Rapid, Reliable: How System z can be the best of both

Background – BiModal Woes

I’ve spent a good deal of time speaking with IT leaders in mainframe shops around the world. A theme I keep hearing again and again is “We need to speed up our release cycles”.

It often emerges that one of the obstacles to accelerating the release process is the differences in release tools and practices between the mainframe and distributed application development teams. Over time many mainframe shops converged on a linear, hierarchical release and deployment model (often referred to as the Waterfall model). Software modifications are performed in a shared development environment, and promoted (copied) through progressively restrictive test environments before being moved into production (deployment). Products such as Micro Focus Serena Changeman zMF and CA Endevor® automate part of this approach. While seemingly cumbersome in today’s environment, this approach evolved because it has shown, over the decades, to provide the required degree of security and reliability for sensitive data and business rules that the business demands.

But, the software development landscape continues to evolve. As an example, a large Financial Services customer came to us recently and told us of the difficulty they are starting to have with coordinating releases of their mainframe and distributed portfolios using a leading mainframe solution: CA Endevor®. They told us: “it’s a top down hierarchical model with code merging at the end – our inefficient tooling and processes do not allow us to support the volume of parallel development we need”.

What is happening is that in distributed shops, newer, less expensive technologies have emerged that can support parallel development and other newer, agile practices. These new capabilities enable organizations to build more flexible business solutions, and new means of engaging with customers, vendors and other third parties. These solutions have grown up mostly outside of the mainframe environment, but they place new demands for speed, flexibility, and access to the mainframe assets that continue to run the business.

Proven Assets, New Business Opportunities

The increasing speed and volume of these changes to the application portfolio mean that the practice of 3, 6 or 12 month release cycles is giving way to demands for daily or hourly releases. It is not uncommon for work to take place on multiple updates to an application simultaneously. This is a cultural change that is taking place across the industry. “DevOps” applies to practices that enable an organization to use agile development and continuous release techniques, where development and operations operate in near synchrony.

This is where a bottleneck has started to appear for some mainframe shops. The traditional serial, hierarchical release processes and tools don’t easily accommodate newer practices like parallel development and continuous test and release.

As we know, most organizations with mainframes also use them to safeguard source code and build scripts along with the binaries. This is considered good practice, and is usually followed for compliance, regulatory or due diligence reasons. So the mainframe acts as not only the production environment, but also as the formal source code repository for the assets in production.

The distributed landscape has long had solutions that support agile development. So as the demand to incorporate Agile practices the logical next step would be to adopt these solutions for the mainframe portfolio. IBM Rational Team Concert and Compuware’s ISPW take this approach. The problem with these approaches is that adopting these solutions implies that mainframe developers must adopt practices they are relatively unfamiliar with, incur the expense of migrating from existing tried and trusted mainframe SCM processes to unknown and untested solutions, and disrupt familiar and effective practices.

Why Not Have it Both Ways?

So, the question is, how can mainframe shops add modern practices to their mainframe application delivery workflow, without sacrificing the substantial investment and familiarity of the established mainframe environment?

Micro Focus has the answer. As part of the broader Micro Focus Enterprise solution, we’ve recently introduced the Enterprise Sync product. Enterprise Sync allows developers to seamlessly extend the newer practices of distributed tools – parallel development, automatic merges, visual version trees, and so forth, and to the mainframe while preserving the established means for release and promotion.

Enterprise Sync establishes an automatic and continuous two-way synchronization between your mainframe CA Endevor® libraries and your distributed SCM repositories. Changes made in one environment instantly appear in the other, and in the right place in the workflow. This synchronization approach allows the organization to adopt stream-based parallel development and preserve the existing CA Endevor® model that has worked well over the decades, in the same way that the rest of the Micro Focus’ development and mainframe solutions help organizations preserve and extend the value of their mainframe assets.

With Enterprise Sync, multiple developers work simultaneously on the same file, whether stored in a controlled mainframe environment or in the distributed repository. Regardless, Enterprise Sync automates the work of merging, reconciling and annotating any conflicting changes it detects.

This screenshot from a live production environment show a typical mainframe production hierarchy represented as streams in the distributed SCM. Work took place in parallel on two separate versions of the same asset. The versions were automatically reconciled, merged and promoted to the TEST environment by Enterprise Sync. This hierarchical representation of the existing environment structure should look and feel familiar to the mainframe developers, which should make Enterprise Sync relatively simple to adopt

It is the automatic, real time synchronization between the mainframe and distributed environments without significant modification to either that makes Enterprise Sync a uniquely effective solution to the increasing problem of coordinating releases of mainframe and distributed assets.

By making Enterprise Sync part of a DevOps solution, customers can get the best of both worlds: layering on modern practices to the proven, reliable mainframe SCM solution, and implementing an environment that supports parallel synchronized deployment, with no disruption to the mainframe workflow. Learn more here or download our datasheet.

Announcing the 2016 Micro Focus Innovation Award winners at iChange2016

Ashley Owen announces the 2016 Micro Focus Innovation Award winners from the recent #iChange2016 DevOps event in Chicago. Who delivered Value to the organization that enables dramatic improvement in the delivery of IT services? Which technical mastermind Innovated by deploying a Micro Focus solution in a way that pushes the technology in new direction? Who scooped the award for the Satisfaction created in IT or the business as a result of making use of a Micro Focus solution? Find out by reading on……

It was my pleasure to announce the winners of the 2016 Micro Focus Innovation Awards at the recent #iChange2016 event in Chicago. This year, the categories were:

  1. Innovation in deploying a Micro Focus solution in a way that pushes the technology in new direction.
  2. Delivering Value to the organization that enables dramatic improvement in the delivery of IT services.
  3. Satisfaction that has been created in IT or the business as a result of making use of a Micro Focus solution.

We received some exceptional customer presentations this year, making the choice particularly difficult. However, after much deliberation I was delighted to announce the winners and welcomed them onto main stage to tremendous applause by conference attendees. The winners were:

Innovation:

Matt Northrup
Great American Insurance Group
Implementing Enterprise Release Management

Transitioning from simply automating deployments of specific components and applications to fully orchestrating the enterprise release activities using Dimensions CM, Release Control, and Deployment Automation. This solution has become central to supporting an organizational initiative to expand the implementation of ITIL based processes, accommodating the increasing demand for Agile and DevOps practices and innovations.

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Delivering Value:

Martin Skala
LBMS s.r.o
Key IT processes Implementation within 10 months in Allianz

Implementing Demand, Change, Incident, Problem, Development, Test, Defect, Release, Config & Release management integrated together within the SBM Platform. All processes and practices were implemented within 10 months and evaluated as “Project of the year 2015’ by the IT Service management forum in the Czech republic delivering so much value.

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Satisfaction:

Prakash Balakrishnan
Nationwide
Ramping up ChangeMan Migration

Migrating from one Change Management product to another traditionally presents many challenges, including cultural, technical and project schedules. Nationwide overcame these challenges and successfully migrated from Endevor to ChangeMan.

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Many congratulations again Matt, Martin and Prakash and thanks to all the other entrants! See you next time…..

Ashely

Ashley Owen

Continuously secure and manage your open source components

WhiteSource Software, the leader in continuous open source security and compliance management, presented and demonstrated a deep integration with Dimensions CM allowing teams to secure and manage use of open source components at the recent Micro Focus DevOps Interchange in Chicago. Ashley Owen explains more…..

DevOpsXchangeChic

During the Micro Focus DevOps Interchange 2016 conference this week, WhiteSource, the leader in continuous open source security and compliance management, presented and demonstrated a deep integration with Dimensions CM allowing teams to secure and manage use of open source components.  This partnership makes the WhiteSource open source security and license compliance solution available to users of Serena Dimensions CM 14.3.2 in November.

business-operations

WhiteSource integrates directly into the Dimensions CM Continuous Inspection toolchain, enabling rapid feedback on open source security and license compliance risks for business critical custom applications within the Application development and delivery lifecycle. The invocation of the WhiteSource service is performed seamlessly and the results are available within Dimensions CM Pulse UI.

WhiteSource’s integration gives users the ability to find and fix open source components with security vulnerabilities, severe software bugs or compliance issues related to licensing. These features are seamlessly integrated for Serena users, allowing a safer, better use of open source components in their software while simultaneously increasing productivity. No longer will teams collaborating on projects have to manually track open source usage, or speculate whether they are using vulnerable components.

 

Ashely

 

 

Ashley Owen

Introducing Micro Focus Enterprise Sync: Delivering Faster Change

Delivering Mainframe DevOps involves managing a lot more change a lot more often. This might need improving processes, but also demands more of technology. Amie Johnson unveils how Micro Focus is supporting collaborative change.

Introduction

At Micro Focus, we believe mainframe organizations can achieve DevOps levels of efficiency by just taking advantage of modern, efficient tools, agile development practices and fostering better team collaboration. It’s simply a matter of incrementally removing application delivery bottlenecks.

As such, Micro Focus just introduced a new product within our Enterprise Solution set aimed at helping mainframe developers deliver new releases, faster.

Enterprise Sync tackles head on one of the major delivery bottlenecks our customers encounter: coordinating and orchestrating rapid code change – needed in a DevOps model – using conventional mainframe configuration management tools.

The product supports rapid, contemporary parallel development to provide a means to adopt a more agile delivery method across mainframe development teams.

Why can’t we deliver multiple streams?

DevOps promises to eradicate delays in IT delivery. So, in the mainframe world, what’s the bottleneck?

One of the issues is all about how deliveries are managed. As robust as they are, trusted old mainframe configuration management tools weren’t designed to support parallel development, so multi-stream code merges are difficult, manual and prone to error. But, these mainframe configuration management tools hold unique configuration detail and metadata which are essential to supporting critical mainframe applications. So, while replacing such tools completely is out of the question, customers are looking for ways to support a more agile delivery model.

Removing Barriers

The Micro Focus solution, Enterprise Sync, helps solve the bottleneck associated with a desire to introduce parallel development activities. It does this by replicating mainframe source code to a distributed software configuration management platform. Code changes made via parallel development on the distributed platform are automatically synchronized with the mainframe SCM environment, such as CA Endevor. The integration and synchronization effectively introduces a new paradigm of speed and accuracy in delivering parallel development streams for mainframe delivery. This seamless integration with established software change management tools uniquely addresses the need to deliver faster change while preserving the organization’s valuable investment in mainframe processes and their software change and configuration management environment.

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As part of the wider Micro Focus Enterprise product set, Enterprise Sync works collaboratively with our flagship mainframe application development tool, Enterprise Developer, to deliver:

  • Easier parallel development at scale across releases or teams
  • Greater efficiency through management and visualization of code change using modern tools
  • Alignment with current mainframe development process and source code
  • Improved developer productivity through continuous integration of key updates

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Find out more

Establishing a modern mainframe delivery environment may be central to your DevOps strategy. Learn more about how Micro Focus can help with a complementary Value Profile Service. See what’s possible and hear more about how Micro Focus has helped transform mainframe application delivery.

Achieve DevOps levels of efficiency, flexibility and collaboration. Learn more about the new Enterprise Sync release on the website, or download the product datasheet.

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