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.”
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.
Compuware Pushes Mainframe Agile DevOps Practices
“Today’s digitally savvy customers demand seamless, end-to-end performance from every application,” said Jason Bloomberg, president of agile digital transformation analysis firm Intellyx, in a statement. “Synchronizing IT assets from the mainframe all the way to the customer is now mandatory. The integration between Compuware and Atlassian products will enable this all-important end-to-end synchronization, and will also empower collaboration across previously siloed teams.”
In addition, Compuware and SonarSource are enabling new developers with mainstream skills to rapidly deliver quality COBOL by providing them with automated on-the-fly quality assurance (QA) as they work in a familiar Eclipse environment. Compuware and SonarSource are also making it easier for IT leaders to manage mainframe application development activities with dashboards that provide visibility into individual, team and project metrics.
“Compuware has a great vision for bringing mainframe application development, data management, and platform operations into the mainstream of agile enterprise DevOps,” said Olivier Gaudin, CEO of SonarSource, in a statement. “SonarSource is contributing to the fulfillment of that vision by providing our mutual customers with the continuous automated code quality and project management they need to increase their mainframe agility without compromising their mainframe integrity.”
Compuware is integrating its Topaz Workbench—an intuitive Eclipse-based environment for mainframe source-code editing, debugging, and tuning—with SonarSource’s SonarLint, which automatically discovers defects introduced into COBOL code. Also, using Leveraging Jenkins for continuous integration and integrating Topaz Workbench with SonarSource’s SonarQube—a popular dashboard for tracking defects, complexity and technical debt—IT managers can more easily keep projects on schedule and address shortfalls in developer performance.
“In software development, our agility is only as nimble as its slowest link,” said Mike Wells, director of software development at Ameritas. “The time has come for the convergence of the mainframe and distributed systems DevOps processes. Compuware and SonarSource are enabling us to do exactly that by giving us tools with functionality and look-and-feel our Java development teams utilize every day.”
Moreover, O’Malley said by adding Compuware’s mainframe application auditing information to Splunk’s operational intelligence platform, enterprise IT managers can unify their security and compliance management efforts. With the Splunk integration, Compuware is enabling enterprises to more effectively discover and resolve security and compliance issues across their large multi-platform IT environments by feeding mainframe application usage insight to Splunk Enterprise.
IT security services firm mnemonic, a Splunk reseller, helped shape the data integration process with Compuware. According to co-founder Jorn Tore Hov, “Having the Compuware Application Auditing data available in Splunk, is an important step in protecting mainframe environments through the mnemonic Advanced Threat Defense platform Argus.”
Also as part of its game-changing initiative to empower mainframe developers, Compuware announced it has all of the assets of ISPW Benchmark Technologies—maker of an Agile source code management and release automation solution for cross-platform mainframe, Windows and open systems development. By providing end-to-end code management and release automation across all platforms, ISPW’s technology enables IT to optimize code quality and improve developer productivity.
“Joining Compuware will enable us to more aggressively invest in our capabilities to support an iterative and Agile approach to development and add more value by integrating into the broader enterprise DevOps ecosystem,” said ISPW president Paul Kuszyk, in a statement. “By mainstreaming the mainframe, Compuware is transforming the market in a way that will give our customers cross-platform DevOps agility that is absolutely essential for competitive success in today’s fast-moving markets.”
O’Malley said Compuware had been using CA’s Endevor source code management tool but it became problematic when the development teams began to work faster using Agile methods. “The older, mainframe source code management systems were built with the assumption of the waterfall methodology, which works in a sequential way,” O’Malley said. “The way we’re working now is in parallel, with many people doing tasks at the same time, so we needed a source code management system to support that. ISPW was a perfect fit. It helps you get Agile on the mainframe, so we bought it.”
In keeping with its commitment to deliver mainframe innovations and relevant updates to core products every 90 days, Compuware also added file and table I/O visualization to Topaz Runtime Visualizer. This visualization enables even inexperienced developers to understand how COBOL applications use mainframe data and the specific types of calls being made.
“With the next set of releases, we’re doing a pretty big pivot for the company and for the industry,” O’Malley said. “I believe we’re not far away from a situation where your full-stack programmers are going to have to do a two-week sprint on a Java app, a two-week sprint on a C++ app and a two-week sprint on a COBOL app. These people will be polyglot programmers that can skate across all these platforms.”