Mainframe

Today's Innovation Imperative

September 16, 2020

Leadership in today’s marketplace is no easy task. Staying ahead of the innovation curve is key to delivering better client experiences. You have to be better than others on most dimensions to stay on top—from being client-centric and agile, to optimizing your IT infrastructure, and everything in between. You can bet competitors, even the ones you’re not aware of yet, are working to outperform and take market share from you. 

Take a deep breath. 

Now ask yourself, how are you leveraging technology to innovate? Where do you begin?   

Top of mind for many is how cloud fits into an innovation strategy. Mainframes are at the core of business, but the world is moving to hybrid environments to get new offerings and services to market faster. Do Mainframes and cloud mesh? I believe it is the next horizon and ties directly to what I call the innovation imperative. Bringing “mission critical” to the cloud is about delivering higher resilience, greater efficiency, and essential security to your cloud. When Mainframe is part of your cloud, it’s a better cloud.   

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Connecting Mainframe applications and data with those on the cloud or other platforms has been a common practice for years. Now, by virtue of API-enabling Mainframe tools, the cloud and Mainframes can work together more seamlessly. This enables new levels of integration and automation which means your operations can run better and faster and pave the way for new innovation opportunities.

Enhancing your cloud is realized in three primary ways:

1. Integrating Mainframe into the cloud using APIs.

Mainframe in your cloud environment opens up new possibilities provided those Mainframe solutions are exposed via RESTful APIs. What you get is a Mainframe integrated and managed in the cloud, without platform-specific differences. 

Icon_api-cycleFor example, a large global services provider built a self-service dashboard with Service Now to speed provisioning of and access to Mainframe resources, akin to self-service portals common among cloud providers. One of the supported capabilities is for a developer to refresh test data before testing an application change. A simplified flow is:

    • The developer selects a "Refresh Test Data" tile through the dashboard, opening a Service Now ticket. 
    • Service Now calls the Zowe API Mediation Layer (ML) to validate the developer’s credentials.
    • Once validated, the Zowe API ML routes the call to the Workload Automation ESP Edition’s API to run a job to refresh the test data. 

This example is simple, but elegant. It completely eliminates the need to involve a Mainframe system administrator, providing the self-service experience one expects in a cloud environment. Furthermore, using a single, common call to the API ML for all Mainframe services preserves the high level of security expected of the Mainframe by ensuring that all connections to APIs are secure, audited, and authorized.

2. Including Mainframe in multi-platform CI/CD pipelines. 

Using the same tools cloud developers use, you can break down unnecessary silos and automate formerly manual coordinations, resulting in higher quality and faster time to market. 

Cloud developers at a global financial services firm are working with tools like Jenkins and Git to tie the Mainframe into their existing CI/CD pipeline for their consumer-facing wealth management application. To do so, they leveraged Zowe, the first open source framework for z/OS providing a Command Line Interface that allows for scripting like any other cloud tool…no special skills required. 

3. Unifying Mainframe and cloud talent pools. 

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Eliminating Mainframe-specific skill requirements brings these teams together, making multi-platform innovation even more attainable.

A squad of cloud developers was tasked with updating a Mainframe app using standard Mainframe tools. They found it was possible to work with their tools of choice by simply leveraging the Zowe CLI to invoke REST APIs on the Mainframe—starting with z/OSMF. So, they built it. 

Zowe is now inspiring thousands of new developers worldwide to work more closely together because they can work with the Mainframe using the tools they use for other platforms.

Making the right choices can be the difference between delivering industry-defining innovation and falling behind the competition. To move your cloud strategy forward, it’s time to adopt an open framework that supports tools of choice, leverage APIs that enable high degrees of integration and automation, and foster collaboration among teams.

At Broadcom, we’re partnering with customers to unleash new strategic value from their Mainframes by embracing open, exploiting our APIs and working with the Mainframe just like any other platform or cloud. 

Why? Because when Mainframe is part of your cloud, it's a better cloud.

Tag(s): Mainframe

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