In “The Agile Mainframe: Compuware Re-Energizes the Mainframe,” Dr. Robin Bloor and Rebecca Jozwiak, analysts at The Bloor Group, argue the right culture, processes and tools enable Agile mainframe software development for the digital age:

“Imagine the mainframe embracing agile development: collaborative cross-functional teams, early delivery, frequent releases, rapid and flexible response to change and continuous improvement. Such a renaissance is possible; indeed, it may have already begun.”

Mainframe DevOps for the Agile Mainframe

A more Agile mainframe is already a reality at some software companies where mainframe DevOps tools and processes are enabling more efficient software development and delivery. “This agile DevOps methodology is typical of the full stack development culture that pervades the Intel commodity server world of Linux and Windows virtual machines and the newly emerged Hadoop world of large clusters,” Bloor and Jozwiak write.

An associated concept of mainframe DevOps is application development with continuous delivery, which “is not simply a slogan; it is based on the overall DevOps methodology” of employing an iterative development process in unison with operational deployment throughout a lifecycle of stages.

On the development side of mainframe DevOps, these stages include: analyze; edit; build; test; debug; and deploy. When a product is deployed, the operations side of the DevOps lifecycle kicks in. These stages include: monitor; audit; diagnose; tune; and feedback.

As a vital component to the Agile mainframe, mainframe DevOps “provides a distinct and refreshing contrast to the ponderous, silo-ed mainframe world of waterfall development methodologies and slow, year-long-or-longer development cycles,” according to Bloor and Jozwiak.

Economic Case for the Agile Mainframe

As Bloor and Jozwiak state, the Agile mainframe is antithetical to a slow, siloed mainframe development culture. But rather than innovate with mainframe agility and mainframe DevOps, many companies make rash and ill-informed attempts to re-platform their mainframe applications, despite major advantages of mainframe cost-effectiveness.

In their paper, Bloor and Jozwiak cite economic statistics provided by mainframe industry research firm Rubin Worldwide, adding weight to the Agile mainframe, for example:

“In a study spanning 2012 to 2015, Rubin Worldwide surveyed 498 large companies and has found the gap between distributed and mainframe costs has widened given the rising density of technology requirements. In fact, while computing power has doubled over the last five years, server-heavy organizations’ costs have gone up 63% more than mainframe-heavy organizations.”

Bloor and Jozwiak explain the mainframe is the most reliable and secure platform amidst a deluge of emerging technologies accelerating the digital economy, clarifying their stance for the Agile mainframe’s future in the enterprise:

“While the likes of such companies as Google and Facebook build upon the power of distributed computing, large corporations know that some tasks simply run better on mainframes…and just as technology has evolved to meet modern demands, the workhorse mainframe has evolved to address today’s business needs.”

In “The Agile Mainframe: Compuware Re-Energizes the Mainframe,” you have the opportunity to read more about how Agile and DevOps processes, modernized development tools, and integrations and partnerships forged with leading mainstream software vendors are transforming the mainframe to be a platform for agility.

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