The Two-Rail Track to the Mainframe’s Future

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Enterprise IT leaders are engaged in intensive transformation of their mainframes. They recognize that their core mainframe  applications are of extraordinary importance to their competitiveness and that the mainframe is a supremely powerful platform on which to run those applications.

They also recognize that they can no longer afford to let the mainframe languish as a neglected silo. An enterprise is only as agile as its least agile digital asset. So mainframe software delivery must be truly modernized—now.

True mainframe modernization, however, requires aggressive action along two parallel tracks:

  1. The empowerment of IT professionals with mainstream skill sets to collaboratively engage in Agile and DevOps best practices as they continuously refine and improve mainframe code.
  2. Integration of mainframe DevOps with DevOps across other enterprise platforms, including distributed and cloud.

These twin imperatives—modernization of mainframe tools and practices, along with tighter integration into the multi-platform enterprise—are central to the success of large enterprises.

Not coincidentally, Compuware today once again made news that underscores our unique support for both these mainframe imperatives.

Rail 1: Automated unit testing for all mainframe environments and languages

Unit testing is fundamental to modern software development. It enables developers to discover problems in their code as early as possible, to more nimbly deliver incremental changes in software functionality, and to more granularly document their work.

Historically, unit testing in mainframe environments has been manual or prohibitively difficult—greatly undermining the ability of mainframe developers to engage in Agile and DevOps best practices. Compuware changed that with Topaz for Total Test, which streamlines and automates both the creation and the execution of unit testing on the mainframe.

And today, Compuware acquired XaTester from Xact Consulting A/S, enabling us to deliver the most comprehensive automated unit testing capabilities in the market. The XaTester technology rounds out a complete set of unit testing capabilities that covers all relevant mainframe environments and languages including CICS, IMS, DB2, VSAM, COBOL, PL/1 and Assembler.

Compuware’s vision is a unified test automation solution leveraging the strength of both Topaz for Total Test and XaTester under the Topaz brand. We are confident in our ability to keep this promise because we’ve been leveraging Agile and DevOps best practices to keep our promises every quarter for the past 15 quarters straight.

Bottom line: Compuware is the unmatched leader in mainframe unit testing—which, by extension, makes us the best partner for mainframe modernization’s “rail 1.”

Rail 2: Testing calls between the mainframe and other platforms

 Compuware is also now partnering with Parasoft, a leading innovator in test automation. The integration of Parasoft SOAtest and Topaz for Total Test enables developers working on mainframe to quickly and easily test API calls between mainframe and non-mainframe systems.

This integration complements Topaz’s integration with popular cross-platform DevOps tools such as Jenkins, SonarQube and XL Release—which make it easier for developers to coordinate their work on the mainframe with related activities in the enterprise’s distributed and cloud environments.

That coordination is clearly vital given how the web-based and mobile services large enterprises deliver to employees, customers, supply-chain partners and others almost invariably depend on data and application logic hosted across multiple back-end platforms—including the mainframe.

Here again, Compuware is the unmatched leader. No one makes it easier for your digital teams to work on the mainframe in a common manner with distributed and cloud—using their preferred combination mainframe-specific and cross-platform tools.

The third rail

Of course, we can’t transform your mainframe just by offering great solutions. For transformation to happen, someone within your organization must actually lead it and build consensus for it.

Such essential leadership is, in fact, the “third rail” of mainframe transformation. It’s the source of power that propels the mainframe along the two-rail track to its target state. And it must come from within.

 So if you’re responsible for the success of an enterprise with a mainframe—and if you’re ready to lead its transformation—we invite you to engage with us. Your organization’s future may well depend on it.

Reach me at or via LinkedIn.

This blog originally appeared on LinkedIn

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Chris O'Malley

Chris O’Malley is CEO of Compuware, where he is responsible for setting the company’s vision, mission and strategy. With 30 plus years of IT experience, Chris has led the company’s transformation into becoming the “mainframe software partner for the next 50 years.” Before joining Compuware in 2014, Chris was CEO of VelociData. Previous to that, he was CEO of Nimsoft, EVP of CA’s Cloud Products & Solutions and EVP/GM of CA’s Mainframe business unit, where he led the successful transformation of that division.