The Top Three Mainframe Must-reads for This Quarter
Insights on CX, Agile-DevOps and Security from Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley
For decades, the mainframe and its advocates have faced an uphill battle against the unfounded claims that some new technology would replace it. Today, there is even greater reason for passionate thought leaders who support the mainframe’s growth in the digital age to come forward against the rising din of critics who claim it and COBOL are dead.
Compuware is proud to partner with several mainframe and non-mainframe software vendors, including BMC, Syncsort and XebiaLabs, whose people are ready and willing to share their supporting opinions of the mainframe’s value alongside big topics like Agile and DevOps.
To do our part, Compuware is spreading the good news of the mainframe’s future in a variety of ways from a variety of voices, one being CEO Chris O’Malley’s. With countless bylines in several major mainframe and non-mainframe tech journals and magazines, O’Malley is one mainframe thought leader who stands out.
Top Three Mainframe Blog Posts
To make it easier for our customers and others paying attention to the mainframe, each quarter we’re going to share O’Malley’s top three blog posts around the most current mainframe topics. Below is the roundup for this quarter, including posts around improving customer experience, security, and Agile and DevOps on the mainframe.
Through a short childhood story on raising money for his little league baseball team selling lightbulbs, that, unbeknownst to the little leaguers, were faulty, O’Malley shares an enlightening lesson that applies to the importance of today’s mainframe software vendors. That is, customers want quality products that are continuously improved upon rather than maintained as suboptimal to keep them cheap and easy to sell.“IBM has sold Debug Tool for zOS as a ‘cheap’ alternative for a long time. Like our Little League’s light bulb supplier, IBM can afford to do this because it hasn’t delivered any notable improvements since 2005—and, as a result, IBM is decidedly peddling the ruse of ‘good enough is good enough’ for mainframe developers,” O’Malley writes.But mainframe teams are under pressure “to accelerate Agile and DevOps on the mainframe and their endless struggle to find essential development skills,” O’Malley writes. Many are beginning to look “past the price of the ‘cheap’ lightbulb to its actual cost.”
So, is it worth it to sacrifice performance for temporary cost saving? A better question: Is your job worth it? O’Malley gives us a blunt reality check:
“Cutting costs at all costs by causing your developers to suffer under the oppression of bad IBM tools or similarly bad tools from CA, ASG and Unicom can definitely cost you your job. And, it can cost your company’s market relevance in the digital age.”
Speaking of adopting quality Agile and DevOps tools for your mainframe organization, cybersecurity and compliance tools are just as vital.Despite the mainframe’s preeminent security, the rise of insider threats from authorized and unauthorized users compels companies to ensure their audit teams have deep visibility into how end users interact with the business-critical applications and data running on the platform.“Fragmented, technically complex approaches to mainframe session monitoring are problematic for lots of reasons,” O’Malley writes, alluding to the disparate logs and SMF records mainframe teams typically reference.“The only way to stay ahead of insider threats and fulfill intensifying reporting requirements—while keeping costs under control—is to deploy simple, direct capture of all mainframe-related user behavior.”
O’Malley shares the key reasons for why Compuware’s new cybersecurity and compliance solutions, Application Audit, is necessary in an age where countless breaches have proven the need for increased systems security.
“Your business can’t be truly agile unless your systems-of-record are truly agile. And for most large enterprises, those systems run on the mainframe,” O’Malley writes in this insightful post about how to transform application development on the mainframe.The starting point for such a significant transformation is simple, he writes:“Assign responsibility for your mainframe DevOps initiative to an enterprise DevOps leader—not your current mainframe application development manager.”Some may find this piece of advice controversial, but it makes sense if you take a moment to read why O’Malley offers it.
He empathizes with those who may be tempted to keep transformation in the hands of those who know the mainframe best, but warns that these people don’t know Agile and DevOps and are often “constitutionally uncomfortable in moving the mainframe development needle from projects/maintenance towards iterations/innovation that requires dramatically accelerated code drops.”
Instead, leadership must be the responsibility of “someone who is championing a cross-platform strategy for digital acceleration.”
Our mainframe ecosystem must adapt to an accelerating digital world, but a swarm of mainframe opponents is making that more challenging. Stay focused on credible, constructive insights that can help you and your mainframe team improve.
You can read the above posts and others from Compuware CEO Chris O’Malley on LinkedIn. There are also plenty of resources around these and other mainframe-specific topics from O’Malley and other industry thought leaders at Compuware.com.