Introduction to Mainframes and DevOps

Today more and more people are aware of the fact that mainframes are here to stay.

However, mainframe applications have not kept pace with the latest technological trends. To help, keep and gain customers, mainframe users need to innovate and integrate their current mainframe based business processes.

In this series of posts we will explain what you can do to keep pace and take advantage of the strenght of the mainframe by understanding and using DevOps principles.

We'll first start with explaining what we think DevOps is and what it can bring to your organisation.

In next posts we will talk about:

  • How we can help you by explaining the architecture and functionality of our IKAN ALM product
  • Our Life Cycle, Build (compile), Deploy and Approval process
  • IKAN ALM for mainframes
  • IKAN ALM for distributed environments
  • IKAN ALM for non-standard environments
  • Overall view on DevOps benefits
  • and much more!

Let's start with our view on DevOps.

Bridging development and operations

Software application development, including the implementation and maintenance hereof, involves many complex processes combining a series of roles, tools and deliverables. Those processes need to be efficient, repeatable, auditable, predictable, secure, maintainable and cost-effective.

Many companies have already implemented various levels of automation to streamline those processes, such as Waterfall, Agile, Continuous Integration or Continuous Delivery.

Today, another methodology gains in importance, namely DevOps. DevOps focusses on the interdependence of users, software development and IT operations. It stresses the importance of communication, collaboration and integration between all relevant stakeholders be it the business, software developers or people responsible for operations and production.

To optimize the interdependence and communication, a controlled, reliable and automated overall solution achieving the highest level of automation (Continuous Deployment) is essential.This DevOps way of working can be achieved by implementing an efficient Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution.

A modern ALM solution is an integrated set of tools for

  • Requirements Management
  • Versioning
  • Automated Build & Deploy procedures (to test and production environments)
  • Lifecycle and Approval Management

Furthermore, the ALM solution adheres to the relevant process standards and governance rules.

Modern ALM solutions have to be

  • Methodology-independent: It does not matter whether you use a linear (waterfall) or iterative (Agile) approach for your development process.
  • Tool-independent: Organizations/departmentscan continue using their preferredtools in each stage of the process.
  • Repository-neutral: Cross-platform developmentis perfectly feasible.
  • Multi-platform: mainframe, distributed ormobile, all of them are covered.

The list below indicates the problems software development organizations are facing without the use of a modern ALM / DevOps solution.

Without DevOps

  • Development teams lose too much time with the build and deploy work, too many avoidable mistakes are being made and too much effort is necessary to communicate properly
  • Testers lose too much time setting up test environments and, as a consequence, they do not have enough time to test applications in a proper way
  • Operations people don’t receive all the needed information or components are missing
  • The communication between the different stakeholders needs to be improved

With DevOps

  • Less time and resources needed for developing, testing and deploying (multi-environment) applications
  • Reduced risk of human errors
  • Improved efficiency and productivity
  • Improved application quality and release
  • Reliability
  • Faster time-to-market
  • Improved customer satisfaction

Continue reading in ournext post: our proposed architecture and functionality.

Picture of Rene De Vleeschauwer

About the author

Hello, my name is René De Vleeschauwer.

Throughout my career I've been responsible for the development of enterprise software. Since 12 years I've been leading the development of IKAN ALM, an open DevOps framework.

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