The Business Case for Mainframe DevOps

By leveraging a logical partition (LPAR), IT orgs can utilize DevOps tooling to enable CI/CD in a mainframe environment.

What it Does Icon

What it Does

By leveraging Linux and container-based platforms inside a logical partition (LPAR) on a mainframe, organizations can utilize DevOps tooling to enable CI/CD in a mainframe environment. This allows more effective use of legacy systems and data.

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DevOps and CI/CD offer real benefits to mainframe environments:

  • 10x improvement in speed of testing
  • 50% boost in code quality and 70% reduction in downtime over three years
  • 20% increase in developer productivity
  • 20% reduction in TCO for application deployments
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Medium: Legacy mainframe systems over time will impair business agility. DevOps practices can unlock business value and enable existing assets to be a driver for growth.

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Risk Level

Low-to-Medium: Cultural change to agile practices can be a challenge. Consider:

  • Mainframe developers and engineers could resist change and the culture shift may be disruptive for IT teams.
  • To avoid resentment, be clear that the drivers for modernizing mainframe systems is growth, not efficiency.
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30/60/90 Plan

Evaluate potential avenues for legacy code modernization and begin identifying tooling options. After 30 days, assemble a team and put together a roadmap for how your new code will hook in existing mainframe processes. Finally, deliver the initial proof of concept and adjust the roadmap to leverage maximum value based on discoveries.

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Time to Value

GigaOm’s conservative estimates indicate that organizations could expect to modernize up to 10% of their existing codebase per year.

What Is Mainframe DevOps?

Mainframe applications and databases are tried and tested, and operate at enormous scale and efficiency. At the same time, they can bring huge costs of maintenance and use and create challenges for enterprise organizations looking to leverage existing systems and data for new applications.

With the ability to deploy Linux and containerization solutions within a logical partition (LPAR) on a mainframe, the door is now open to build mainframe-hybrid applications, and port existing DevOps tooling into the mainframe environment. This makes it possible to leverage CI/CD practices to create new applications leveraging mainframe business logic and data, and the modernization of legacy mainframe code.

The result: Organizations can utilize new technologies and approaches without incurring the cost of revamping existing applications from scratch. By using old languages alongside new, and utilizing API/microservices-based systems, large organizations can continue to use old apps while building new apps on mainframe infrastructure.

Figure 1: Mainframe-Based Containerized Solution Architecture

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