Diving into DevOps

Compuware Launches Topaz on AWS

Compuware took another step along the trail it's been blazing for the past year to "mainstream the mainframe" by making its Topaz suite of development and testing tools available on the Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) cloud.

This move looks to be an industry first. Topaz on AWS makes it possible for enterprises to provide their dev, test and ops teams with cloud access to Compuware's entire mainframe Agile/DevOps solution stack. It leverages Amazon's AppStream 2.0, a fully managed, secure application streaming service that allows users to stream desktop applications from AWS to any device running a Web browser.

By making its Topaz suite available to enterprise customers via AWS, Compuware has provided a tool for large enterprises that are struggling to bring Agile and DevOps best practices to their core systems of record, which are more often than not written in COBOL and other codebases running on IBM Z mainframes. Leveraging the cloud to bring Agile and DevOps to their core COBOL apps allows those large enterprises to more quickly and easily adapt the mainframe to compete in a digital-first world.

"The mainframe has some incredible virtues that are invaluable and actually irreplaceable," Compuware CEO Chris O'Malley told me. "The performance, reliability, and security make it the best system-of-record platform on the planet. But there are elements that make it difficult to keep up with digital demand -- specifically, adopting things like Agile and DevOps best practices. By integrating Topaz with preferred DevOps tool chains we've achieved a force multiplier for mainframe developers -- which are, increasingly, just developers who happen to develop on the mainframe."

O'Malley makes an important point: Eventually mainframe development will no longer be a specialty, and the makers of the tools and technologies needed for mainframe development should be taking that eventuality into account.

"What we're trying to do here is to marry the virtues of the cloud and the mainframe," O'Malley said. "In some ways, this is one of the biggest things we've ever done."

That's quite a statement from the chief exec of a company that has added new capabilities, upgrades of its classic offerings, and integrations with preferred DevOps tools for 12 consecutive quarters.

Charles Araujo, principal analyst with Intellyx, agrees that modernizing mainframe applications is a critical activity for enterprises competing in a digital-first world. "That starts with integrating mainframes into continuous delivery pipelines," he said in a statement, "but it also means modernizing the development environment to ensure that developers have the scale and agility they need in a fast-moving market. With Topaz on AWS, Compuware gives enterprises all the benefits of their intuitive, innovative development framework and combines it with the scale, flexibility and ease-of-administration of AWS. That's a winning combination."

Compuware began defining what it has called the "mainframe renaissance" last year with the acquisitions of Itegration's Mainframe SCM Practice, ISPW BenchMark Technologies' mainframe source-code and release-automation solution, and Standardware's COPE IMS virtualization technology, as well as a new partnership with Software Engineering of America.

The company also just announced new support for CloudBees' Jenkins Enterprise continuous integration/continuous delivery server, including integration of ISPW and Topaz for Total Test.

The integration of ISPW and Jenkins "simplifies inclusion of mainframe developer work-product into a well-automated, cross-platform enterprise DevOps pipeline," the company said in a statement. Topaz for Total Test, which automates and simplifies unit testing for COBOL applications, will enable continuous testing of new development work on these applications, the company said, "which is an essential best practice for safeguarding COBOL code quality, even as enterprises accelerate the pace of mainframe application updates."

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].