Empowering Next-gen IT Pros with Modern Tools that Drive DevOps
Overview: Learn how Mateusz Książek, a next-gen senior database admin at PKO Bank Polski, is working with Compuware’s modern tools to help his company drive Agile and DevOps.
More enterprise leaders are beginning to realize the urgent need for next-gen talent on the mainframe as they come to understand the impact the platform has on the success of their business. Currently, 72 percent of customer-facing applications are completely or very reliant on the mainframe, with workloads growing, but the attrition of mainframe experts is also increasing, according to a Forrester study we commissioned.
Even so, many still doubt next-gen developers and administrators are willing to take on these roles or that they can successfully take on stewardship of the mainframe due to the specialized skills and knowledge it requires. Mateusz Książek, a senior database administrator at our customer PKO Bank Polski, is one of many next-gen mainframe pros who is proving them wrong.
Mateusz is responsible for all aspects of the use of Db2 z/OS at the bank, including Db2 system Administration and Db2 performance monitoring and tuning. Additionally, he’s a member of the IBM Customer Advisory Council in the Db2 field and a member of the Poland Db2 Users Group.
His other focus is on the installation and implementation of Compuware products, working with:
- Strobe(integrating with IBM OMEGAMON)
- Abend-AID and Xpediter
- Topaz Workbench (integrating with all mainframe tooling)
PKO Bank Polski Group is one of the largest financial institutions in Poland, and it is also one of the leading financial groups in Central and Eastern Europe. It’s the undisputed leader of the Polish banking sector, in terms of scale of operations as well as equity, assets, number of customers and the extent of the distribution network. It’s also a leader in terms of number of current accounts, payment cards issued and the value of mortgage loans. Its customers benefit from 1,192 branches, 745 agencies and 3,190 ATMs.
I spoke with Mateusz to further understand his work with the mainframe and how Compuware is helping him in his role at PKO.
What was your view of the mainframe before you started working with the platform?
MK: My first encounter with the mainframe was in university during a year-long course meant to introduce us to the platform. When I found out just how powerful and scalable the mainframe is, I understood why the biggest companies in the world rely on it and why 80 percent of all transactions are processed on it. This made me decide on a career path with the mainframe.
How did these expectations compare with the reality of working on the mainframe?
MK: When I started my journey with the mainframe I realized the environment is much more complex than I thought. At the beginning I started working with Db2 and was very excited to find out more about it and develop my skills with it.
Before starting, I thought it was rather simple, but when I dug deeper I started to discover the mainframe allows for setting so many parameters that influence every aspect of the environment. This inspired me to learn more so I could better optimize the platform.
What business-critical applications does PKO run on the mainframe? How do you see the mainframe supporting future business?
MK: PKO is running a z13 machine with a parallel sysplex. The most critical applications are based on the mainframe to support 24/7 availability for our clients. Most of the transactions in our company are processed by the mainframe, so it is crucial for our business.
The mainframe is the only platform that has the capacity to run such a high volume of transactions that come from our clients. It has always adapted to new and growing business needs. As the world gets more and more technologically advanced, I see the mainframe as the best provider for the resulting growth businesses will need to manage.
What challenges does PKO face on the mainframe?
MK: One of the biggest challenges we face is trying to lower the costs of the mainframe environment. To do this, we lower our CPU consumption by optimizing our applications. Strobe is helping us here.
What are some Compuware tools that are really helping PKO overcome these and other challenges?
As I mentioned, Strobe helps us reduce costs by optimizing performance.
Topaz Workbench provides an intuitive interface that enables developers of all experience levels to start working with the mainframe without using a classic 3270 interface. Integrating all development tools in one place, Compuware has provided a great tool that can help our organization integrate with other industry-leading tools.
We have also been using Hiperstation since 2013 to record and simulate production workloads. Hiperstation creates repeatable regression and performance tests representing application business requirements. Based on Hiperstation testing we ensure that mainframe applications are thoroughly tested to safeguard superior performance and reliability.
What are some “plusses” about Compuware that benefit PKO?
MK: Compuware is adapting to our needs as mainframe users by providing us the best tools to develop our mainframe applications and to improve our productivity by streamlining a lot of processes. Because of Compuware, we have been able to integrate our workflow into modern development processes, further increasing efficiency.
ISPW enables developers to quickly and safely build, test and deploy mainframe code, and it improves developer productivity by enabling mainframe DevOps.
Abend-AID enables developers to reduce the time-consuming task of manually viewing recorded application memory information.
Xpediter is a great tool for application debugging and analysis.
How is mainframe development changing for you?
MK: Mainframe development is becoming more and more interesting because of new DevOps and Agile trends. Thanks to Compuware, we can change our approach to mainframe development and support to work in a DevOps world.
Last but not least, where do you see the mainframe headed?
MK: Due to the power of the platform, I see large prospects for growth to meet the demands of the ever-expanding number of transactions in the world.
With the right empowerment from their organizations and the right tools to support modern culture and processes, any talented next-gen programmer is fully capable of taking on the massive responsibility of managing mainframe environments, as Mateusz has shown.
For another example of how next-gen programmers are moving into mainframe IT, check out my conversation with Dominic Harrison of Lloyds Banking Group.
Header Image: By anonymous photographer working for Dom Maklerski PKO BP – sent to OTRS by Adrian Skłodowski, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12003158