A Pragmatic Approach to DevOps and the Mainframe

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Julie Craig, research director with Enterprise Management Associates, provides an industry perspective on the challenges of DevOps in mainframe organizations while Compuware subject matter experts, …

Julie Craig, research director with Enterprise Management Associates, provides an industry perspective on the challenges of DevOps in mainframe organizations while Compuware subject matter experts, Spencer Hallman and Jim Liebert will discuss how Compuware's Find & Fix capabilities improve collaboration and reduce mean-time-to-resolution.

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  • Today’s topic is one you don’t hear a lot about. While DevOps has become an industry buzzword, you seldom hear the words DevOps and Mainframe used in the same sentence. Why is that?
    Well, the graphic I’m showing on this slide offers a partial answer. For those of us who have spent time in datacenters, this is a familiar picture. A lone computer operator sitting at the console, watching queues and messages, right?
    ON the other hand, when we think about DevOps we are usually picturing something very different. Collaboration is the very heart of DevOps. Collaboration across development and operations, across lifecycle stages, and inclusive of business stakeholders.
    So how do you bridge the two worlds, the isolation of the typical mainframe organization with the cross-functional nature of the teams supporting today’s distributed technologies?
    We will discuss each of these questions during today’s event, starting with an explanation of the impact of DevOps and related topics in terms of business value.
    Next we’ll discuss the role of the mainframe in today’s Cloud and on-premise environments, and the impact of the mainframe on Dev, Ops, and the software delivery lifecycle.
    We’ll wrap with a summary and list of follow up materials which may be of interest.

  • The point of this slide is to anchor the DevOps discussion in terms of its real world goals and objectives
    So we’re hearing a lot about DevOps lately, but it is defined differently by virtually every analyst and vendor.
    And it is true that DevOps may well mean something different to the average Operations team than it does to the average developer.
    My perspective on this is that IT’s primary purpose is to deliver applications and services to support the business.
    This doesn’t mean that delivering servers and databases isn’t important; it means that the whole purpose of delivering servers and databases is to support larger business goals and objectives.
    When you approach DevOps from the top down perspective, as I do, cross-functional collaboration of personnel with Dev and Ops skills becomes foundational to application support across the lifecycle.
  • The point of this slide is to highlight the fact that most IT organizations are performing DevOps functions regardless of whether they call it “DevOps”
    Walk through the research findings and briefly mention Continuous Delivery as a benefit as well
  • This slide introduces the idea of silos in prep for the Mainframe discussion
    Silos are still necessary, but cross-functional collaboration via processes and tools helps bridge silos, creating a basis for better decision-making and problem solving
  • EMA’s latest DevOps research found that companies reporting Excellent or Above Average day to day interactions between Dev and Ops were 6 ½ times more likely to have revenue growth in excess of 10% last year.
    Software has become a key enabler which allows businesses to more flexibly respond to government mandates, market shifts, and the economy.
    The point of this slide is to show that effective DevOps goes beyond being simply a buzzword– it has business value as well
    This slide compares revenue growth– shown in the bars– with the efficiency and quality of day to day interaction between development and operations.
    DevOps processes and teams help “smooth the way” for better software delivery ACROSS the lifecycle; efficient interactions between Development and Operations organizations as a whole are key elements supporting efficiency, and DevOps teams can grease the wheels, so to speak.
    the the business impact of this can be impressive.
  • The point of this section is to highlight the role of the mainframe in the delivery of modern, distributed application
  • Mainframe is still an important platform for application delivery and will likely remain so for many years to come
    Many of the jobs the mainframe handles could not be performed by less powerful systems.
    Interestingly enough, however, when I analyze mainframe use by company size, the usage percentages are relatively similar for midsized and enterprise-sized companies. So mainframe use is not confined simply to the Fortune 500’s of the world.
  • These numbers may be even more compelling. When you look at categories which are typically NOT considered to be mainframe related– such as tiered, distributed, and hybrid applications– the mainframe is still a key player.
    According to these numbers– actually from Q4 of 2013– you can see that so called “distributed” transactions accessing the mainframe are 3 times more prevalent than those not accessing the mainframe
    Twice as many hybrid and cloud transactions access the mainframe than not
    And taking into account the 18% of survey respondents who are running all of these transaction types, only 30% were running tiered transactions which do NOT access the mainframe
    Finally, again taking the 18% running “all of the above” into account, only about ¼ are running the “mainframe only” applications typically associated with this platform.
  • So what do these numbers show us?
    We’ve debunked the fallacy that the mainframe is a stand alone platform running COBOL from 1960
    We’ve also seen the mainframe is not only still relevant, it is an essential element of distributed, cloud and hybrid applications
  • In this section, we’ll look at the mainframe in the context of DevOps
    For all its benefits, the mainframe introduces management challenges as IT support teams are confronted with the need to manage complex, distributed environments that touch the mainframe
    Too often, the mainframe is viewed by most as the wizard behind the curtain, efficiently performing its work while remaining a black box in terms of deployment, administration and management.
  • With all the benefits of the mainframe, it adds a specific set of challenges to the task of application support.
    On this slide, I’ve listed the top challenges cited by application support professionals across a number of surveys.
    When you think about fact that distributed transactions are the norm, and that components may run across on-premise and cloud, mainframes and virtual servers, Java and .NET, it’s not difficult to see why performance remains a key challenge.
    And when performance problems occur, the next task is to find the source of the problem. In today’s complex environments, this can be like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. As a result, many problems are never solved, simply because the troubleshooting process takes too much time to be viable.
  • The challenges on this slide are more mainframe specific.
    The mainframe is essentially a black box to a majority of application support professionals. It’s locked away in an inaccessible room, and most likely have no idea what mainframe operators are looking at on the console.
    Concepts such as batch processing and time slicing may be foreign and mainframe programs are likely NOT written in Java and definitely not in .NET
    So while the mainframe is an integral part of the distributed application ecosystem, it is often the case that nobody except the mainframe operator understands what is actually happening on the mainframe side.
    While integrated APM and Application Lifecycle Management tools may help, many lack visibility to the mainframe
    Relatively few tools have end to end visibility across mainframe and distributed technologies
  • This slide distinguishes between Application Performance Monitoring and Management.
    There are a host of monitoring tools out there, and all can provide some level of performance/availability measurement.
    Monitoring alone, however, can’t trace performance or availability problems to their sources. So simply running synthetic transactions or web-injected monitors offers little help in identifying root causes.
    APM tools which are “mainframe ready” can help bridge the mainframe gap by providing the mainframe visibility necessary to facilitate troubleshooting.
    They fill the gap in mainframe knowledge for application support professionals with no mainframe expertise, enabling them to troubleshoot transaction problems faster and more thoroughly.
    It is important to bear in mind, however, that relatively few APM tools on the market are capable of correlating mainframe issues to the end to end distributed transaction. They have no visibility into mainframe execution so are unable to pinpoint the sources of mainframe-related issues involving the mainframe
    As a result, application support professionals often complain that their APM tools don’t provide the support they need for transaction triage.
  • APM and Developer Productivity tools which are mainframe ready can help solve these issues.
    They also support the cross-functional DevOps practices which we have seen are so essential to business growth.
    Many schools of thought around DevOps are primarily concerned with the Deploy/Release and Manage stages of the lifecycle
    EMA sees DevOps and APM tools- particularly those with mainframe visibility- as having use cases across the lifecycle. This extends the value proposition of tools investments.
    During development and testing, APM metrics can help predict and identify performance characteristics which may impact the application in production
    At deployment, APM tools ensure the deployed application delivers contracted service levels
    During the manage and assess stages, APM tools monitor performance, help detect root causes, and provide quantification of service levels supporting service level agreements.
    Finally, as applications are cycled back to development for modification, the data collected during the manage and assess stages provides valuable input for performance optimization at the code level.
  • TALK ABOUT CPWR tools that are primarily Dev facing and tools that are Ops facing. Now we are joining them to improve the handoffs between Ops and Dev.
  • So to wrap up, while the both the mainframe and DevOps deliver a strong value proposition, they also introduce their own unique challenges. On the mainframe, it is a frequently a matter of lack of visibility or lack of skills.
    On the DevOps side, we find that processes are not enough. Supporting applications at scale requires collaboration supported by tools, particularly as transactions span traditional and mainframe platforms. Often, existing monitoring tools don’t deliver the mainframe insight necessary to support triage and root cause analysis.
    “mainframe ready” APM tools such as those provided by Compuware provide the visibility into the mainframe which is necessary to reduce the amount of time required for troubleshooting, root cause analysis, and remediation.


  • 1. A Pragmatic Approach to DevOps and the Mainframe August 19, 2014 Julie Craig Research Director, Application Management Enterprise Management Associates
  • 2. Today’s Speakers SPENCER HALLMAN Subject Matter Expert Compuware MIPS Management JULIE CRAIG Research Director Enterprise Management Associates JIM LIEBERT Subject Matter Expert Compuware Developer Productivity
  • 3. Agenda • IT, DevOps, and Business Value • The Mainframe in the Enterprise • DevOps Challenges in the Mainframe-driven Company • “DevOps Ready” Tools in Mainframe Environments • Compuware DevOps Solution and Demonstration • Summary and wrap-up Slide 3 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 4. What is “DevOps”? • DevOps defined differently by virtually everyone • EMA Definition: “The ideal intersection of people, processes, and tools necessary to facilitate cross-functional collaboration across the application lifecycle and enable the seamless delivery of applications to the business”. • Purpose: To optimize levels of service delivered to internal and external customers by efficiently supporting the complexities of modern application ecosystems Slide 4 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 5. • Per latest EMA Application Management research, 80% of companies have DevOps function* • Question: “Does your company utilize a team-based approach leveraging specialists with cross-functional development and operational skills to address application-related issues?” • Dedicated in 56% of companies, AdHoc in 44% • Teams performing DevOps functions typically go by other names: “Application Support”, “Application Management”, “Infrastructure Services” Slide 5 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. DevOps Practices: Bridging Silos Across the Application Lifecycle *Q4 2013
  • 6. • Application-focused (versus silo-focused) IT • Parallels the customer’s application perspective versus IT’s infrastructure perspective • Improved continuity across software lifecycle stages, i.e. Dev to Prod, Prod back to Dev • Collaborative application deployment, testing, support optimize the processes associated with delivering business services • “Top down” approach (versus “bottom up” silo approach) reduces time and effort required for root cause analysis of application-related problems • Combining Dev and Ops skills within a single team leads to faster resolution of code-based AND infrastructure-based production issues • DevOps is foundation for Continuous Delivery of new software features and functions • Accelerating delivery of software-driven products and features can significantly impact business bottom line Slide 6 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. DevOps Benefits
  • 7. EMA Research: Better Interactions between Dev and Ops Translate to Higher Revenue Growth Slide 7 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Q: “How would you describe the quality of the overall day-to-day interaction between Development and Operations generally at your company?" 87% 13% Increased more than 10% Excellent/Above Average/Below Q: “What was the YOY percentage increase or decrease of your organization’s annual revenue compared to last year?”
  • 8. Agenda • IT, DevOps, and Business Value • The Mainframe in the Enterprise • DevOps Challenges in the Mainframe-driven Company • “DevOps Ready” Tools in Mainframe Environments • Compuware DevOps Solution and Demonstration • Summary and wrap-up Slide 8 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 9. More than Half of Today’s Companies are Running Mainframes Slide 9 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Which of the following technologies does your organization host on-premise? 72% 54% 51% 48% 43% 41% 41% 29% 8% 7% Virtualization Data Integration Mainframe Linux Private Cloud Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and/or Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) Middleware such as IBM WebSphere Other UNIX (Other than Linux) LAMP Hadoop
  • 10. The Mainframe is a Mainstay of Distributed Application Ecosystems Slide 10 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Which of the following types of transactions or applications is your organization running? 40% 22% 18% 12% 8% Tiered, distributed transactions/applications that span both mainframe and non-mainframe servers Hybrid mainframe/public Cloud transactions/applications All of the above Tiered, distributed transactions/applications that do not access a mainframe Non-tiered transactions/applications that access mainframe only
  • 11. DEBUNKED Mainframe Fallacies Debunked Slide 11 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. DEBUNKED DEBUNKED “Not Cloud friendly” DEBUNKED DEBUNKED
  • 12. Agenda • IT, DevOps, and Business Value • The Mainframe in the Enterprise • DevOps Challenges in the Mainframe-driven Company • “DevOps Ready” Tools in Mainframe Environments • Compuware DevOps Solution and Demonstration • Summary and wrap-up Slide 12 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 13. Top Challenges of Application Support Professionals Slide 13 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. • The top three application-related challenges cited by application support teams include: • Slow performance • Intermittent problems, causes unknown • High fixed costs related to application support • A majority say “troubleshooting takes too long” • Almost 50% cite a lack of visibility to application topologies and dependencies
  • 14. Mainframe-specific Challenges • Mainframe “isolation” • Lack of physical access to mainframe, consoles, and mainframe execution information • Mainframe itself centralized and may well be in a different location from support personnel • Lack of mainframe knowledge • Mainframe know-how confined to a “select few” • Mainframe operations personnel have unique skill sets and “languages” • Mainframe developers use unfamiliar languages • Concepts such as queues, batch, time-slicing, etc. are a “foreign language” to non-mainframe personnel • Bottom line: Mainframe is a “black box” to most application support teams Slide 14 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 15. Agenda • IT, DevOps, and Business Value • The Mainframe in the Enterprise • DevOps Challenges in the Mainframe-driven Company • “DevOps Ready” Tools in Mainframe Environments • Compuware DevOps Solution and Demonstration • Summary and wrap-up Slide 15 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 16. “APM” and the Mainframe: Do you Know What You are Buying? • APM(onitoring) versus APM(anagement) • Both Monitoring and Management tools measure performance and availability  “End to end” coverage is a subjective term, based on the vendor’s coverage of the application ecosystem • However management tools ALSO provide guidance for troubleshooting and root cause analysis of application-related issues • Most Application Performance Management tools have little or no visibility to mainframe execution • IT professionals tell us: • “With no mainframe support, this is NOT an enterprise tool.” • “The lack of mainframe support was a huge loss of political credibility for me. Now, this is our #1 gap.” • “We have too many separate applications trying to interact—and they don’t always work.” Slide 16 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 17. DevOps-ready Tools Have Value across the Lifecycle Slide 17 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Stage Value Proposition Develop Testing for performance optimization of new applications Test Pre-prod service assurance Deploy Release planning, post-deployment service assurance Manage Performance & availability monitoring, management, and troubleshooting Assess Monitor/manage and assess service levels (SLM) for continuous improvement Design Modify existing software based on assessed service levels (or create new software) to continually improve quality of service delivered to the business
  • 18. Agenda • IT, DevOps, and Business Value • The Mainframe in the Enterprise • DevOps Challenges in the Mainframe-driven Company • “DevOps Ready” Tools in Mainframe Environments • Compuware DevOps Solution and Demonstration • Summary and wrap-up Slide 18 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 19. Smarter tools Smoother handoffs 19
  • 20. Application Performance Management with Strobe Quality assurance Fighting fires Improving existing production applications Monitoring new enhancements Evaluating third party products Measuring jobs during development
  • 21. Based on previous data collected this Txn is exceeding the benchmark previously set Benchmark Date
  • 22. Drill down to the Profile! Hyperlinked to the underlying iStrobe Profile
  • 23. 25
  • 24. 26
  • 25. 27
  • 26. 28
  • 27. 29
  • 28. 30 Dynamic text: • Expert’s opinion on the issue. • The actual suspicious line of code!
  • 29. 31 Static information: • Provided by the software (in this case iStrobe) • Answers the rest of the who/what/when questions.
  • 30. 32 Static information: • Reference back to the initial problem resource.
  • 31. 33
  • 32. 34
  • 33. 35 Find & Fix has already built a debug configuration on our behalf. Clicking on it will start a wizard just to verify the settings.
  • 34. 36
  • 35. 37
  • 36. Stopped at the suspicious line. Now we can use Xpediter/Eclipse to better understand this point in the code. * Note – since Compuware products share listings, line numbers remain consistent. 39
  • 37. 40
  • 38. 41
  • 39. Well on our way to fixing this problem: 1. Does the COBOL function need to be in a loop? 2. Why is the paragraph executed 500 times in one transaction? 42
  • 40. Smarter tools for smoother handoffs 43
  • 41. Agenda • IT, DevOps, and Business Value • The Mainframe in the Enterprise • DevOps Challenges in the Mainframe-driven Company • “DevOps Ready” Tools in Mainframe Environments • Compuware DevOps Solution and Demonstration • Summary and wrap-up Slide 44 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 42. Wrap-up • Twin tools-related challenges in mainframe-driven companies • “End to end” visibility to transactions and applications • “End to end” visibility to underlying mainframe and servers  “Mainframe ready” APM tools must mesh the two • Key considerations related to DevOps tools selections • Equipping personnel who have minimal mainframe expertise with the knowledge they need to do application support • Facilitating smooth communication and interactions between Dev and Ops across the lifecycle • Tools decision making • Be aware (“beware”):  Many application-focused tools are not “mainframe ready”  Many application-focused tools don’t have the “information sharing” capabilities necessary to support mainframe DevOps practices • Objective: Tools unify Dev and Ops to deliver quality applications and services to the business Slide 45 © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
  • 43. For more information on Enterprise Management Associates, please go to www.enterprisemanagement.com, or call +1 303-543-9500 Thank you for attending today’s presentation © 2014 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.