Diving into DevOps

Compuware: Bringing DevOps to the Mainframe

From new APIs to collaborative IDEs to Agile-friendly SCM and more, Compuware is making a major push to innovate mainframe development and maintenance.

"DevOps for Mainframe": Not a phrase you hear often these days, but for Compuware, an exclusively mainframe-software-focused ISV, it's a market niche ripe for innovation. And the company just made a flurry of announcements that all but defines this space.

First on the list: the availability of new REST APIs for Compuware's newly acquired ISPW mainframe source-code and release-automation solution. The company bought ISPW BenchMark Technologies Ltd., an IT company based in Calgary, Alberta, in January -- and, along with it, an industry-leading software change management solutions for large computing systems.

The new APIs enable large enterprises to integrate their mainframe and non-mainframe DevOps tools with the ISPW solution to create custom, cross-platform DevOps toolchains. These integrations are especially important for DevOps teams seeking to achieve continuous delivery capabilities in multi-platform enterprise environments, the company noted in a statement, because mainframe apps and data often function as back-end transactional systems for front-end Web and mobile apps. "Fast, well-coordinated DevOps can help accelerate time-to-market for cross-platform applications, while reducing costs and improving software quality," he company said.

Intellyx analyst and president Jason Bloomberg agrees: "To fully support the end-to-end software lifecycles so essential to digital efforts, mainframe development and deployment must move faster and integrate seamlessly into the rest of the digital enterprise," he said in a statement. "By implementing RESTful API-based integration in ISPW, Compuware has elevated mainframe dev and test tooling to full participants in modern DevOps toolchains."

Compuware also made a joint announcement with Software Engineering of America (SEA), a leading provider of IBM Mainframe and IBM i (AS400) optimization, automation, and security solutions. The two companies are helping to "millennialize mainframe DevOps" with the release of SEA's JCLplus+ Remote Plug-In and $AVRS Plug-in for Compuware's Topaz Workbench mainframe IDE.

The purpose of these new plug-ins is to "significantly ease" challenging JCL- and output-related tasks, and allow both expert and novice IT staff to perform those tasks more quickly and more accurately in the context of their other mainframe DevOps activities, the company said. JCL (job control language) is a language for describing jobs, or units work, to the MVS, OS/390, and VSE operating systems that which run on IBM's S/390 mainframe computers. JCL is the scripting language used by DevOps staff to specify the order in which programs run and request system resources for batch jobs on IBM z/OS.

"Complexity, esoteric tooling, and excessive dependency on tribal knowledge are all obstacles to mainstreaming the mainframe that enterprises absolutely must achieve without delay," O'Malley said. "The addition of plug-ins for SEA's JCLplus+ Remote and $AVRS offers two more examples of how committed Compuware is to making Topaz Workbench the most powerful and unified DevOps environment for achieving this critical objective."

Compuware also announced the acquisition of Itegration's Mainframe SCM Practice, which the company said will make it easier for its customers to migrate their software configuration management systems from "Agile-averse" products and internally developed SCM systems to ISPW.

"Every enterprise with a mainframe needs to remove the toxic bottlenecks and inflexibility inherent to waterfall development by migrating their mainframe applications to an Agile-friendly SCM as quickly as possible," said Compuware CEO Chris O'Malley. The company will be refocusing Itegration's SCM migration practice on "Agile-enabling our growing customer base," he added.

And last but not least: Compuware has integrated its Abend-AID , an application fault discovery and analysis solution, with Syncsort's Ironstream, which captures and forwards mainframe operational data to analytic tools, such as Splunk. Syncsort is a "big-iron-to-big-data" solutions provider.

Compuware's O'Malley clarified the DevOps connection here: "Central to the notion of DevOps is elimination of the silos that have historically separated application teams from ops teams," he said. "By feeding Abend-AID data into Ironstream's broader mix of operational data, we are eliminating another instance of that counter-productive siloing."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].