Mainframe Blog

Continuing the Mainframe Renaissance

3 minute read
April Hickel

We are in the midst of a mainframe renaissance. Dead is the notion that the mainframe is going away. Instead, we are ushering in a future of increased capacity, greater innovation, and more strategic investment. Successfully growing organizations are embracing this change, adopting approaches that increase their agility and speed while more completely integrating the mainframe with their enterprise systems and processes.

The 2022 BMC Mainframe Survey results are in, and they show that capacity is growing across all sizes of mainframe shops, with over 60 percent of respondents reporting that their investment in the platform is increasing. These increases tie directly to changing workloads on the platform as transaction and data volumes and the number of databases increase more rapidly—and unpredictably—than ever before.

To help keep pace, successful organizations are strategizing by integrating their mainframe with their enterprise-wide practices. We also see organizations focusing their efforts on achieving faster software development and more frequent, higher-quality releases with DevOps, AIOps to improve performance and availability, and platform integration with enterprise security policies and monitoring to combat the latest cyber threats. To do so, they’re doubling down on the strengths of the platform while incorporating new technology to make it easier for a new wave of users to work with and embrace the mainframe.

BMC’s commitment to partnering with our customers to optimize and transform the mainframe while delivering familiar, approachable experiences is showcased in our October quarterly release. These innovations enable the use of familiar environments for mainframe development, greater end-to-end visibility into services, and increased integration with enterprise-wide operations.

A familiar interface for mainframe development

Fast response is crucial to meeting constantly evolving customer expectations. The 2022 BMC Mainframe Survey shows that four out of five organizations want to update applications more frequently, with 14 percent updating their mainframe applications every day. Attracting, onboarding, and retaining talent can be a challenge, though. Mainframe code, especially older code, can be quite complex, and most colleges and universities eschew the “green screen,” teaching development in modern integrated development environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio Code (VS Code). In fact, the 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey found that nearly 75 percent of respondents said they had worked with VS Code over the past year and want to work with it in the future.

To help meet the need for faster software delivery lifecycles and overcome staffing issues, organizations are integrating tools that remove inhibitors and make the mainframe more accessible to a wider array of developers. To that end, our new IDE empowers developers of any skill level to leverage the tools and interfaces with which they are most familiar to understand, update, test, and troubleshoot code on even the most complex systems.

The new BMC AMI DevX Workbench for VS Code enables developers to easily access mainframe resources to quickly code, compile, and debug applications using their preferred modern development tool. Going beyond code, the DevX Workbench Explorer extension provides the same ease of use while searching, browsing, editing, and managing data sets and members. With these tools, developers can leverage a one-stop shop of modern mainframe development tools that are intuitive and easy to use.

This improved developer experience not only helps attract new talent to the mainframe, it also gives both new and seasoned developers a familiar environment in which to work, decreasing onboarding time and enabling them to be more productive, faster.

A system-wide view of capacity

The 2022 version of our mainframe survey also shows that 65 percent of respondents use AIOps across mainframe and non-mainframe platforms. As more and more services and applications use multiple platforms, organizations are clearly seeing the benefits of enterprise-wide capacity and performance management.

Earlier this year, BMC introduced an integration between BMC AMI Ops and BMC Helix Discovery that enables automated, service-aware topology mapping. Building upon that advanced end-to-end visibility, we have announced a new integration between BMC AMI Ops and BMC Helix Continuous Optimization that delivers a mainframe-inclusive system-wide view of capacity.

Feeding data directly from BMC AMI Ops to BMC Helix Continuous Optimization enables operations teams to create a standardized report of mainframe, cloud, and distributed data, providing a clearer understanding of cross-platform service delivery.

Other BMC AMI Ops enhancements, such as user interface improvements (including the display of consolidated performance data and custom dashboards) and expanded probable cause analysis help operations teams take advantage of machine learning to solve workload issues in an intuitive, easy-to-use environment.

The renaissance continues

The results of the 2022 BMC Mainframe Survey show that the platform is both growing and changing at a rapid pace, with more organizations embracing an open-borders approach that uses mainframe, distributed, and cloud systems across applications. It’s become essential to fully integrate the mainframe with enterprise development and operations practices to ensure agility, resilience, and security while making work on the mainframe no different than on any other platform.

With our latest quarterly release, BMC continues the mainframe renaissance, offering solutions that build upon the strengths of the platform while utilizing new technologies to make it faster, stronger, and more accessible than ever.

Read more about BMC AMI DevX Workbench for VS Code in this blog post.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

April Hickel

Vice President Intelligent Z Optimization and Transformation