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Let’s Talk About the Elephant in the Cloud

Elephant in the Cloud


We all know the benefits that the cloud can bring to development of applications for most technologies, including but not limited to:

  • Scalability
  • Availability
  • Flexibility
  • Currency of the environment
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Cost

But somehow, mainframe development organizations have struggled to experience these benefits, held back by concerns over security, worries over compatibility and perceived unavailability of developer tooling to name a few reasons. Many mainframe organizations have been mute bystanders as their colleagues working on distributed development platforms embraced the cloud as a means of driving productivity and flexibility while reducing costs.

Cloud platforms like IBM Cloud, based on Softlayer, have made great efforts to meet the security, scalability and availability requirements of mainframe organizations. But vendors of mainframe software tooling—particularly those who purport to support DevOps—are lagging well behind their distributed counterparts, and most offer little more than lip service to cloud development for the mainframe. It’s not enough to put one tool into a cloud-based app server and claim cloud support. This isn’t progress, and it’s barely an improvement over what has been available for years with terminal servers and virtualization technology.

The good news is not all Z DevOps vendors suffer from lack of innovation and insight. One Z DevOps vendor in particular has fully embraced the cloud, enabling, for the first time, full support for horizontally scalable Z DevOps on Intel based cloud platforms like AWS and IBM Cloud. IBM now offers a full DevOps solution including the powerful and flexible IBM Z Development and Testing Environment (ZD&T) on the cloud. ZD&T, developed alongside z/OS, offers a true Z development and testing environment which can be deployed to Intel based cloud platforms. Suddenly the cloud becomes more than a basic terminal server for Z tools and on-demand Z development in the cloud becomes a reality. This is only the start because it doesn’t stop with ZD&T. As part of this Z cloud push, IBM has also made the rest of its Z DevOps tooling stack available, led by the best-in-class modern development tooling suite (IBM Application Development Foundation for Z—ADFz), to provide everything a Z developer needs to be productive on the cloud. All this is complemented by a powerful release management offering, UrbanCode Deploy, which is designed to allow applications to be deployed anywhere. This innovative IBM solution is open and extensible and heartily embraces open source tooling. As you might expect, IBM offers versatile open source and third-party tooling integrations across the IBM tool set, which enables tools like GIT, Jenkins and Sonar to play their parts and actively participate in this unique cloud-based CI/CD solution for Z DevOps. IBM also enhances the operation of open source tools with powerful and innovative new capabilities to enable users to fully benefit from the OS ecosystem on Z. The latest of these products is IBM Dependency Based Build for Z, which provides an intelligent build capability for GIT-based Z development on all platforms.

IBM has strongly embraced cloud development for Z, and in doing so has greatly expanded the development horizons for Z organizations. Leading the modernization charge for mainframe application development, IBM now offers comprehensive powerful and productive on-prem and cloud-based Z DevOps solutions.

To see this reality for yourself, take a spin with ADFz in IBM’s Z Trial Cloud Portal.

To find out more about ZD&T and z/OS on Intel platforms, look here.

Chris Trobridge is a 30-year veteran of Life Cycle Management and DevOps on z Systems, distributed and hybrid platforms with IBM and other leading software vendors. After working with many enterprise development organizations, he is currently responsible for DevOps analytics in IBM's z Systems Software group. His primary focus is helping IBM drive the use of analytics in enterprise software development organizations.



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