Compuware: Enabling Agile on the enterprise mainframe

There’s a thought in the world that the mainframe is not part of the new enterprise IT landscape or can’t keep up. Compuware, as a company, is proving that the mainframe can compete. As the world’s only mainframe-dedicated software vendor, Compuware uses the same tools it provides to customers to build its own software. “We drink our own champagne. In other words, we’re embracing what we’ve done, and we do it every day,” says David Rizzo, vice president of product development for Compuware.

“The mainframe is a key part of the enterprise that will be used for the next 50 years by those companies that are using it today. It can fit into the modern processes and cycles that use the same tools being used in other areas of the enterprise,” according to Rizzo. Common enterprise tools like Jenkins, SonarSource, SonarLint and SonarQube, and XebiaLabs’ XL Release, that have been embraced on the non-mainframe side can, in fact, be integrated on the mainframe side, so it’s not an “either/or” decision for enterprise development managers.

Compuware’s solutions are designed to help make developers more productive and, as Agile has become the preferred method for development in most organizations, the company’s tools fit into that framework. They have been adapted in a way that helps them to work with the Agile process and associated iterative cycles. For example, Compuware Topaz is a modern Agile platform of mainframe development and testing tools that integrates into a DevOps toolchain. The Eclipse-based IDE enables enterprise users to visualize complex application logic and data relationships, make changes to code, test and debug, and tune for performance. Developers also have access to non-Compuware products and distributed solutions all in the same familiar environment.

ISPW, Compuware’s Agile source code management product for the mainframe, allows for multiple code stream and concurrent development on the same elements, which is a challenge that Compuware and its customers have had with some other source management systems. With ISPW, very little input from the developer is required after the initial code is done. Jenkins can manage code throughout the development life cycle by automating the steps of generate, promote, compile and deploy on the mainframe. Unit testing, a time-consuming and complicated practice traditionally shunned by developers, can now be easily done with Topaz for Total Test and newly acquired XaTester. Compuware Hiperstation complements Topaz by performing automated regression testing, system-level testing and component testing.

Embracing hybrid IT and the cloud has come naturally to Compuware. On a company level, everything runs on their mainframe or runs in the cloud. The company eliminated its x86 servers. If it’s core to their business, it runs on mainframe. If it’s not, the company uses cloud services. Compuware partnered with Amazon AWS so customers can deploy Topaz on AWS instead of installing it on individual workstations. With Topaz on AWS, users can get immediate access to new capabilities instead of waiting days or weeks for updates to be rolled out. The company’s strategy is to make its tools available through cloud services, to allow users to work in the same environment, no matter where they physically happen to be, through the web.

Compuware differentiates from the competition by maintaining its focus solely on the mainframe. Rizzo says, “We innovate on the mainframe. Our competitors are all mainframe, obviously, but they’re conflicted on what they do because they do distributed technology and mainframe technology. They’re not solely focused on it. And quite frankly, they do a limited amount of new innovation on the mainframe.” He adds, “We are very different in that we are still providing new innovation on the mainframe every quarter. We just released our 15th consecutive quarterly delivery with new feature functionality for the mainframe software and supporting mainframe developers, Agile and DevOps.”

In large enterprises, Rizzo says Agile adherence is stronger on the non-mainframe side, butsays,“We see on the mainframe side, it continues to become the preferred method and is growing. In a few years, it will be the de facto standard across all of enterprise IT. I believe that they’ll be doing Agile because it makes sense with doing smaller iterations and being able to be more responsive to the end users and customers.”

Compuware’s customers see a necessity to do things differently than the way they’ve worked in the past. They realize they need to show progress as they go. They can’t wait weeks, months or possibly years for innovation. He affirms, “I think Agile will continue to grow and be embraced throughout the enterprise and Compuware will be there to support it.”

Content provided by SD Times and Compuware. 

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