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Monday, April 25, 2016

Compuware boosts developer productivity by making it “Easy to Go Fast!”

By Rich Ptak


Compuware’s campaign for Mainstreaming the Mainframe continues with another partnership and innovative product improvements that provide Agility without Compromise. Earlier this year, we discussed Compuware’s commitment to make DevOps pervasive across an integrated enterprise (mainframe and distributed) computing environment. We described their design for a blended ecosystem in which both development and operations staff intimately function in a completely integrated and complementary manner.

Figure 1 (below) is a simplified, graphical view of Compuware’s vision.



Figure 1 Enabling DevOps across the Enterprise

Last quarter in two articles[1], we discussed Compuware’s acquisition of ISPW as well as its  partnerships, which include technology integrations with Atlassian Jira, SonarSource, Splunk and AppDynamics. This quarter we focus on another partnership with CorreLog and extensions to Topaz and ISPW which address the challenges associated with one of the more frustrating of software developers’ tasks, i.e. managing application source code.

The Issue:

Whatever the platform, the task of keeping applications up-to-date is a fact-of-life. For mainframe source code, often decades old and lacking reliable records of maintenance, changes, or code updates, it can be a nightmare. Release management is critical. Even experienced staff can find it extremely difficult.

Existing mainframe code management tools were designed for a different era and model of coding. They are hopelessly outdated and inadequate for today’s world of agile development and rapid programming styles. Code management needs to be made easier and streamlined. Much needed functionality that makes management quicker and easier currently exists in distributed environment tools that collect and present data.

As Compuware was optimizing their own development and operations processes, they were identifying the best possible ones for their own use with an eye to also supplying them to their customers. ISPW was just what they were looking for. They purchased the company and began integrating it into Topaz.

Combining Topaz with ISPW = Simplicity + Elegance

Compuware’s goal is to meet an identified demand for a contemporary DevOps development environment on the mainframe architecture. Their “Mainstreaming the Mainframe” strategy focuses on creating a blended ecosystem with tools attractive to both mainframers and experienced distributed systems developers who are not mainframe literate.

Combining the latest in source-code management technologies from the distributed world with Topaz, they are building a common culture to the benefit of both environments. Experienced mainframers get easier access to the latest in DevOps technology and exposed to new features that improve productivity. Especially interesting to Compuware is the opportunity to expose mainframers to the data aggregation and display capabilities that will make “it easy to go fast” in application code development, debugging and change management. Here are more examples of how the combination works together:

o   ISPW integration with Topaz provides a common look and feel while leveraging its automated capabilities and visualization strengths. Single-click access allows developers to leverage the automated capabilities and strengths of Topaz for Program Analysis. A direct link to Topaz Workbench when compiling quickens analysis of compile errors.

o   Code management is significantly easier, faster and less error-prone by using automation and visualization techniques for working on existing programs, code, copybooks, etc. to do error analysis, debugging and updating. Automatic display (with the ability to edit) of offending or suspect code along with associated error codes on a single screen means no longer having to manually search through multiple screens or pages of printouts. The result is much reduced time spent on error analysis and correction.

o   Topaz and ISPW work together to supply data useful in managing and performing source code updates and changes. Visual displays of the complete lifecycle of a project makes it easy to manage the process by maintaining a dynamic, visual record of who is working on what code, code status (edit, changes, testing, approved), etc.

o   The Impact Analysis feature within ISPW generates views of copybook, job and code dependencies, links and interactions speed understanding of program flows while reducing the risks of conflicts or disruptive changes. The depth (number of hops) of interactions that are included in the graphic display is adjustable by the developer.

o   Developers can work independently while keeping track of who and what others working on the code are doing. Automatically generated side-by-side visual displays of edited codes makes comparisons easy for error-correction, edits, merges and updates.

o   A mobile interface makes it easier to get change approval for emergency code fixes. 

There is more to the announcement including enhancements in log analysis and collection due to CorreLog SIEM Agent integration. This significantly strengthens log analysis and reporting using a standardized interface to get application-level data from mainframe application auditing solutions. In addition to its own analysis, messaging and altering, CorreLog can feed the 3270 log codes to all major SIEM solutions. This allows creation of a single view of risk and security, incidents and events across platforms.  

The Final Word

The overall takeaway is that Compuware continues to impress with their focus and progress. For six consecutive quarters they have delivered significant advances and improvements in products and solutions aimed at Mainstreaming the Mainframe.  

They have identified an obviously interested market segment who see opportunities and advantages in the mainframe, but want to provide programming tools with familiar interfaces to their next generation of developers. Also interested are those enterprises looking to integrate data centers with standardized management and operations solutions across platforms. Finally, they can serve data center managers and mainframers looking to modernize mainframe operations who are moving beyond Linux-Java to power agile development with DevOps solutions.

Compuware has accurately identified its market. In working closely with these customers, they are also uncovering unexpected opportunities to resolve weaknesses and customer discontent with other infrastructure tools. So far, Compuware has successfully been able to capitalize on such opportunities. We bet that they’ll continue to do so over coming quarters.




[1] See “Mainstreaming the Mainframe..” and “On implementing Compuware’s pioneering mainframe strategy” at: http://www.ptakassociates.com/content/