IBM Deepens DevOps Insights on Mainframes

Content By Devops .com

IBM today extended its effort to enable IT organizations that have mainframes to embrace DevOps best practices by updating the analytics tools it provides.

Tom McPherson, vice president for IBM Z Software, said a version 6.0 update to the suite of IBM application discovery and delivery intelligence (ADDI) for IBM Z tools surfaces more granular insights by leveraging a new version of Wazi Analyze that now analyzes code immediately after a change is made. That capability is critical, because most of the workloads running on a mainframe are highly tuned. Any issue that is likely to occur can usually be traced directly back to the latest software update made to the environment, McPherson said.

Wazi Analyze also can now be deployed as a set of containers, which McPherson said means IT teams can opt to run the analytics application on a platform other than the mainframe.

ADDI also has been updated to improve Assembler support by making it easier to analyze multi-level dynamic assembler macro calls. A set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for feeding that data back to a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline has also been added.

Finally, IBM revealed it signed a licensing agreement with ITP Software Systeme GmbH, Munich (ITP) to enhance application analytics capabilities. That capability will be added to a future release of DevOps for IBM Z Hybrid Cloud, which includes ADDI and IBM Wazi Developer, to enable organizations to determine how best to modernize legacy monolithic applications as they transition to a microservices-based, cloud-native computing environment.

Naturally, not every monolithic application is going to be converted into a series of microservices. However, McPherson said, it’s clear there is a need for analytics tools that will enable IT teams to more easily determine which elements of an application are better suited to being reconfigured as microservices that could be deployed on, for example, a Red Hat OpenShift cluster.

For the last several years, IBM has been encouraging IT organizations that have mainframes to embrace DevOps best practices as part of a larger effort to position mainframes as another type of distributed computing platform. The overall goal is to lower the total cost of mainframe ownership by reducing the need to rely on specialists to manage mainframe application environments. Each year, more of those specialists retire. IBM wants to make it more feasible for organizations to replace those specialists with IT generalists, like those that typically manage distributed computing environments. At the same time, management of distributed computing environments is becoming more automated, thanks to the rise of DevOps.

Of course, mainframe processes have been highly automated for decades. IT teams managing mainframes may still rely primarily on waterfall-based processes to deploy applications, but the underling infrastructure is designed to scale up and down on demand as application workloads require. Convincing IT teams that, for decades, have employed the same processes to manage mainframes often requires a significant amount of cultural change.

Regardless of motivation, however, the winds of DevOps change are now blowing through mainframe environments just as fiercely as they have through the rest of IT.

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