Sandhata | Mainframe Modernisation Survey | Compuware
November 1, 2018 DevOps, Mainframe Agility

Sandhata’s Landmark Survey to Help Orgs Fully Grasp Mainframe Transformation Obstacles, Benefits

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Sandhata is currently promoting an online survey on mainframe modernisation. The reason for doing this is simple. We sense that mainframe modernisation is a major business issue for many organisations yet it is not receiving the attention it deserves, whether that be at the C-suite level or at the ongoing operational level. Gone are the days when the mainframe would simply be ‘replaced’.  Mainframes drive many essential business processes in some of the world’s largest organisations, but they are arguably under-resourced when it comes to budget and attention.

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*The deadline for completing this survey is Friday, November 9, 2018.

We also believe there to be something of a missed opportunity when it comes to utilising DevOps in a mainframe environment, as the tooling is clearly available and millennials can cut code in an IDE environment without having to go near a ‘green screen’. What is driving this is hard to determine, so we want to explore this more. It could be budget driven, it could be cultural, or organisational with mainframe departments in siloes, or it may simply be that the attention focus is not there. What is clear is that there are opportunities for applying DevOps principles in a mainframe environment.

Increased velocity in legacy and mainframe delivery dilutes dependencies and releases opportunities in upstream associated services. We have seen substantial increases in speed of processes.

There are also potential cost saving benefits. The percentage of strategic investment associated with legacy and mainframe platforms justifies the opportunity to apply a DevOps philosophy to those services.

The Obstacles to Mainframe Modernisation

There are some obstacles out there. The skills needed to achieve legacy and mainframe delivery are arguably greater than those required for digital delivery.

Organisational and Cultural Change

Organisational and cultural change is a key obstacle. CEOs and CIOs of traditional organisations accept the status quo that the mainframe is different from other technologies and thusly treat it differently. This is wrong, as there are full toolchains available on the mainframe.

Companies with legacy tech must acknowledge that, if they do not invest and transform the way IT is delivered, these legacy apps will bring down their companies; either through the wrong headlines when systems don’t function after change, or simply through users switching to benefit from a better customer experience.

DevOps was created from the mindsets of digital developers. Many legacy and mainframe developers may not yet be exploiting the opportunities and may not even be encouraged by management.

Security Issues

Another obstacle is that of security. Legacy and mainframe platforms sit at the heart of organisations and are protected by layers of hardware and software. Exposing this to automated capabilities may be seen by some as a risk.

Budgetary Restrictions

It could be that organisations are restricted by an initially high project cost despite the ultimate return on investment that is available.


Maybe it is something as simple as resourcing. There is already a shortage of mainframe specialists, as many are at the end of their active careers. This resource issue is compounded further when you add ‘full-stack DevOps’ enablement experience into the mix, which is required to transition teams to a DevOps operating model.

The Solution

For back-end crunching, there is nothing as reliable or as fast as the IBM mainframe in computing terms; the challenge however is to transform the SDLC so you can release at the same velocity as the newer technology that has the advantage of being born into a CI/CD world. The tooling is available from the likes of Compuware that actually fully abstracts the mainframe, so a next-gen developer can write code without the need for a 3270 emulator.

A search for answers to these obstacles to mainframe modernisation motivated us to launch this global survey. We hope you can help us by taking a few minutes to share your views. Those who complete the survey, and would like a copy of the survey findings, will be sent a copy of the published report.

To complete the survey, click here:

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Gary Thornhill

Gary Thornhill is CEO of Sandhata Technologies. He joined the company in 2012. He has a wealth of experience in team building, innovating and leading major projects with large institutions around the globe with offshore delivery. Gary is passionate about enterprise IT adoption and DevOps. Under Gary’s leadership, Sandhata has adopted a pragmatic and creative approach to using integration, technology and DevOps to help organisations execute their digital strategy. He is well known for his ability to deliver projects aimed at enhancing the capability of legacy technology.