Rocket Software Extends DevOps Reach to IBM I Platforms

Rocket Software has added support for the IBM I platform as part of its release of a DevOps platform that also runs on IBM mainframes.

Chris Wey, president of the data modernization business unit at Rocket Software, said the Rocket DevOps continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform will make it possible for organizations that employ both IBM I midrange platforms and mainframes to modernize application development and deployment using a common framework.

Modernization of application development on mainframes has been occurring for some time. A survey of more than 500 US IT professionals conducted by Rocket Software found 44% of respondents employ multiple DevOps tools, but slightly less than a quarter (24%) have a comprehensive DevOps platform in place.

Rocket Software is expanding its DevOps reach to include the IBM I platform because organizations that rely on this platform have the same pressing need as other organizations to more quickly build applications, said Wey.

It’s not clear to what degree organizations are still building new applications for what have become venerable IBM platforms. A Rocket Software survey found that while 82% of respondents are migrating workloads to the cloud, only 4% reported they are migrating completely to the cloud. The bulk of most mission-critical applications running on mainframes are online transaction processing (OLTP) applications that require a level of processing capability that still can’t be easily matched using any other platform. There are plenty of instances where certain classes of workloads have been migrated off the mainframe to run on lower-cost platforms. However, there are still many enterprise applications that continue to run faster on mainframes than they could on any other platform.

In most cases, Wey noted, organizations will be deploying and updating applications across hybrid cloud computing environments for years to come. The immediate challenge they face is a lack of DevOps skills among the IT teams that manage IBM I systems and mainframes, he added.

Rocket Software also provides access to a set of application development tools for building modern applications on IBM platforms. Most recently, the company added support for an open source Python software development (SDK) that IBM created for the Python programming language to the Rocket Open AppDev for Z framework for building mainframe applications.

The overarching goal is to make IBM platforms more accessible to a wider range of application developers and DevOps professionals that today mainly work on distributed computing platforms, Wey noted.

One way or another, the divide that has existed between legacy platforms and distributed computing systems is continuing to narrow. Many organizations are trying to lower the total cost of IT by centralizing management of both these classes of systems versus continuing to hire and retain separate IT teams.

The IBM I platform traces its lineage back to AS/400 systems that were first launched in 1988 as an integrated midrange minicomputer rival to VAX/VMS systems from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Fast-forward more than 30 years later and there still are many IBM I platforms running long after VAX/VMS systems have all but disappeared.

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