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With the acquisition of Compuware, BMC has completed the largest acquisition in its history, and it is all about mainstreaming the mainframe. BMC and Compuware have complementary products that enable DevSecOps on mainframe systems, and this acquisition will strengthen the products and enhance the focus on modernizing IT practices for mainframe systems. This investment is proof that the era of two-speed IT is over.

Mainframe systems, more core than legacy

Mainframes are the survivors in the server world. Around since the 1960s, these “dinosaurs” are learning to dance to modern music. Mainframes are still the backbone of many, must-not-fail systems, including finance, international trade, and taxation systems. These systems have been not only holding the critical records of many organizations, but also embody their core business rules and functions. The reliability, scale, and importance of these systems have seen many of them operate for many decades, with careful and risk-averse change practices.

However, these organizations have realized that increasing the change velocity on their engagement platforms can only take them so far, with the realization that “you are only as fast as your slowest system.” The added complexity and workarounds implemented to shield core systems from the rapid change hampered their ability to respond to and exploit new opportunities.

Modern practices with familiar tools

Emerging in 2008–09, DevOps, and more recently, DevSecOps, have changed the standard practices in IT systems. DevSecOps linked the operational and development processes by utilizing automation and software-defined infrastructure to increase velocity and quality at the same time. Until recently, the mainframe has been left behind, seen as the legacy by management and supported by aging practices and aging professionals. Freshly minted IT professionals and executives didn’t quite fully grasp how much of their business knowledge was embedded in these core systems.

In the mid-2010s, vendors could see the writing on the wall: the mainframe had to keep up, or it would be shipped out. IBM started adding APIs and other cloud-native technology to their mainframe operating systems. Compuware developed Topaz development and testing tools and ISPW for Continuous integration and continuous delivery. These new tools integrated with the DevOps toolsets of the day, allowing mainframe software development to share the same workflow and tools used in distributed and cloud-native systems. Meanwhile, BMC created Automated Mainframe Intelligence (AMI) to manage, diagnose, heal, and optimize mainframe systems. Together these tools cover all aspects of the DevSecOps loop and integrate with familiar tools like Git, Jenkins, Splunk, Jira, and many more.

New mainframe workloads

Sales of IBM’s Z system have rebounded from significant lows in the early 2000s, and BMC’s research shows that 52% of existing mainframe users believe they will see a growth in mainframe workloads and attract new workloads to their systems.

Most developers and testers are polyglots, and learning a new syntax is natural, but being forced into an “unnatural” and inefficient development workflow can be a deal-breaker. With the combined Compuware and BMC tooling, new developers, testers, and operational staff can be immediately productive. A new generation of systems engineers, working with continuous delivery workflows and tools, will increase the value of mainframe systems to their organizations.

With the significant acquisition of Compuware, BMC is signaling an expected continuation, and more importantly, growth in core systems running on mainframe infrastructure.



Tony Castley, Principal Analyst, Enterprise ICT Management

[email protected]

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