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Enterprise DevOps Paired With the IBM z14 Helps Build Modern Applications

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Many organizations are currently undergoing a digital transformation. Because about 80 percent of the world’s corporate data either resides or originates on IBM Z*, systems of engagement (e.g., mobile, cloud, web) applications need fast and efficient access to critical business applications and data on mainframes. Clients can leverage the trusted environment of IBM z14* to increase throughput, ensure security and maximize application uptime.

IBM Z Enterprise DevOps provides the proven, modern tools you need to digitally transform your enterprise applications. And in September, IBM z14 system-optimized compilers and application delivery tools were launched to help ensure that you get the most out of your IBM Z hardware investment, so your z/OS* applications are built on a firm footing.

The days where z/OS applications will automatically run faster when moved to new IBM Z hardware are ending. New IBM Z mainframes deliver performance with hardware features that are targeted to certain workloads. Advanced optimization and IBM Z hardware exploitation are key to improving your application performance and reducing CPU utilization and operating costs. To maximize ROI on the platform, it’s important to stay current with compiler technology and selectively optimize CPU-intensive parts of the applications.

Compiler Optimization

IBM’s latest Enterprise COBOL V6.2, Automatic Binary Optimizer (ABO) V1.3 and Enterprise PL/I V5.2 ship with advanced optimization technology. They have the capability to generate code that can take full advantage of the new z14 processor—especially the Vector Packed Decimal Facility feature—to provide a significant performance boost for business-critical COBOL and PL/I applications. Enterprise COBOL V6.2 and Enterprise PL/I V5.2 provide native support for JSON objects, significantly increasing the efficiency of exchanging JSON data between applications or through RESTful APIs.

IBM ABO is a unique offering with innovative technology designed to optimize the performance of COBOL program modules built with VS COBOL II V1.3 to Enterprise COBOL for z/OS V4.2, without the need for recompiling from program source (see Figure 1).

It uses an advanced optimization framework shipped in IBM Enterprise COBOL for z/OS to perform high-fidelity optimization and generate code to fully exploit IBM Z mainframes without affecting program logic. As a result, the optimized modules run faster but program behavior remains unchanged, significantly reducing testing effort.

Improving Application Delivery Velocity

In today’s era of digital transformation, it’s imperative for enterprises to drive faster innovation while ensuring the stability of core business systems. For example:

  • If a new mobile app needs a critical change to a back-end transactional system, that system of record must be agile enough to provide those services in a timely manner
  • You may have valuable z/OS business logic that you want to expose as RESTful APIs for participation in the API economy
  • You want to recompile or optimize COBOL and PL/I applications to get the most out of your IBM Z hardware, and need tools that can handle the application migration, deployment and operations

All of these activities require modern DevOps tools for developing, modernizing and maintaining z/OS applications. IBM Application Delivery Foundation for z Systems* (ADFz) offers the core set of tools to help accelerate the delivery of z/OS applications. Whether you are developing a new application or enhancing or performing problem analysis of existing applications, ADFz provides comprehensive tools to perform your development tasks efficiently.

ADFz is designed and developed to make the most of IBM compilers and middleware, and IBM Z hardware. Specifically, ADFz V3.1 offers day-one support for z/OS V2.3, Enterprise COBOL V6.2, Automatic Binary Optimizer V1.3 and Enterprise PL/I V5.2. ADFz V3.1 comes with a collection of essential, integrated development tools that can significantly increase the speed of application delivery on IBM Z. These tools can be obtained as part of ADFz or individually, and include:

  • IBM Developer for z Systems Enterprise Edition V14.1, which includes IBM Developer for z Systems V14.1, IBM Debug for z Systems V14.1, IBM Explorer for z/OS V3.1.1 and added debug capabilities. This product provides a comprehensive development and debugging solution for z/OS application developers.
  • IBM File Manager for z/OS V14.1, to manipulate production, test and development data in a variety of data stores, including Db2*, IMS*, CICS*, MQ, data sets and hierarchical file system files
  • IBM Application Performance Analyzer for z/OS V14.1, which identifies z/OS application performance and response time problems, and assists in reducing resource consumption
  • IBM Fault Analyzer for z/OS V14.1, which improves developer productivity and decreases deployment costs by helping to analyze and correct application failures quickly
  • IBM Explorer for z/OS V3.1.1, the strategic integration platform for IBM Eclipse-based offering for z/OS application developers and system programmers

Figure 2 shows that new IBM Z hardware will be delivering performance with hardware features, and developers need to pay more attention to improving application performance; this will require more effort than simply installing an application on new Z hardware.

To get the utmost application performance, you can employ the latest compilers plus the latest ADFz tools to focus on optimizing your application performance by recompiling with latest compilers, optimizing with latest ABO, and/or refactoring the application. ADFz offers specific, unique capabilities to aid in this performance improvement process, including:

  • Application Performance Analyzer to help identify candidates for recompiling and optimization, and allowing users to compare the performance of original programs and optimized programs
  • IBM Developer for z Systems (IDz) to aid in looking for parameter inconsistencies between your applications and deprecated syntax
  • Use the Load Module Analyzer (included in IDz) to associate your load module to your source code
  • New refactoring tools for COBOL applications available in IDz V14.1 • SYSDEBUG of original programs that can be used along with ABO listings to create new side files for debugging
  • Fault Analyzer for z/OS to provide abend analysis of optimized load modules
  • IBM z/OS Debugger, the core technology that powers z/OS debugging for IBM Debug for z Systems, IBM Developer for z Systems, IBM Developer for z Systems Enterprise Edition and ADFz. z/OS Debugger allows users to step through and debug optimized programs interactively.
  • Code coverage that can be employed to track testing

To further enable and streamline optimization with the latest compilers, Fault Analyzer and the z/OS Debugger exploit the COBOL DWARF side file format to streamline problem diagnosis and to provide support for programs optimized by Automatic Binary Optimizer for z/OS.

Clients See Results

More than 500 clients have adopted the latest compilers, with CPU consumption reduction ranging from 10 to 20 percent.

The DevOps for IBM Z portfolio is developed in concert with IBM Z hardware and middleware so that enhancements will be delivered together to bring maximum value to clients. ADFz provides an integrated set of development tools for creating and maintaining applications for z/OS.

It’s also a great starter set of tools to help organizations quickly adopt DevOps on IBM Z. It fully supports new features offered by Enterprise COBOL, PL/I and ABO. Developers can use the latest compilers and ADFz in harmony to become more agile and deliver applications that have quick and direct impact in realizing new value through software transformation.

Alisa Morse is offering manager for IBM Z Enterprise DevOps portfolio products and solutions including IBM Developer for z Systems, IBM Debug for z Systems, IBM Application Performance Analyzer for z/OS and IBM Application Delivery Foundation for z Systems. She is responsible for driving DevOps for Enterprise Systems offering strategy to meet the needs of IBM Z software delivery teams.

Roland Koo is offering manager for Compilers with IBM, responsible for Automatic Binary Optimizer, Enterprise COBOL, and Node.js offerings on IBM Z.


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