Debunking Mainframe Limitations with DevOps/AppDev Tools

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In the ever-shifting markets professionals work in today, companies must have the ability to remain agile and flexible throughout their business operations. To combat the uncertainties of the marketplace and customer demands for fast service, businesses have turned to open-source technology over the past decade. Open-source technologies provide IT and development teams with the agility to implement innovative tools and practices—such as DevOps and Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).

As more and more businesses continue to adopt open-source, it is clear that it is the future of software development and operational production. However, these innovative solutions have been strongly marketed with cloud-based products, leading many mainframe-reliant businesses to believe they cannot successfully implement opensource software into their operations, primarily due to a perceived lack of connectivity.

Thought leaders within companies leveraging mainframes may also fear that a lack of integration with newer open-source tools can lead to skill gaps downstream or that it will take too long to fix open-source vulnerabilities for the mainframe. Thus, decision-makers feel they must completely overhaul their mainframe infrastructure for a cloud model or risk being left in the dust by the competition.

However, this could not be further from the truth. Organizations working within mainframe environments have the option to modernize their mainframe operations.

By modernizing the mainframe, teams can:

  • Build customer-centric, digital-first businesses atop existing mainframe infrastructure.
  • Improve productivity and reduce friction for workforces with digital access to mainframe data and systems.
  • Ensure compliance with existing regulations or laws and mitigate security risks common with cloud applications.
  • Bridge the skills gap for new talent unfamiliar with mainframe languages.
  • Employ modern agile methodologies to bring applications and services to market quicker and remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

But how exactly can businesses integrate open-source software into their infrastructure and reap the benefits?

The answer to this question is open DevOps/AppDev modernization tools that balance the wants of developers for open-source technology with the needs of companies for trusted security and support.

Let’s take a closer look at how these tools work, their benefits, and the essential features to look for in an open DevOps/ AppDev tool.

How Open DevOps/AppDev Modernization Tools Work and Their Benefits

A modern open DevOps pipeline requires the use of open-source languages and tools. However, the lack of secure and supported open-source ports to the mainframe has historically made it nearly impossible for IT teams to incorporate mainframe structures into a unified DevOps pipeline. That is until the introduction of DevOps/AppDev modernization solutions to the market.

DevOps/AppDev modernization tools are entirely based in open-source environments. These tools make the mainframe more compatible with open-source solutions by connecting open-source ports and languages—such as Perl, PHP, and Python—to the mainframe infrastructure. This, in turn, allows companies to maintain compliance and the security of the mainframe, while allowing IT and development teams to integrate innovative open-source software into operations. These solutions empower developers, letting them work with industry-best open-source tools, like Apache Ant, Bash, and Conda, and flexible open-source code on top of the mainframe environment.

Working within open-source environments speeds response times to market needs as programmers can quickly access and work freely within it. That way, they can easily remove, change, or fix a part of the code in order to swiftly solve a problem or improve an application. Teams can also introduce standardized tools and processes, along with automation, to their mainframe operations to help facilitate a successful integration of cutting-edge methodologies into their mainframe infrastructure. In doing so, companies can revitalize every aspect of their application development cycle to:

  • Engage out-of-the-box automation: Teams can automate various development tasks, including data gathering, change requests, testing, deployments, and more.
  • Improve visibility to encourage collaboration: Integrating systems and operations into a unified, DevOps-friendly environment deters department silos and simplifies test scheduling.
  • Streamline system and compliance reporting: Software today provides a built-in system and compliance reporting that reduces administrative burden with preconfigured templates, permissions/controls, and automation capabilities that ensure compliance and the integrity of each finished product.
  • Enable DevSecOps: Teams can infuse security best practices into every development stage to ensure each development process or application is secure.
  • Perform management enhancement requests and changes with lean agility: Intuitive and easy-to-navigate software platforms offer unified views of entire operations to improve project scoping and speed delivery times by simplifying the collecting, tracking, and assigning of change requests.

The introduction of open-source software and the ability to seamlessly implement innovative processes will not only improve product development and speed time to market but can also increase employee satisfaction by reducing workloads and bridging the skills gap to entice new talent.

Open DevOps/AppDev software will also have a positive effect on an organization’s bottom line. By building opensource software on top of already existing mainframe technology, businesses will eliminate the costs associated with maintaining separate third-party mainframe DevOps infrastructures for mission-critical software.

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