What Should You Know about Mainframe DevOps?
When it comes to the most widely implemented culture in IT industries, DevOps surely tops the list. The collaborative approach of DevOps for minimizing the software development lifecycle is the foremost reason behind its popularity. When it comes to understanding DevOps, the majority of the concepts are based on Windows and UNIX, leaving behind mainstream software development. With that in mind, this article covers all the aspects of Mainframe DevOps including its benefits, challenges, tools, and strategies.
Why do Organizations Need DevOps for Mainframe?
Before making any significant decision for an organization, it is essential to understand the ways how it will influence its overall functioning. Understanding the different effects it will provide to the organization will allow the experts to take all the right measures and ensure that the decision is worth the efforts. Below explained are some of the reasons why organizations need DevOps for Mainframe.
- Large Scale Transaction Processing:
The present enterprises focus on large-scale transactions which is why a need for a system that could handle the huge amount of transactions is preferred. DevOps for Mainframe is capable of handling thousands of transactions per second. Sectors like banking, finance, and governments rely heavily on large transaction processing, making this an excellent system for such domains.
- Manage TBs of Data:
In the present times, data is a significant factor for the efficient functioning of an organization. A system capable of managing a large amount of data is always the primary choice of enterprises. DevOps Mainframe can manage TBs of data in a database with ease. Moreover, it can handle large bandwidth communication as well.
- Access Several Resources:
Undeniably, organizations will have legions of users and applications programs. One of the biggest reasons why enterprises should consider the mainframe is that it supports thousands of apps and users programs at the same time. In addition, it can provide access to several different resources simultaneously.
Challenges Faced while Implementing Mainframe DevOps
Implementing DevOps in Mainframe is not a smooth journey. Instead, it comes with certain challenges which need to be addressed. With that in mind, here are all the major hindrances that occur while implementing DevOps in Mainframe.
- Working on Existing Applications:
DevOps is all about creating new applications. However, creating new applications is not something that occurs very often on the mainframe. Here, the experts have to work on the existing applications available on the mainframe. Mainframe applications have existed for a long period of time and the longer a particular app exists, the harder it becomes to implement DevOps. The reason behind this is that the app created years ago must have numerous modifications along with connections with several other apps. Having existed for years, these changes may not even be documented, making it even more complex for the experts to work on.
- Lack of Automation:
Automation is an additional and highly effective feature of DevOps. The biggest challenge faced in performing DevOps in Mainframe is the lack of automation. Due to this factor, testing and quality, and assurance become ineffective and slow. The lack of automation also makes it highly complex to fix production issues.
- Process and Cultural Issues:
As mentioned above, the mainframe comes with fragile integration of tools. However, it leads to poor visibility, extensibility, and scalability. In addition, this implementation leads to a cultural barrier in the organization that results in limited collaboration. A heavy-handed control of the development environment is another cultural issue that comes with this task.
Strategies to Implement DevOps in Mainframe:
Implementing DevOps in Mainframe is a complex task and experts need to create and follow certain strategies. Now that you have understood the benefits and challenges that this task comes with, it is time to put some light on the implementation strategies.
- Automate and Testing:The foremost step in implementing DevOps in Mainframe is using automating and testing. Commence by adopting and testing everything by using continuous integration build approach with preferably automated self-validating test skills. Make sure to look at the possibilities based on the present current codebase, create complicated code test setups, validate core code functionalities, and refactor the codebase to enhance testability.
- Plan, Make, and Track Versions:
No matter what the task is, planning is something that makes it easier and allows the person to tackle unexpected errors. While implementing DevOps on Mainframe, the key next part is to plan, make and track versions along with defining a pipeline of tasks. Start by unifying the mainframe application asset change management so that you could make orchestration easier. Organizations have thousands of paths due to which managing separate systems and missing assets and information is rampant. DevOps practices should force linkages automation and standardized packaging to complete this step.
- Automate Deployment:
Automation is a major functionality of DevOps and the deployment in DevOps mainframe should include automation as well. Make sure to document standardized environments, drive cloud provisioning of isolated mainframe images, and applications based on standards. Furthermore, it is essential to automate instruments and audits. Standardizing existing topologies, automating the deployment of the entire system, and creating a standardized environment for the deployment are also pivotal.
- Optimize Orchestration:
Optimizing orchestration is another strategic step used in implementing DevOps on Mainframe. It includes dependency virtualization and test data conditioning. In order to achieve this task, you can create targeted small subsets faster and efficiently as compared to cloning. It will enhance development efficiency widely. When you create the right-sized target test environment, you are saving a lot of storage costs and increasing the testing speed too.
Summarizing it, the right strategy is to automate, test, track, plan, audit, and optimize as much as possible. Without a doubt, implementing DevOps on Mainframe is a complicated task, but these strategies can make this implementation a bit less complex.
What type of tools are required to Implement MainFrame DevOps?
When it comes to DevOps Mainframe, the experts recommend performing this in a phased manner rather than doing it in one go. Start by leveraging existing tools or products to your mainframe environment to implement the CI/CD services. This approach is the most cost-effective as well as least intrusive. Once you understand the strategies, it is time to pick the best-suited tools as per your mainframe landscape. The below-mentioned are the various types of tools that you need to implement DevOps in Mainframe.
- Collaboration and Planning Tools:
DevOps is all about collaboration between two different teams for a common goal. You continually should collaborate with the mainframe teams across the platform during the entire DevOps lifecycle. The foremost category of tool that you require is surely the collaboration and planning tool. These tools allow the mainframe and distributed teams to discuss and plan the architectural approach for several projects, document the approaches, and offer the necessary feedback.
- Source Code Management Tools:
In DevOps culture, several people work on a single program at the same time as the motive of this culture is to reduce software delivery lifecycle. When DevOps is implemented on Mainframe, the mainframe team needs a source code management tool that supports post-build activities, faster changes, and simultaneous development. Moreover, it should be open so that it can be linked to the DevOps toolchain and integrated with open-source DevOps tools for better efficiency.
- Analysis Tools:
Analyzing the data is another key element of DevOps. Considering that fact, using analysis tools seems justified and they form the foundation of DevOps on the key assets. Understanding the code rapidly to plan changes, handle the backlog, and impact analysis is essential on the mainframe. Such tools enable you to improve the core assets like code, configuration, documentation, database, or website and manage them as one source, allowing you to build the rest of the program whenever required.
- Build Tools:
DevOps motive is to aid in building software faster. Build tools help in making the program ready for testing and deployment to production faster and effectively. In addition, build tools provide visibility into any occurrence on the mainframe, allowing anyone to run and monitor deploy without any specialized knowledge on mainframe technologies.
- Automated Testing Tools:
Human intervention is the primary reason for mistakes while testing as it leaves scope for negligence and reduces the efficiency of the program. Furthermore, DevOps is incompatible with manual testing. Using automated testing tools eradicate this issue by testing the code quality after the build. As these tools are accurate and quick in providing feedback, the software delivery process is quicker than before.
- Continuous Deployment Tools:
Continuous deployment is another term associated with DevOps and CD tools are also essential in the DevOps mainframe as well. These tools are needed in closed frequencies in an effective DevOps environment as application deployment is reliable, predictable, and quick. This CD ensures that the applications can be released to production whenever required while minimizing the risk as much as possible. Once the mainframe code development becomes faster, it is necessary to link it with the distributed components delivery. All these components rely on each other, making their coordinated deployment necessary.
Getting a single place to manage these deployments even when their platforms are different is vital. XL deployment and release allow the user to automate and standardize complex deployment in a legacy environment.
- Continuous Integration Tools:
Continuous integration is a pivotal part of DevOps that ensures continuous feedback. Using CI tools provides an immediate feedback look by orchestrating build and testing tasks. Also, these tools allow the teams to merge developed code several times a day, and attain feedback from quality, security, and automated tools which ensures quality.
- Monitoring Tools:
DevOps is entirely a continuous process that does not end at releasing the code. Instead, it keeps on going where the engineers will monitor the code to ensure that it is working perfectly and without any issues. Monitoring tools keep an eye on the releases, eradicating your additional efforts, and enhancing their responsiveness.
How to Pick the Right Tools For MainFrame DevOps?:
Now that you have understood the various types of tools, it is time to know about the factors that will help in picking the right tools for DevOps Mainframe.
- Effective Features of the Tool:
One of the first things that you should consider before picking the tool is its effective features. Look at the tool from the technical perspective and determine whether it will support other tools or not. Moreover, ensure that the tool is flexible, integrates with other tools, and comes with the features that are necessary to get the job done.
- Does not Disrupt Existing Projects:
Some tools come with a major limitation that they disrupt the existing projects whenever teams switch to new tools. The DevOps Mainframe tool that you pick should not come with any such limitation and ensure that it does not affect any existing user or project. However, even if it does, the impact should be as minimal as possible, or else it could lead to hefty expenses for the organization.
- Existing Users of the Tool:
The next thing to consider about the tool is its popularity or existing number of users. A highly popular tool means that more people are likely to know about the tool and have basic to advance knowledge about its functionality. Having an unpopular tool means that you have to train your existing team about the tool. In addition, any new member in the team has to be trained so that they can work on the tool. With that in mind, it is best to pick the popular tool with a herculean user base.
The article explained all about Mainframe DevOps and the key considerations to make before implementing DevOps in Mainframe. Without a doubt, the entire process is complicated and expensive. However, the right approach and methods will ensure that you accomplish this task effectively.