IBM z Systems Supports Modern Languages, Tools, Optimization and Processes

z Systems modernization
Illustration by Martin O’Neill

If any one constant in today’s economy exists, it’s change. The competitive landscape morphs, customer demands shift daily, and the companies that prosper don’t follow trends—they create them. Organizations depend upon not just innovative ideas but also on the developers who make them real. Developers, in turn, depend on new tools and languages that enable them to take an idea from concept to reality faster than ever.

Because of those changing market dynamics, development alone isn’t enough. It must be backed by a scalable infrastructure so that when volumes of a mobile app jump from hundreds of thousands to millions of transactions daily, users still get what they’re looking for.

The z Systems* family supports modern development with the latest languages, up-to-date tools and key processes. At the same time, a comprehensive suite of support and optimization tools makes it possible for legacy applications on the platform to run faster and more efficiently.

Open-Source Options

To respond to today’s business climate, developers must innovate quickly and efficiently. Particularly in the case of mobile apps, this has led to a trend toward programming as a process of assembling building blocks—calling pre-existing code using APIs rather than writing software from the ground up.

In addition, several easy-to-use languages have sprung up side by side with open development tools and open software stacks, all built on the granddaddy of open source: Linux*.

IBM recognized the value of Linux early on, bringing it to the mainframe in 2000. Today, the OS and its ecosystem play a key role in the surging mobile app sector. Here, infrastructure definitely matters. Consider financial transactions as a case in point. When online banking took place on a desktop, it was an occasional service. Now that it’s as easy as pulling out a smartphone, transaction volumes have increased. Previously, Linux on z Systems meant running a few Linux partitions side by side with z/OS* partitions. To provide scalability for clients serving mobile apps and cloud deployments, IBM has released IBM LinuxONE*, a hardware, software and services offering centered around dedicated Linux machines.

Linux gives mainframe developers and IT staff access to a range of offerings, including Apache Spark analytics, the PostgreSQL open-source database, and noSQL databases such as MongoDB and MariaDB. Users can choose from three Linux distributions on the mainframe—Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu. The latter offers key resource-management tools that streamline cloud-based provisioning and development, and make it easy for developers to take advantage of the z Systems platform.

“It’s Linux but more flexible, scalable and secure,” says Karen Hunt, director of offering management, development and support for compilers and enterprise products, z Systems. “The developers see the same interfaces they’re used to, but the machine behind it is more powerful.”

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.

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