Compuware has become a premier member of the CloudBees Technical Alliance Partner Program (TAPP), as part of an effort to accelerate the adoption of best DevOps practices in mainframe environments.
Sam Knutson, vice president of product management for Compuware, said his company has already developed six plugins for the open source Jenkins continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. By joining TAPP, Compuware is signaling it will develop more modules in collaboration with CloudBees that can be employed on either the open source edition of Jenkins or the enterprise edition supported by CloudBees, he said.
Compuware doesn’t plan to build a CI/CD platform itself. Rather, Knutson said Compuware is pursuing an “open borders” approach to CI/CD platforms that complement its Topaz tools for building mainframe applications. As such, IT organizations should expect to see Compuware allying with multiple providers of CI/CD platforms. However, in terms of overall adoption in mainframe environments, Compuware is seeing more instances of Jenkins than any other CI/CD platform, Knutson noted.
Compuware also updated Topaz to provide a new editing experience that guides novice developers using COBOL, PL/I and JCL programming languages. It also now includes native integration with Eclipse integrated development environments (IDEs) and real-time COBOL and PL/I syntax-checking.
Knutson said the adoption of best DevOps practices and CI/CD platforms are on the rise in mainframe environments, thanks mainly to the rise of digital business initiatives that require organizations to update applications more frequently. IT teams can choose to build those applications on distributed systems that then need to be integrated with existing applications running on a mainframe, or they can modernize the applications they have running on the mainframe, he said.
The latter approach not only reduces the amount of technical debt any IT organization will need to manage, but it also results in a more secure application environment running on a mainframe, he noted. In fact, Knutson described building applications that duplicate functionality at the edge of a mainframe as “an unnatural act.”
Knutson said IT organizations that employ mainframes are at varying levels of maturity when it comes to DevOps adoption. However, he predicts in 2020 there will be many more organizations highlighting their success building and deploying applications on mainframes using DevOps practices.
Naturally, Compuware is not the only provider of mainframe tools trying to foster the adoption of best DevOps practices in mainframe environments. However, mainframe environments have employed waterfall processes for decades to build highly reliable applications. Many of the organizations that rely on those legacy processes are hesitant to abandon them if it means the application being deployed might be less stable or secure. At the same time, IT organizations that have mainframes are definitely under pressure to roll out application updates faster. As such, many of them have begun to incorporate agile programming techniques and best DevOps practices to achieve that goal. In fact, a recent survey published by Compuware finds organizations have increased deployment frequency an average of 41% for new mainframe features.
Like it or not, change is coming to mainframe application development and deployment.