Topaz on AWS
October 2, 2017 DevOps, Mainframe Agility

Can Amazon Rescue COBOL?

Compuware today introduced Topaz on AWS—a groundbreaking solution that enables enterprises to deploy Topaz, our transformative Agile/DevOps solution for COBOL, on the cloud, in minutes.

Topaz on AWS provides global mainframe development, test and ops teams with immediate, secure access to Compuware’s entire solution stack. This uniquely innovative stack transforms mainframe DevOps in all the ways that count—from simplifying unit testing to making undocumented COBOL code graphically comprehensible to platform newcomers.

If your company has COBOL-based systems of record running on IBM Z, Topaz on AWS addresses your four most pressing realities:

Reality #1: You must quickly bring Agile and DevOps best practices to the mainframe.

The world’s largest corporations run their core systems of record on the mainframe. This makes sense—because the mainframe is the single most reliable, secure, scalable, cost-effective and high-performance platform on which to run those core applications.

Unfortunately, your mainframe development team probably still does application updates the old-fashioned way with waterfall tools and waterfall processes. This is entirely unacceptable in today’s fast-paced digital economy—where continuous delivery of customer-pleasing functionality is a must for maintaining parity with disruptive market newcomers.

So, you must bring Agile and DevOps to your core mainframe systems of record, while rigorously ensuring the integrity of those applications. If you don’t, you’ll lose out to nimbler competitors.

Reality #2: Human capital is your biggest cost and biggest constraint.

Your supply of experienced COBOL developers is rapidly decreasing just when you need them most. This is primarily due to the fact that the greatest generation of mainframe programming veterans are retiring out of the workforce. The result, to re-purpose Churchill, is that so many now depend so much on so few.

You must therefore make your remaining COBOL gurus vastly more productive. Much more importantly, you must rapidly “mainstream” COBOL so that the excellent non-mainframe programming talent now working for you in Java, Python and Ruby can work on your mainframe code too. Ideally, you should also use the small and fast shrinking window of opportunity you have today to transfer tribal mainframe knowledge from the former group to the latter.

Reality #3:  A “force multiplier” is essential for addressing realities #1 and #2 above.

You can’t do Agile on the mainframe with outdated waterfall-bound tools. Nor can you expect developers who’ve spent their professional lives in Eclipse to work in horrifically non-intuitive green-screen programming environments. You need new tools that act as a “force multiplier” to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your DevOps teams. New tooling is also necessary for integrating mainframe DevOps into the enterprise’s broader cross-platform continuous delivery pipeline.

Reality #4: Topaz and the cloud are the optimal way to re-tool the mainframe.

If you’re going to implement new tools that bring Agile to the mainframe and optimize the productivity of scarce development resources, Topaz on AWS is a compelling option. With Topaz you can shield your developers from the underlying peculiarities of mainframe development, while with the cloud, you can scale capacity as required without incurring capital costs. You benefit from providing your teams with innovative new features and functions as soon as they become available. And you can better support and enable your global workforce.

This is exactly how Compuware is enabling enterprises to leverage the Amazon cloud. By delivering Topaz on AWS, we’re making it easier than ever for mainframe organizations to quickly and securely deploy the tools they need to bring Agile/DevOps to their COBOL applications—and, by extension, to ensure the digital competitiveness of the enterprise they serve.

At the same time, we’re also working with mainstream DevOps market leaders to help you integrate and coordinate your mainframe DevOps with your broader continuous delivery environment.

Today for example, we announced that we are collaborating with CloudBees—whose Jenkins Enterprise is ideal for IT organizations that require an enterprise-class solution for continuous integration and delivery. Following on the heels of integrations/partnerships with Atlassian, SonarSource, XebiaLabs and others, it’s clear that we’re doing more than anyone else to help you de-silo your COBOL apps and fully incorporate them into your preferred digital enterprise.

OK, so maybe Amazon can’t rescue COBOL. But, through the collaboration between Compuware and AWS, you can save your COBOL applications from obsolescence. And for most large enterprises, that’s a real business lifesaver.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.