Compuware's Topaz Helps Millennials Build Mainframe Apps

Compuware's new Topaz development platform helps a new generation of developers create modern mainframe apps.

mainframe apps

Compuware has announced Topaz, a new development platform to help developers and data architects repurpose mainframe data for mobile apps, big data analytics and more.

Compuware's Topaz enables IT professionals to discover, visualize and work with both mainframe and non-mainframe data in an intuitive manner. The company, which historically has focused on mainframe software, created Topaz to address the challenges of a shrinking mainframe workforce.

As experienced mainframe workers retire, the responsibility of leveraging high-value mainframe data falls to a new generation of developers and data architects who are unfamiliar with the platform. Topaz addresses this need for enterprises that run their businesses on the IBM System z mainframe.

Indeed, Compuware's Topaz solves this problem by accessing both mainframe and non-mainframe data from its underlying platform dependencies. This abstraction enables developers to quickly and easily perform tasks such as gathering test data from multiple sources. It also simplifies the incorporation of mainframe data into use cases for big data analytics.

"The impending retirement of skilled mainframe developers poses a threat to global enterprises that CIOs haven't seen since the Y2K deadline—and that is even more problematic, given the increased importance of mainframe data in today's digital economy," said Compuware CEO Chris O'Malley in a statement. "With Topaz, Compuware is providing customers with an effective, immediate response to this threat so they can protect their tremendous investments in the mainframe and, just as importantly, capitalize on the tremendous business opportunities that depend on new mainframe data use-cases."

Topaz enables developers to visualize data relationships across platforms and to visually manage large caches of data objects using the product's graphical representation technology Also, with Topaz, developers no longer have to use source-specific tools to browse and edit data. Instead, they can use a single data editor to manage Oracle, SQL Server, IMS, DB2 and other data across the enterprise.

In addition, Topaz's Windows-like host-to-host copy functionality enables users to easily drag and drop mainframe files and data from one host to another. This helps eliminate the need for mainframe-specific expertise. It is also much faster and easier than traditional transfer methods.

"Enterprises can gain tremendous business value from mainframe-resident data, but making use of this key asset is often limited by the need to understand the mysteries of applications developed in CICS and COBOL," said Tim Grieser, program vice president for Enterprise System Management Software at IDC, in a statement. "Compuware is taking aim at this limitation by more broadly empowering IT professionals to understand and leverage data residing on IBM System z using graphical visualization tools."

In a blog post on Topaz, Compuware's O'Malley said first release of Topaz specifically provides Millennial developers and data architects with a simple way to tap high-value mainframe data for enterprise apps and analytics.

O'Malley said there are three reasons for developers to be excited about Topaz: Topaz addresses the critical issue of mainframe IP protection and extension; Topaz de-silos the management of mainframe IP; and Topaz was and will continue to be developed with an Agile methodology.

Indeed, Compuware also announced that it has committed to an Agile development model whereby it will deliver new capabilities quarterly.

"That is an enormously exciting prospect given how quickly IT has to respond to changing business requirements in today's extremely dynamic markets—and given how unacceptably unresponsive mainframe ISVs have historically been to such rapidly changing customer needs," O'Malley said.