Cross-platform DevOps

My Road to DevOps: 30 Years of Learning What Works and What Doesn’t

With the mass digitization of services having customers expecting greater volumes of more frequent, efficiency-enabling innovation, you’re probably working on ways to deliver software faster and with improved quality—if not, you should be.

A cross-platform DevOps framework of best practices provides you with an opportunity to do just that, and it’s the best option you have to stay competitive. Believe me: I’ve spent my career studying, practicing and evangelizing it—I’ve seen what works and what needs to change.

My Road to DevOps

Software development efficiency has been a passion of mine for 30 years. First, in the early ‘80s as a programmer at a mainframe ISV, where I helped build a CICS emulator from TSO. Removing dependency on a CICS region on an LPAR enabled our programmers to perform online testing with greater agility in less time. Though this initiative preceded what is now DevOps, it was similar in practice. Providing developers with tools to minimize test environment provisioning ultimately allowed customers to benefit from higher quality software.

Later in my career, I became a distinguished engineer at Hewlett-Packard, where I was responsible for helping clients re-architect their application stacks so they were easier to maintain and changes could be made faster. We accomplished that modernization by leveraging technologies and best practices, including static code analysis and automated unit testing, that today partially comprise the DevOps framework. After helping customers determine the most beneficial modernization strategy based on their circumstances—whether it be migration, refactoring or re-engineering—we provided them with resources to do the work. Most often, the benefits customers gained were reduction in software operating costs and reduced cycle times for software maintenance.

It was at IBM, beginning a little under a decade ago, where I became an absolute evangelist for DevOps as the term became popular. There, I led the System z swat team for DevOps, helping customers transition from a traditional software development paradigm to a modern DevOps-focused delivery ecosystem. This empowered customers to remove themselves from slow software delivery processes and enter more efficient, effective processes that enabled them to produce higher-quality software.

Today: Mainframe-inclusive, Cross-platform DevOps

How the mainframe and other systems interact today is driving a higher need for leveraging the cross-platform DevOps framework of best practices and tools. Applications are no longer centralized to a single platform: their components span multiple systems and multiple technologies. To keep those in sync and to deliver applications with speed and quality, automation and better process control across platforms is key.

What Compuware is doing, and a primary reason I joined the company, is providing mainframe system/software delivery capabilities that work well with distributed software delivery technologies already in place. This is mainframe-inclusive, cross-platform DevOps, and it’s the antithesis to what some vendors are asking customers to do: Leverage one proprietary toolset for the entire enterprise.

Customers want DevOps solutions that don’t limit the potential of these necessary practices. From a business standpoint, they are going to reject a monolithic strategy because it asks them to ignore investments they’ve made in distributed and open-systems software development over the last decade. And, why would they do that? In most organizations, open systems and distributed software delivery groups are ahead of the mainframe with regard to processes and tooling for faster software delivery.

Bringing DevOps to Customers

All organizations are going to have to become world-class software providers to succeed because business value today is heavily dependent on the digital efficiency you can provide customers. To do that, it’s time to leverage new mainframe systems delivery technology with the assets you’ve already invested years and money in.

A cross-platform DevOps framework of best practices and tools that leverages those assets will grant you the ability to make faster, more effective changes that accommodate shifting business requirements for meeting customer needs. I’m looking forward to working with Compuware customers who are ready to do that.

In future posts, I’ll provide more insight into why you need the mainframe in your system/software delivery pipeline and how it will enable you to work at the same development pace as distributed and open-systems programmers at your company.

Meanwhile, download this white paper to read up on building mainframe-inclusive DevOps toolchains.