The Evolution of ChangeMan ZMF (Part 2)

In my last post I took you through the history of ChangeMan ZMF during the time it underwent several name changes.  ‘Change Man’ became ‘ChangeMan,’ which turned into ‘ChangeMan ZMF’ at version 5.  Here I continue to trace the evolution and revolution of ChangeMan ZMF through to present day version 7.

In the planning phase of version 6, and with the growing popularity of Web Services, we could no longer assume that requests coming into ZMF were simply from TSO users as in the past. With product integrations, web service calls embedded in application code,  and initiatives for Release Management and Orchestrated ALM, many requests were coming into ZMF and we needed to again address scalability. Along with a growing backlog of customer-driven enhancement requests that could only be achieved through major architectural changes, the time certainly arrived for the architectural overhaul of ZMF.

Sernet was redesigned to better accommodate the volume and diverse types of requests coming into the system. With this redesign, we moved away from 32K chunking/chaining to a continuous data stream. Redundant and obsolete code that was more relevant in previous releases was removed, and particular focus was placed on scalability and error recovery.

Impact Analysis (IA) was redesigned to reside in a data space and stored in a Linear Data Set when the task is down. Benefits of the redesign of IA :

  1. To improve performance.
  2. To expose XML/Web Service enablement to our customers.
  3. To position for Java support (which came in v7).
  4. To accommodate the new unlimited component history capabilities.

Promotion was enhanced to accommodate renames and scratch requests; the addition of a promotion scheduler was added, too.

Component Meta-data Rewrite/Expansion

Customers, particularly in the financial sector, have the requirement of maintaining unlimited component history. Previously, only 24 levels of component history were maintained. With the arrival of each new version, the 24th was pushed off the stack.  ChangeMan ZMF Version 6 supports unlimited numbers of component history; it also accommodates variable length records and allows the storage of user meta data and/or parameters.

Today, more application development is being done off the mainframe to reduce costs and because new developers prefer to work in the environment of their choice. ChangeMan ZMF supports a variety of these development environments.  For several years, Serena has offered ChangeMan zDD, which provides a Windows Explorer view and has worked very well for many of our customers. Other developers prefer to work in IDEs, such as Eclipse. We’ve provided WD4ZMF (WebSphere Developer for ZMF) and an Eclipse plugin allowing access into ZMF using WDz.  Most recently, we introduced the ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack, which combined zDD, an Eclipse plugin that allows for native Eclipse access to ZMF, and a plugin for IBM Rational Developer for z/OS (RDz) – the rebrand of WDz.

Screenshot from the latest Eclipse plugin from ChangeMan ZMF v7

In addition to this support for off-platform development, Serena aligned with the trend to support the large increase in hybrid application deployments — use of Java, XML and Web Services.  This not only maintains its leading position with regard to managing legacy assets, but also provides ChangeMan ZMF governance for modern application development on the mainframe, including:

  1. Full Java support tightly integrated into the product, including build, promotion, audit, and impact analysis.
  2. Support of native file systems: HFS/zFS, which includes full support for 255-byte file names and 1024-byte path names within the product. This includes Development, Staging, Promotion and Baseline libraries.
  3. PDS/PDSE is still supported as well for legacy components. This support was incorporated into not only zDD and Eclipse, but into ISPF and all service interfaces as well.

While we have never expected ISPF to be the interface of choice with Java programmers, you never know.   So, all of the appropriate panels have zoom capabilities to show the full names (in accordance with ISPF standards).

I mention this  because this is where the Evolution vs. Revolution discussion is important.  Support for the new trends of mainframe modernization (IDEs, deployment of hybrid applications, management of modern languages and file systems) built upon a quarter-century of stability, rigor and integrity. Like rings around a tree.

The ChangeMan ZMF team has been busy!  We had 3 major product releases in the last 4 years with 9 maintenance releases across 3 versions.  It’s a continuous effort to balance investment in the existing feature set with addressing customer enhancements and aligning with the market — all while ensuring the future of ChangeMan ZMF.

Thanks for all the feedback on my last post.  I still welcome your comments below!

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