Rapid mainframe app delivery, with even greater scale and skill
Digital means change and change, without care, means risk. Enter stage left the latest mainframe application modernization update from Micro Focus which, as Derek Britton explains, is designed to tackle today’s most taxing core application delivery challenges.
Dealing with disruption: the DX Effect
This week Micro Focus released its latest update of its Enterprise Suite mainframe application delivery technology, version 5.0. It offers even greater value and capability to organizations looking to modernize their core mainframe applications.
And a growing number of mainframe shops are doing just that. Look at this startling fact – 88% of the Fortune 500 companies dropped off that list within a 50 year period. Failure to change, and fast, can mean consignment to the history books.
That’s the reality facing organizations in the digital age.
Change is vital to stay ahead of the competition. But rapid change can be expensive, and risky. In fact 71% of all IT projects fail.
Micro Focus offers a better way: Modernization. A pragmatic, low-cost, low-risk transformation model. Our comprehensive mainframe modernization capabilities cover the three key aspects of core IT delivery.
Application – Increase application value with low-risk innovation. From a modernized, secure web and mobile experience, to process automation, to APIs, web services and managed code models that support composite application delivery
Process – match application delivery speed to the pace of change. Achieve rapid application analysis, agile development, enable continuous testing and accelerated delivery
Infrastructure – organizations seeking greater connectivity, flexibility, security and cost efficiency can rapidly deploy applications across host, server, Cloud and mobile, insulating valued IT systems from infrastructure changes and security risks
Version 5.0. What’s New?
This release tackles a variety of challenges with brand new capabilities but we wanted to focus on two main areas where our investment and attention have gone, which in both cases are in response to increased customer demand.
We’ve called these areas:
1. At Scale
2. With Skill
For years, to get genuine reliability, availability, serviceability and performance in IT meant using the IBM mainframe. But the cloud is changing all of that, and many are looking at alternatives for enterprise class computing.
Some organizations are seriously exploring scale-out (multiple commodity servers running parallel workload deployments) instead of scale-up (workload consolidated on a single, large-scale platform) to meet certain business requirements. And it’s no surprise that Micro Focus can offer that flexibility. Included in the 5.0 release of the Micro Focus Enterprise Suite include new facilities to support scale-out architecture for large, complex enterprise systems:
– Providing linear performance scaling means applications running on scale-out environments that can expand and contract on demand
– Providing highly available support and redundancy that removes single points of failure across infrastructure, applications and data
– Enabling the operation of business systems that are running across multiple nodes
– Supporting deployment onto multiple Enterprise server regions that can be scaled on premise, in cloud instances or in containers which provides predictable application performance throughput
– Supporting multiple instances of application deployment removes single points of failure. One Enterprise Server instance failing will not interrupt business continuity, as capacity can be shared with other regions while new instances are automatically started.
– Removing availability issues with COBOL or PL/I data, by hosting VSAM files in a relational database (MS SQL Server or PostGres (Aurora in AWS)).
– Managing deployment complexity by grouping Enterprise Server regions in a scale-out architecture as logical clusters (performance and availability clusters) and managing them through a new admin interface. The new Enterprise Server Admin UI can manage all Enterprise Server assets regardless of where they reside in the hybrid infrastructure.
Enterprise-class, scalable deployment environments require enterprise class expertise to continue to build, maintain and modernize those systems, regardless of where they are deployed. One of the challenges facing mainframe shops today is the lack of skilled talent to continue to deliver core mainframe applications in the future. Today’s application development graduates are well-versed in Java, C# and other modern languages and are perfectly capable of learning others. The task of cross-training those already knowledgeable in Java or C#, the additional syntax of COBOL or PL/I systems can be largely straightforward and is a much lower overall effort than finding and training mainframe professionals on traditional tooling.
Modern mainframe technology is available to this new breed of IT professionals in the same way other technology is; smart features available through modern IDEs, embracing agile development processes. Micro Focus’ latest release contains additional capabilities to further support application delivery for today’s mainframe developer:
– Modern integrated development environments built on the latest Microsoft Visual Studio or Eclipse based frameworks provide a robust, contemporary mainframe application development interface
– Contemporary development capabilities for mainframe COBOL and PL/I applications such as instant feedback on syntax errors, content assist, syntax colorization, outline view and a comprehensive debug environment provide a faster change of mainframe application source
– Application analysis, code visualization and coding standards checking removes the need to have access to application experts and offers application knowledge at the point of change
– Unit test capabilities with a local execution engine that supports unit test framework and provides code coverage and performance statistics
– REST APIs to better support integration of Enterprise tools into an existing toolchain or to provide automated tasks as part of a continuous integration or delivery process
And of course that’s not all. With significant areas of enhancement in support for PL/I mainframe compatibility, development and testing, as well as notable updates to accelerate delivery processes through our workflow management utility, 5.0 offers a rich variety of improvements.
Enterprise Application Modernization from Micro Focus
Our track record and credentials in Enterprise Modernization offers our customers a unique and comprehensive capability. Customers can expect 50% – 90% reduction in IT operations costs, performance improvement of up to 50% for batch and online transactions, and a 40% faster delivery time through smarter technology and a renewed mainframe delivery practice.
Whether your goal is to reignite mainframe application delivery, or look to deploying trusted applications across new platforms such as Linux or Cloud, Micro Focus’ mainframe modernization solution is there to help.
As one reviewer commented, “With Enterprise Server 5.0, Micro Focus has simplified the support of larger workloads by scaling out for high performance, continuous availability and on-demand workload balancing. We believe that this is a major step in the right direction for mainframe modernization”.
Version 5.0 of the Enterprise Suite is out now. The following products are available:
– Application Analysis – Enterprise Analyzer
– Application Development – Enterprise Developer for Z
– Application Testing – Enterprise Test Server
– Application Deployment – Enterprise Server and Enterprise Server for .NET
Read our solution brochure “The New Economics of Enterprise IT”, and learn more about the release here.
Listen to the release webcast here.