Why Agile Mainframe Operations Is Vital for DevOps Success
As more mainframe teams follow steps to implement Agile development practices, the faster cycle times are putting more pressure on mainframe operations teams to keep production environments stable and running well. To overcome new challenges, mainframe operators must increase their agility too. Doing so will help them better support the faster, more frequent release of code and effectively collaborate with their development peers in a DevOps culture.
Your organization’s ideal approach to empowering an agile mainframe operations team will be unique, as no operations team is the same from firm to firm. However, there are some best practices Compuware has confirmed with trusted analysts and operations leaders that you can follow to ensure your path to agile mainframe operations is successful. You can read about these in Compuware’s new eBook, “9 Steps to Agile Mainframe Ops.”
Read the eBook to get more details on the procedural steps of empowering an agile mainframe operations team in a DevOps culture. Here, I’ll cover some core themes of the eBook that play into a new way of working for Operations.
At the core of agile mainframe operations is the need to develop a strong collaboration with the mainframe development team—and, really, with the entire IT organization, distributed teams included, and the entire business.
I’ve covered this extensively in other blogs, but this basically means shifting operators left so they are involved as early as possible and in closer communication with design, architecture and other planning and testing activities.
Development must be open to the idea of teaming with Operations and allowing them to be involved in standups and other Scrum meetings. But Operations must be proactive.
Operations brings the expertise of how things run, which can be invaluable in early development phases. The earlier Operations is involved, the better chance they have of being able to make suggestions that will ensure the result works well in production.
By incrementally improving the way things are today in your mainframe operations organization, turnaround time will improve to more closely match the needs of your mainframe development organization. To do this, you take key Agile Development best practices and spin them to serve the goals of agile mainframe operations, such as using agreed-upon metrics to improve quality, velocity and efficiency and using automation to:
- Promote and deploy new code faster and more frequently
- Scale your mainframe environment while keeping your skilled headcount requirements down
- De-silo your mainframe with tools for cross-platform management of code promotion
There’s huge importance in leveraging modern tools for agile mainframe operations, especially those that enable visualization. As Compuware explains in the new eBook, “While ops teams can’t use GUIs for everything, tools with graphical interfaces significantly improve productivity and reduce errors for both veteran and next-gen staff for many of their most important tasks.”
For example, Compuware Strobe provides visual insight into application problems, while Compuware ThruPut Manager provides intuitive insight into how batch jobs are being initiated and executed to minimize R4HA peaks via a web interface.
Analytical tools Compuware integrates with, like Splunk and the ELK Stack, “make it easier to extract actionable insight from large volumes of mainframe SMF files that might otherwise be too arcane to be useful for defining and tracking ops KPIs,” the eBook says.
When you can see what is being done, it is much easier to see the bottlenecks or delays in a process and eliminate them. Incremental improvements translate to increased speed of delivery while ensuring that operations work is manageable and sustainable.
These tools should be shareable between Operations and Development. In fact, a good criterion for tool selection in general should be how well it can be used by both teams, giving both a common frame of reference and terminology.
Take the Nine Steps
Implementing proven strategies can be a great way to ensure DevOps success and the faster delivery of features and functions to the business. But it’s a process. Take one step at a time, building on what you already do well, and prepare to reap the rewards of stable production systems, faster delivery times and more manageable workload.
Agile mainframe operations is possible. Download Compuware’s new eBook “9 Steps to Agile Mainframe Ops” to learn more about what you can do to get your Dev and Ops moving at the same speed.
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