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Exploring DevOps Process and Tools

June 19, 2017

In last week’s post, “Exploring Enterprise DevOps,” I wrote that it’s often useful to look at DevOps solutions that IT companies are promoting and intuit the problems that they are addressing. I listed four main areas centered on modernization, testing, speed, risk and language. These include:
  1. Discover, understand and analyze enterprise application logic to modernize apps for digital and hybrid cloud transformation
  2. Deliver ongoing software innovation with new test optimization analytics
  3. Deliver enhancements to business-critical applications quicker with less cost and lower risk
  4. Create and maintain COBOL applications for z/OS environments
 
As I wrote last week, these four areas are a field of opportunity for DevOps innovation. What process and tool innovations are there to help realize these benefits? Lets start with simple goals that inform the process and use of tools.
 
Goals

Transformation and modernization are primary goals. Many agree that continuous transformation is the best approach considering the alternative is to do nothing then make many changes at one time or replace the system entirely. I explain the benefits of the continuous modernization approach in a recent article.  Another goal is rapid delivery speed. Increasingly, this is needed because of the blistering pace of change in business. Back office systems that now have significant customer-facing applications require more rapid changes so processes and tools are needed to make this happen as business-as-usual. Another goal is high-quality outputs from systems. Quality has long been a goal for systems but the frequency of change makes this more difficult so companies are turning to specialized tools to keep application quality high despite rapid changes.

Process

A starting point for evaluating or examining enterprise DevOps is an assessment for transforming software delivery. This can be done internally or with the help of experienced IT service providers. The focus is changes that are needed in planning, development, testing and operation of software across multiple platforms.  

Typically, companies come out of this activity embracing lean, agile principles and tools with automated processes that are based on a collaborative model. The collaboration is between enterprise developers, IT operations and QA teams. The focus of their work is collaboratively delivering quality software innovation faster, efficiently and more cost-effectively.
 
Tools

The focus of the tools need to, at a minimum, support transformation, modernization, speed and quality goals. In addition, tools are needed that are specific to the environment. Modernizing CICS applications would benefit from using CICS Explorer to more easily manage CICS and utilize resource editors to create and edit resource entries. This tool helps both the Dev and Ops teams work smarter and faster. MQ has an explorer as well. IBM MQ allows you to remotely configure your messaging backbone. This graphical tool enables you to explore and configure all MQ objects and resources, including Java Message Service, and publish and subscribe. Again, a tool for Dev and Ops. These are just two tools that may help you achieve your goals.

If you’re improving your processes then you need to align tools. This activity is part of the assessment that was written about earlier in this post. IT vendors have a long list domain specific and non-specific tools to recommend so it is up to you to figure out what you need. You probably already have many of the tools that you need but you may not be aware of their updated capabilities. Unless, the continuous functional enhancements of legacy middleware is explored, some teams in an organization are simply unaware of their capabilities. In “Modernize Legacy Systems to Enable Full Potential,” I wrote:

Another focus for modernization could be rooted in making good use of enhancements in the current software technology that’s supporting the application. If the application is written in COBOL, look at one of the latest release like Enterprise COBOL for z/OS Version 5. This release, among other features, makes use of the latest z/Architecture and performance optimization, delivers XML processing enhancements for easier web interoperability, and increases compiler limits to handle larger data items and larger groups of data and to improve application exploitation of system resources.

Like COBOL, CICS and IMS have significant functional enhancements in each release that should be put to use by applications as part of ongoing modernization. Making fuller use of the middleware that is foundational to the application has the potential for significant gain that on balance may not be difficult to implement.


Your tools journey may be easier than you think.

Posted June 19, 2017 | Permalink

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