Compuware Pushes Mainframe Agile DevOps Practices

Compuware pursues integrations with Splunk, Atlassian, SonarSource, AppDynamics and Jenkins, and buys ISPW to bring agility to the mainframe.

agile development

Compuware, a mainframe-dedicated software company, announced a series of partnerships, a major acquisition, and new innovation in its software portfolio to empower enterprises to incorporate mainframe applications into their cross-platform Agile and DevOps processes.

Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley says although mainframe applications remain indispensable as systems of record and as back-end support for customer engagement, mainframe code is still managed by siloed teams using slow processes and obsolete tools. However, this situation is no longer tenable, because the digital economy demands software agility, he said. Also, mainframe veterans are retiring and cannot be replaced in kind.

“This aging workforce is real,” O’Malley told eWEEK. “Companies are losing people who took mainframe applications from birth to middle age and are unable to replace them… We have customers with 2,000 developers who are losing older programmers at an alarming rate."

Compuware is addressing this pressing issue by allowing CIOs to shift responsibility for mainframe applications to enterprise DevOps staff with mainstream skills using popular tools within today’s mainstream culture of agility and innovation.

CIOs must therefore empower DevOps teams that have little, if any, mainframe expertise, to effectively manage mainframe code using Agile processes and popular DevOps toolsets.

“We’re trying to take that DevOps guy and put him in charge of the mainframe,” O’Malley said. “We’re trying to go as fast as we can to mainstream the mainframe."

Strategic Integrations

Compuware is driving this transformation of mainframe DevOps with a strategic initiative that includes integrations with market leaders Splunk, SonarSource, Jenkins, Atlassian and AppDynamics.

By pioneering this shift of mainframe applications into the Agile and DevOps mainstream, Compuware said it is enabling organizations to ensure the long-term viability of core legacy COBOL applications—even as their most experienced mainframe developers retire. The company also is helping its customers use mainframe application logic and associated data in concert with their other distributed, Web and mobile software assets.

“If your mainframe application development isn’t Agile, your business can’t be agile,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Our mission is to help customers achieve that essential business agility by empowering Agile DevOps teams to master the mainframe just as they do other platforms in the multi-platform enterprise.”

Thus, Compuware is integrating with solutions from AppDynamics, Atlassian, Jenkins, SonarSource, and Splunk to help customers include the mainframe in their broader enterprise Agile/DevOps processes by enabling IT staff to perform mainframe-related tasks using popular mainstream tools.

“Compuware is doing exactly what we need them to do,” said Luis M. Bonilla, team leader for Technical Services Support at Acxiom, in a statement. “They are opening up the mainframe to our non-mainframe staff so we can unleash the full potential value of our mainframe resources—and do it faster, more accurately, and more easily than we’ve ever been able to do it before.”

The Compuware integration with AppDynamics will help enterprise IT organizations to more easily and accurately resolve issues with multi-platform applications that use DB2 on IBM z Systems mainframes as a backend database. The integration of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform and Compuware Strobe gives DevOps teams direct access to essential DB2 diagnostics from their AppDynamics user interface, with context to the specific transaction.

"When a performance problem could be on the client or on the mainframe server, or somewhere in between, isolating and solving the problem can be complicated,” said Bonnie Baker, a DB2 expert and president of the Bonnie Baker Corporation, in a statement. “The Compuware and AppDynamics integration enables the distributed guru, with SQL access path information in hand, to work with the mainframe guru, creating a new team of problem solvers who can work together for the common good."

AppDynamics President and CEO David Wadhwani said, “At AppDynamics, our goal is to provide enterprise IT with one platform for unified monitoring, DevOps collaboration, and application analytics. Through our partnership with Compuware, we will be able to more completely achieve that goal as it relates to the mainframe.”

Meanwhile, Compuware is integrating with Atlassian JIRA so enterprise developers and operations teams with mainstream skills can include mainframe COBOL application tasks in their JIRA-based environments. The initial integration eases mainframe application problem resolution by creating a JIRA incident when an issue occurs—and automatically launching a COBOL debugging session at the right point in that application. Atlassian’s JIRA is widely used by enterprise DevOps teams to plan, perform, manage, and report on Agile software project activities.

O’Malley said he believes that large enterprises that fail to bring Agile and DevOps best practices to their high-value COBOL applications will remain competitively disadvantaged against smaller, nimbler market disrupters.