Compuware Offers DevOps Greater Mainframe Visualization
April 06, 2016

Compuware announced richer, broader visualization to ISPW, its mainframe source code management (SCM) and release automation solution, and to Topaz, its solution suite for next-generation mainframe developers.

Key capabilities released by Compuware today include:

- Intuitive SCM dependency visualization. Compuware has brought intuitive visualization capabilities to its recently acquired ISPW SCM solution, so developers can immediately see how any code change they are working on relates to the rest of the mainframe environment. This is an important capability given the extensive, unanticipated, and potentially adverse impacts a seemingly minor code change in one program can have on multiple other programs due to complex — and typically undocumented — inter-relationships between mainframe applications and databases.

- Direct access to program analysis from within SCM. Compuware has integrated ISPW SCM with Topaz for Program Analysis so developers can immediately visualize complex application logic, quickly size up compile errors, and perform other useful program analysis tasks.

- Mobile administrative alerts and approvals. A new mobile interface enables DevOps managers to respond immediately to alerts when code changes are ready for approval. This anytime/anywhere mobile management eliminates a common cause of code-promotion delays in the mainframe world.

- Visual test data diagnostics. Compuware dramatically enhances the ability of development teams to quickly extract the exact right data for test/QA purposes. This test data extraction can be especially difficult to manage with arcane “green screen” tools that make it impossible to quickly understand where data originates and why a given extract may not be fulfilling test/QA requirements for completeness or sample size.

Compuware’s enhanced visualization of data relationships also provides extremely useful capabilities for companies seeking to streamline compliance with the EU’s “Right to Be Forgotten” mandates.

While most enterprises no longer write major new mainframe applications, they are under more intense pressure than ever to more quickly and frequently make critical, high-urgency changes to existing COBOL, PL/I and Assembler code. That pressure arises primarily because existing mainframe applications and data must support a growing number of user- and customer-facing distributed, web, cloud, and mobile applications.

Several factors, however, make it increasingly difficult for IT to deliver fast, error-free updates to mainframe applications as quickly as the business requires them. These factors include:

- Extremely complex dependencies between mainframe applications and databases. Over the decades, mainframe programs have accumulated a tremendous number of external calls and connections. These dependencies are usually undocumented and nearly impossible to discover simply by perusing application code.

- Declining veteran mainframe developer headcount. Most enterprise IT organizations are allowing their internal mainframe staffs to decrease by attrition. As a result, fewer developers are handling more work across more applications.

- Outdated mainframe development processes. IT’s long historical success delivering mainframe code without incident has resulted in the entrenchment of safe-but-slow waterfall development processes. Those intrinsically inflexible, sequential processes make it impossible for mainframe developers to keep pace with accelerating time-to-benefit requirements.

- Arcane/obsolete SCM tools. Many IT organizations still use the same “green screen” programming tools they have used for decades. These tools require deep technical expertise—and, because they were originally designed to support waterfall processes, are serious obstacles to the fast, simple SCM required in today’s Agile DevOps world.

Compuware Topaz empowers IT to overcome these difficulties by making even the most complex applications and data relationships visually comprehensible—allowing both veteran COBOL developers and platform novices to quickly understand, build, change, test and deploy mainframe code. Topaz also integrates with a wide range of Compuware and third-party solutions to enhance all aspects of Agile cross-platform DevOps with useful visualizations of mainframe application logic, runtime behaviors, and data dependencies.

Topaz mainframe visualizations enable enterprises to improve their digital agility, better leverage their vast mainframe investments, and survive the attrition of their mainframe SMEs. Plus, because Topaz-enabled visualizations help developers avoid errors, they reduce technology risk and mainframe operating costs.

A clear, visualization-enabled understanding of how mainframe applications behave also helps enterprises optimize performance by enabling operations staff to quickly pinpoint common bottlenecks such as poorly coded, excessively chatty interfaces between distributed middleware and DB2 databases.

“As an ever-growing number of non-mainframe applications make an ever-growing number of calls to the mainframe, the agility of large enterprises increasingly depends on their ability to quickly, safely, and efficiently modify mainframe code,” said Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley. “Compuware is the only mainframe ISV aggressively innovating to deliver visualization solutions that meet this customer challenge — thereby empowering mainframe customers to consistently out-perform any and all competitors in the digital economy.”

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