Fast Application Performance Feedback

Empower Precious Developers with Fast Feedback on Application Performance

Overview: The reliability and resilience of the mainframe are more important than ever. In the age of software, organizations must establish and maintain the agility of their development processes to ensure the velocity, quality, and efficiency of customer-based innovation. To this end, Compuware’s 22nd consecutive quarterly release helps developers shift performance testing left and get fast feedback on their code with a new Jenkins plugin and REST API for Strobe.

As we announce our 22nd quarterly delivery of features and functionalities that help customers improve mainframe software delivery quality, velocity and efficiency, the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods, distressing communities and forcing economies across the globe into recessions. At Compuware, we are doing our gritty best to thoughtfully navigate this crisis while remaining completely dedicated to serving our always wonderfully, beautifully dissatisfied mainframe customers.

A Stark Reminder

When I think about the unprecedented events of the last weeks, I am inspired by the modern mainframe’s resilience and unwavering dependability. Providing safe harbor in this tempest, the mainframe continues to ensure the financial markets remain transparent and liquid even in times of extreme volatility. I shudder to think of the uncontainable pandemonium that would ensue if we suddenly couldn’t access our accounts, money and financial services. The COVID-19 crisis serves as a warning that we should never, ever take the mainframe for granted, or discount its unmatched digital virtues of transactional reliability, performance, security, and cost-efficiency.

The mainframe skills shortage is a clear and present example of taking the mainframe for granted. Companies have lost roughly one quarter of their mainframe workforce, and nearly two-thirds of those positions remain unfilled, even as digital reliance on the mainframe grows for what are all the right business reasons. According to the 2019 BMC Mainframe Survey, nearly 60 percent of executives see the mainframe as a platform for growth, versus 51 percent in the 2018 survey. Despite the skills shortage and the increasing strategic relevance of the mainframe, enterprises are glacially slow to modernize and improve the developer experience to attract, inspire and retain top notch talent to be the stewards of their invaluable and irreplaceable mainframe code and data.

“Rip and Replace” Folly

Even with public examples of unmitigated mainframe “rip and replace” disasters within some noted State and Local Governments and at other large organizations, a decreasing few are still tempted to repeat history. Instead of adapting and modernizing on platform, some companies are attempting to re-platform with disastrous results for them and their customers. One organization wasted nearly $100M trying unsuccessfully to convert a mainframe COBOL system to a JAVA system that resulted in 50 percent more lines of code, decreased performance and reliability, increased security risks and higher total cost of ownership. As a result, they reverted back to the mainframe COBOL system.

Still other organizations are using their inability to attract new developers to the mainframe — because they’re unwilling to provide a preferred developer experience — to justify foolish, endless efforts to migrate workloads off the mainframe, only to find that the skills required for the migrated workloads are impossible to attract, hire and retain. Such an ill-considered, ill-conceived and impetuous endeavor wastes outrageous amounts of time and money, dollars that could be invested in modernizing their mainframe development environments and processes to deliver higher quality, higher performing products and services their customers expect.

CIOs of mainframe reliant and resilient enterprises stand at a fork in the road. They can recklessly let their mainframe languish in a state of stasis and hope nothing bad ever happens. Or, they can reimagine and reinvent their mainframe by adopting Value-Stream/Agile/DevOps methods, inspiring their culture, and equipping developers with state-of-the-art tools to make the mainframe a hub of continuous customer-focused innovation.

New Deliverables for the Modern Developer

Mainframe developers are writing business critical applications and assuming more responsibility for uptime and performance of those applications. At the same they are overwhelmed by increasing volumes of urgently needed new features, as well as the on-going need to resolve maintenance, defect, and tech-debt related challenges. Fast feedback has never been more critical.

To that end, we’ve announced new capabilities that empower modern developers to gain fast feedback on all aspects of their code. By automating shift-left performance testing on the mainframe, Compuware is enabling developers to identify performance problems early in the development phase, reducing the time and costs spent on re-working code, speeding application delivery and creating better customer experiences.

Specifically, a new Jenkins plugin, along with a new REST API for Compuware Strobe, the leading mainframe application performance management solution, make it easy for developers to take performance measurements early and automatically as part of a Jenkins CI/CD pipeline. For customers not leveraging Jenkins, the Strobe REST API can also be integrated with other DevOps CI/CD tools.

As agents of digital innovation, developers want end-to-end control over their applications as they turn ideas that matter into products and services that delight their customers. As such, mainframe application performance testing can no longer be seen as a separate activity from development only handled by QA and Operations teams. The Strobe integration with Jenkins supports this shift by making it easy for teams to automate and integrate the execution of performance measurements into their daily development practices.

Your Partner, Always

The world will eventually return to normal, though it may be a new normal. One thing is certain, know that Compuware will be on an endless quest to keep earning your trust as your best mainframe software partner for the next 50 years and beyond.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.