system uptime, improved operational efficiency, and accelerated innovation. As the foundation for all SUSE data center operating systems and extensions, according to the company, SUSE Linux Enterprise meets the performance requirements of data centers with mixed IT environments while reducing the risk of technological obsolescence and vendor lock-in.

With SLE 12 the company also introduces an updated customer portal, SUSE Customer Center, to make it easier for customers to manage their subscriptions, access patches and updates, and communicate with SUSE customer support. It promises a new way to manage a SUSE account and subscriptions via one interface, anytime, anywhere.

Al Gillen, program vice president for servers and system software at IDC, said, “The industry is seeing growing movement of mission-critical workloads to Linux, with that trend expected to continue well into the future.” For Gillen, the modular design of SLE 12, as well as other mission-critical features like full system rollback and live kernel patching, helps address some of the key reservations customers express, and should help accelerate the adoption of Linux on z.

It’s about time. Linux has been available on the z for 20 years. Only with the introduction of IBM LinuxONE a couple of years ago has IBM gotten serious about Linux on z.  Around that time IBM also ported the Go programming language to LinuxOne. Go was developed by Google and is designed for building simple, reliable and efficient software, making it easier for developers to combine the software tools they know with the speed, security and scale offered by LinuxONE. Taking it even further, following Apple’s introduction of Swift as the new language for OS X and iOS application development. IBM began partnering with Apple to bring the power of Swift open source programming to the z. This was closely tied to Canonical’s Ubuntu port to the z.

And it didn’t stop there. IBM ported the Go programming language to LinuxOne too. Go was developed by Google and is designed for building simple, reliable and efficient software, making it easier for developers to combine the software tools they know with the speed, security and scale offered by LinuxONE. As expected IBM has contributed code to the Go community.

Then IBM brought Apple’s Swift programming to the party, first to the IBM Watson iOS SDK, which gives developers a Swift API to simplify integration with many of the Watson Developer Cloud services – all of which are available today, and can now be integrated with just a few lines of code. As soon as Apple introduced Swift as the new language for OS X and iOS application development. IBM began partnering with Apple to bring the power of Swift open source programming to the z. This was closely tied to Canonical’s Ubuntu port to the z, which has already been released.

With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for x86_64, IBM Power Systems, and IBM System SUSE ES 12 has boosted its versatility, able to deliver business-critical IT services in a variety of physical, virtual, and cloud environments. New features like full system rollback, live kernel patching, and software modules increase data center uptime, improve operational efficiency, and accelerate the adoption of open source innovation. ES 12 further builds on SUSE’s leadership with Linux Containers technology and adds the Docker framework, which is now included as an integral part of the operating system.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at technologywriter.com.

LinuxONE is a Bargain

September 21, 2018

LinuxONE may be the best bargain you’ll ever find this season, and you don’t have to wait until Santa brings it down your chimney. Think instead about transformation and digital disruption.  Do you want to be in business in 3 years? That is the basic question that faces every organization that exists today, writes Kat Lind, Chief Systems Engineer, Solitaire Interglobal Ltd, author of the white paper Scaling the Digital Mountain.

Then there is the Robert Frances Group’s  Top 10 Reasons to Choose LinuxONE. DancingDinosaur won’t rehash all ten. Instead, let’s selectively pick a few, starting with the first one, Least Risk Solution, which pretty much encapsulates the LinuxONE story. It reduces business, compliance, financial, operations, and project risks. Its availability, disaster recovery, scalability and security features minimize the business and financial exposures. In addition to pervasive encryption it offers a range of security capabilities often overlooked or downplayed including; logical partition (LPAR) isolation, and secure containers.

Since it is a z dedicated to Linux, unlike the z13 or z14 z/OS machines that also run Linux but not as easily or efficiently,  As the Robert Frances Group noted: it also handles Java, Python; and other languages and tools like Hadoop, Docker, other containers, Chef, Puppet, KVM, multiple Linux distributions, open source, and more.  It also can be used in a traditional legacy environment or used as the platform of choice for cloud hosting. LinuxONE supports tools that enable DevOps similar to those on x86 servers.

And LinuxONE delivers world class performance. As the Robert Frances Group puts it: LinuxONE is capable of driving processor utilization to virtually 100% without a latency impact, performance instabilities, or performance penalties. In addition, LinuxONE uses the fastest commercially available processors, running at 5.2GHz, offloads I/O to separate processors enabling the main processors to concentrate on application workloads, and enables much more data in memory, up to 32TB.

In addition, you can run thousands of virtual machine instances on a single LinuxONE server. The cost benefit of this is astounding compared to managing the equivalent number of x86 servers. The added labor cost alone would break your budget.

In terms of security, LinuxONE is a no brainer. Adds Lind from Solitaire:  Failure in this area erodes an organization’s reputation faster than any other factor. The impact of breaches on customer confidence and follow-on sales has been tracked, and an analysis of that data shows that after a significant incursion, the average customer fall-off exceeds 41% accompanied by a long-running drop in revenues. Recovery involves a significant outlay of service, equipment, and personnel expenses to reestablish a trusted position, as much as 18.6x what it cost to get the customer initially. And Lind doesn’t even begin to mention the impact when the compliance regulators and lawyers start piling on. Anything but the most minor security breach will put you out of business faster than the three years Lind asked at the top of this piece.

But all the above is just talking in terms of conventional data center thinking. DancingDinosaur has put his children through college doing TCO studies around these issues. Lind now turns to something mainframe data centers are just beginning to think about; digital disruption. The strategy and challenges of successfully navigating the chaos of cyberspace translates into a need to have information on both business and security and how they interact.

Digital business and security go hand in hand, so any analysis has to include extensive correlation between the two. Using data from volumes of customer experience responses, IT operational details, business performance, and security, Solitaire examined the positioning of IBM LinuxONE in the digital business market. The results of that examination boil down into three: security, agility, and cost. These areas incorporate the primary objectives that organizations operating in cyberspace today regard as the most relevant. And guess who wins any comparative platform analysis, Lind concludes: LinuxONE.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at technologywriter.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Zowe Bring Young Developers to the Z

August 31, 2018

Are you ever frustrated by the Z? As powerful as it gets mainframes remain a difficult nut to crack, particularly for newcomers who have grown up with easier technologies. Even Linux on Z is not as simple or straightforward as on other platforms. This poses a problem for Z-based shops that are scrambling to replace retiring mainframers.

IBM – Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service

Shopping via smartphone

Certainly other organizations, mainly mainframe ISVs like Compuware and Syncsort, have succeeded in extending the GUI deeper into the Z but that alone is not enough. It remains too difficult for newcomers to take their newly acquired computer talents and readily apply them to the mainframe. Maybe Zowe can change this.

And here’s how:  Recent surveys show that flexibility, agility and speed are key.  Single platforms are out, multi-platforms, and multi-clouds are in. IBM’s reply: let’s bring things together with the announcement of Zowe, pronounced like joey starting with a z. Zowe represents the first open source framework for z/OS. As such it provides solutions for development and operations teams to securely manage, control, script, and develop on the mainframe like any other cloud platform. Launched with partners CA Technologies and Rocket Software along with the support of the Open Mainframe Project, the goal is to drive innovation for the community of next-generation mainframe developers and enable interoperability and scalability between products. Zowe promotes a faster team on-ramp to mainframe productivity, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and communication.

In short, IBM and partners are enabling users to access z/OS using a new open-source framework. Zowe, more than anything before, brings together generations of systems that were not designed to handle global networks of sensors and devices. Now, decades since IBM brought Linux to the mainframe IBM, CA, and Rocket Software are introducing Zowe, a new open-source software framework that bridges the divide between modern challenges like IoT and the mainframe.

Zowe has four components:

  1. Zowe APIs: z/OS has a set of Representational State Transfer (REST) operating system APIs. These are made available by the z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF). Zowe uses these REST APIs to submit jobs, work with the Job Entry Subsystem (JES) queue, and manipulate data sets. Zowe Explorers are visual representations of these APIs that are wrapped in the Zowe web UI application. Zowe Explorers create an extensible z/OS framework that provides new z/OS REST services to enterprise tools and DevOps processes.
  2. Zowe API Mediation Layer: This layer has several key components, including that API Gateway built using Netflix Zuul and Spring Boot technology to forward API requests to the appropriate corresponding service through the micro-service endpoint UI and the REST API Catalog. This publishes APIs and their associated documentation in a service catalog. There also is a Discovery Service built on Eureka and Spring Boot technology, acting as the central point in the API Gateway. It accepts announcements of REST services while providing a repository for active services.
  3. Zowe Web UI: Named zLUX, the web UI modernizes and simplifies working on the mainframe and allows the user to create modern applications. This is what will enable non-mainframers to work productively on the mainframe. The UI works with the underlying REST APIs for data, jobs, and subsystems, and presents the information in a full-screen mode compared to the command-line interface.
  4. Zowe Command Line Interface (CLI): Allows users to interact with z/OS from a variety of other platforms, such as cloud or distributed systems, submit jobs, issue Time Sharing Option (TSO) and z/OS console commands, integrate z/OS actions into scripts, and produce responses as JSON documents. With this extensible and scriptable interface, you can tie in mainframes to the latest distributed DevOps pipelines and build in automation.

The point of all this is to enable any developer to manage, control, script, and develop on the mainframe like any other cloud platform. Additionally, Zowe allows teams to use the same familiar, industry-standard, open-source tools they already know to access mainframe resources and services too.

The mainframe may be older than many of the programmers IBM hopes Zowe will attract. But it opens new possibilities for next generation applications and for mainframe shops desperately needing new mission-critical applications for which customers are clamoring. This should radically reduce the learning curve for the next generation while making experienced professionals more efficient. Start your free Zowe trial here. BTW, Zowe’s code will be made available under the open-source Eclipse Public License 2.0.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at technologywriter.com and here.

 

Compuware Acquisition Boosts Mainframe DevOps

August 3, 2018

The acquisition of XaTester, new enhancements, and a partnership with Parasoft moves Compuware Topaz for Total Test toward leadership in the automated unit testing that has become essential for Agile and DevOps on the mainframe.  Compuware clearly has picked up its steady but languid quarterly pace of delivering new mainframe software. This comes on top of Topaz for Enterprise Data announced just a few weeks ago here.

Especially for mainframe shops, automated mainframe unit testing may present the biggest obstacle to speedy new code delivery.  The testing must not just be automated but continuous. As such, it serves as the centerpiece of the entire agile downstream process, which also includes continuous integration and continuous delivery. Only by delivering continuous automated testing can the mainframe shop deliver the no-fail quality of service for which it is heralded. Continuous automated testing is essential for controlling business risk, especially given the increased complexity and pace of modern application delivery.

To put it another way: building and integrating code changes is certainly important. However, if the automated delivery process cannot identify how changes impact business risk or disrupt the end-user experience continuous automated testing then increased frequency and speed of continuous Integration and continuous delivery becomes more of a problem than an advantage.

To deliver on its vision of Topaz for Total Test as the defacto standard for automating mainframe unit testing across all major mainframe environments and programming languages, Compuware has:

  • Acquired XaTester from Xact Consulting A/S, enabling developers to quickly create unit tests for both batch and CICS-based programs written in COBOL, PL/I and Assembler
  • Enhanced Topaz for Total Test to provide automated unit testing for IMS batch and transactional applications. Testing for IMS is especially important given that newer developers often have little or no hands-on experience with IMS code. This presents a challenge since more than 95 percent of the top Fortune 1000 companies use IMS to process more than 50 billion transactions a day and manage 15 million gigabytes of critical business data. Fortunately, IBM continues to add new features to IMS that help adjust to the changing IT world. These enhancements complement Topaz for Total Test’s existing support for batch applications written in COBOL.
  • Partnered with Parasoft, a leading innovator in end-to-end test automation for software development. The first deliverable from the partnership is integration between Parasoft SOAtest and Topaz for Total Test. This integration enables developers working on mainframe applications to quickly and easily test API calls between mainframe and non-mainframe systems, an increasingly critical aspect of DevOps.

Topaz for Total Test transforms mainframe development by giving developers the same type of unit testing capabilities on the mainframe that distributed platform teams have become accustomed to on other platforms. Unit testing enables developers to find potential problems in their code as early as possible to more quickly and frequently deliver incremental changes in software functionality while more granularly documenting code for the benefit of other developers.

DevOps, also presents complications for the mainframe that come from its reputation for slow, painstaking, methodical release cycles. DevOps is about making sure the way an application is deployed in production is the same way it was deployed in test and development.

According to IBM writing in piece titled DevOps for the mainframe, notes DevOps also includes the notion of applying software management to the scripts and processes used for the actual deployment and monitoring and taking the monitoring capabilities from Operations into development and test to get an early understanding of how the system will actually perform.

As the IBM writers continue: In the z/OS environment, organizations are generally building only the changes, the deltas, to the application and deploying them into the environment.  It is very common to find that some parts of an application have not been rebuilt in decades. Worse yet, there are generally few z/OS test environments that are shared across application development teams.  The tools also are rarely the same tools used by the distributed teams.  These differences increase the difficultly of achieving an-end-to-end DevOps process.

This is where Compuware comes in. Topaz for Total Test fundamentally transforms mainframe development by giving developers the same type of unit testing capabilities on the mainframe they’ve become accustomed to on other platforms, mainly x86.

The result for large enterprises, Compuware continues, is a unified DevOps toolchain that accelerates development across all platforms so a multi-platform shop can more effectively compete in today’s rapidly-changing markets. “The new rules of the digital economy are putting pressure on our customers to achieve the utmost speed with the utmost quality,” said Luke Tuddenham, Vice President at CPT, a global IT consulting services firm with a significant testing practice. The new Topaz tools should The acquisition of XaTester, new enhancements, and a partnership with Parasoft moves Compuware Topaz for Total Test toward leadership in the automated unit testing that has become essential for Agile and DevOps on the mainframe. .

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at technologywriter.com and here.

Compuware Expedites DevOps on Z

July 13, 2018

Compuware continues its quarterly introduction of new capabilities for the mainframe, a process that has been going on for several years by now. The latest advance, Topaz for Enterprise Data, promises to expedite the way DevOps teams can access the data they need while reducing the complexity, labor, and risk through extraction, masking, and visualization of the mainframe. The result: the ability to leverage all available data sources to deliver high-value apps and analytics fast.

Topaz for Enterprise Data expedites data access for DevOps

The days when mainframe shops could take a methodical and deliberate approach—painstakingly slow—to accessing enterprise data have long passed. Your DevOps teams need to dig the value out of that data and put it into the hands of managers and LOB teams fast, in hours, maybe just minutes so they can jump on even the most fleeting opportunities.

Fast, streamlined access to high-value data has become an urgent concern as businesses seek competitive advantages in a digital economy while fulfilling increasingly stringent compliance requirements. Topaz for Enterprise Data enables developers, QA staff, operations teams, and data scientists at all skill and experience levels to ensure they have immediate, secure access to the data they need, when they need it, in any format required.

It starts with data masking, which in just the last few months has become a critical concern with the rollout of GDPR across the EU. GDPR grants considerable protections and options to the people whose data your systems have been collecting. Now you need to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and comply with regulatory mandates like GDPR and whatever similar regs will come here.

Regs like these don’t apply just to your primary transaction data. You need data masking with all your data, especially when large, diverse datasets of high business value residing on the mainframe contain sensitive business or personal information.

This isn’t going to go away anytime soon so large enterprises must start transferring responsibility for the stewardship of this data to the next generation of DevOps folks who will be stuck with it. You can bet somebody will surely step forward and say “you have to change every instance of my data that contains this or that.” Even the most expensive lawyers will not be able to blunt such requests. Better to have the tools in place to respond to this quickly and easily.

The newest tool, according to Compuware, is Topaz for Enterprise Data. It will enable even a mainframe- inexperienced DevOps team to:

  • Readily understand relationships between data even when they lack direct familiarity with specific data types or applications, to ensure data integrity and resulting code quality.
  • Quickly generate data for testing, training, or business analytics purposes that properly and accurately represents actual production data.
  • Ensure that any sensitive business or personal data extracted from production is properly masked for privacy and compliance purposes, while preserving essential data relationships and characteristics.
  • Convert file types as required.

Topaz users can access all these capabilities from within Topaz’s familiar Eclipse development environment, eliminating the need to learn yet another new and complicated tool.

Those who experience it apparently like what they find. Noted Lynn Farley, Manager of Data Management at TCF Bank: “Testing with production-like obfuscated data helps us develop and deliver better quality applications, as well as remain compliant with data privacy requirements, and Topaz provides our developers with a way to implement data privacy rules to mask multiple data types across platforms and with consistent results.”

Rich Ptak, principal of IT analyst firm Ptak Associates similarly observed: “Leveraging a modern interface for fast, simple access to data for testing and other purposes is critical to digital agility,” adding it “resolves the long-standing challenge of rapidly getting value from the reams of data in disparate sources and formats that are critical to DevOps and continuous improvement.”

“The wealth of data that should give large enterprises a major competitive advantage in the digital economy often instead becomes a hindrance due to the complexity of sourcing across platforms, databases, and formats,” said Chris O’Malley,Comp CEO of Compuware. As DancingDinosaur sees it, by removing such obstacles Compuware reduces the friction between enterprise data and business advantage.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at technologywriter.com and here.


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