Mainframe DevOps and Agile Development

DevOps is not restricted to platforms that are more modern. Many DevOps teams own the responsibility of mainframe deployments as much as they own the non-mainframe ones. Releasing software safely into production has been a critical skillset in the mainframe community for five decades. It has long had specialist teams devoted to minute analysis of the content of the release, the impact on other systems and the consequences of a failed deployment. These teams have an enviable record of operational excellence.

As Agile practices find their way into mainframe software creation, driven by the availability of more modern programming languages and development platforms, so mainframe change and release teams are experiencing the pressure of increased numbers and frequency of changes. The bar required to receive approval of a change into the production mainframe environment is very high indeed. DevOps teams turning to tools to give them the automation necessary to eliminate human interaction where possible and to give them the repeatable and predictable results needed.

Serena’s solution set provides mainframe and non-mainframe teams a comprehensive set of solutions to support both Agile and DevOps initiatives on the mainframe.

Agile Mainframe Development Teams

Serena ChangeMan ZMF has had Agile practices baked into its design since its inception more than 30 years ago. Built-in to the way ChangeMan ZMF works are:

  • Incremental Development – the package concept, developed by Serena’s founder, allows small teams to take on incremental development and to easily move they changes through the lifecycle
  • Develop Anywhere Deploy Anywhere – as more mainframe developers move to Eclipse-based IDE’s they can be assured of the lightweight repository support they need along with the automation necessary for them to develop and deploy quickly. The Client Pack gives development teams the ability to work cross-platform while sharing the same development sandbox. The team can then deploy their application to z/OS, z/Linux or USS environments as their application dictates. This means the Agile project team working in Java, COBOL and CICS web-services can build and deploy together.
  • Secure Parallel Development – uniquely Serena’s Audit capability, a built-in feature of ChangeMan ZMF, ensure that all streams of development check code back into the trunk before deployment. In this way massive and complex branching and merging is managed simply and efficiently. Serena even provides an optional tool automate merging code streams
  • Continuous Integration – whenever developers stage components they are automatically built and developers receive instant feedback if they break something
  • Shift Left – the open API allows third party and home grown tools for static code analysis to be built into the build process and ChangeMan ZMF executes these sending feedback directly to the developer is exceptions occur

Mainframe DevOps Teams

For Change and Release teams shifting to a DevOps-based culture Serena has a number of exceptional technologies designed specifically to support the unique complexity of releasing software on the mainframe.

  • Deployment Pipelines – the promotion model in ZMF defines the path to production of multiple test and production target environments. ZMF deploys the application to these environments and manages environment specific needs (such as database rebinds) automatically. Target environments can be single or multiple instances with separate deployment rules
  • Continuous Deployment – ZMF is approval based and is designed to automate actions, such as deployment, upon receipt of the appropriate approvals. ZMF fully automates this process and, optionally, allows for the deployments to occur on a scheduled basis)
  • Enterprise Release – an optional extension of ChangeMan ZMF, called Enterprise Release, gives DevOps teams the clear visibility of project, product, application, release progress from inception to safe delivery into production. Uniquely Enterprise Release enables cross application releases to be managed and upstream and downstream dependencies to be tracked. For any organization trying to streamline the flow of changes Enterprise Release is essential
  • Release Control – provides Enterprise DevOps teams with visibility across platforms, from mainframe to mobile, of development efforts moving through the lifecycle. Serena Release Control has the unique ability then enables Biz, Dev, DevOps and Ops teams to collaborate and coordinate changes across platforms and repositories. Built-in dashboards provide every stakeholder with visibility and control over deployments
  • Automated Deployment – coordinating the deployment of applications which span platforms is no longer an issue. Serena’s Deployment Automation tool retrieves code from a variety of source-code repositories, including ChangeMan ZMF, moves the application through the deployment pipeline (across platforms) and ensures all tiers of the application arrive is all the right places together. It can even automate the backout should any part of the deployment fail. Deployments can be scheduled, can be simulated and the deployment is constructed completely graphically eliminating the need for scripting

To learn more about Serena Enterprise DevOps solutions for the mainframe and for other platforms check out the product pages on

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