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Ensono Eyes on Mainframe: Key Takeaways from IBM SHARE Dallas 2022

Steven Perva

Steven Perva
Senior Mainframe Innovation Engineer

Michael Fontanetta

Michael Fontanetta
Director, Mainframe Innovation Engineering

DevOps was the buzz word of the day with presentations ranging from DevOps practices to deep technical sessions on subsystems, modernization and innovation, diversity and inclusion. An illuminating focus was on applying DevOps practices to mainframe system management. The ability to establish a pipeline for system changes seemed to resonate strongly with recent innovations in automation utilizing platform-agnostic tooling such as Python and Ansible to provide a predictable, repeatable, and automatic change pattern. Businesses adopting these practices will be able to realize work-life balance benefits as changes can be deployed and backed out automatically using this agile approach. The IBM Z Hackathon at SHARE Dallas event saw participants utilizing a breadth of modern technologies on Z Systems to demonstrate how simple it is to create a hybrid cloud application accessing critical data on z/OS and zLinux.

New Capabilities

There was a lot of buzz in the air about ZOAU, Z Open Automation Utilities –a recurring theme in several different sessions. This software, running on z/OS, provides a command-line interface to perform a number of z/OS management tasks. While helpful, the real power lies in the APIs ZOAU provides to unlock the capabilities of process automation using languages like Python and frameworks like Node.js. Several innovations in the last few years have been birthed from ZOAU and their capabilities were on full display throughout the conference.

IBM also demonstrated Galasa, a self-described “deep integration testing tool”. The tool allows developers to create robust automated end-to-end application tests that can verify every element of a hybrid cloud application. By leveraging Galasa, gone are the days of having to manually test 3270 online or batch applications and the modern front-ends that invoke them. This capability further proves IBM’s commitment to DevOps, with interfaces to hook Galasa into any CI/CD pipeline, and their commitment to hybrid cloud by providing a comprehensive testing tool that interacts with traditional mainframe interfaces.

z/OSMF was understandably a very hot topic with its usage being a required component of the z/OS 2.5 installation process, with sessions and labs describing its usage. The Web-based management interface has come a long way from its inception and is proving to be a powerhouse in rapidly providing new and useful functionality in the very short interval between community events. z/OSMF Management Services Catalog demonstrated a much simpler approach to workflows and invoking repeatable management tasks. These simplifications should save time, provide consistency, and a quicker time-to-productivity for those new to the platform. I am very excited to see what comes next from z/OSMF.

Let’s see what SHARE in Columbus brings in August!

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