AGILE Mainframe. Yes you can !
Mainframes are still used by numerous organizations in sectors such as insurance services or payment industries. To get on in today’s fast-moving economy, customers must accelerate the software development lifecycle (SDLC) for applications hosted on their own mainframes.
The challenge here is, “How to insure increasing mainframe development and test agility ? ”
The quick answer is using “Containers” :)
So, what is a container? A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all of its dependencies, so the application runs quickly and reliably in different computing environments. An example you might be familiar with is Docker. But you should know that IBM z/OS Container extensions (zCX) exist and provide a way to run Linux capabilities on z/OS.
And any management the zCX server does need can be simplified by using z/OSMF workflows.
IBM® z/OS® Management Facility (z/OSMF) provides system management functions in a task-oriented, web browser-based user interface with integrated user assistance, so that you can more easily manage the day-to-day operations and administration of your mainframe z/OS systems.
Without containers, even if all the environment ( Developpement,Homologation, acceptance and production ) are identical you will see a lot of issues when deploying to production :
- Should run non-regression tests
- Dependencies not installed , not documented …
The containers insure that the developer creates a full image identical to development/production and it’s orchestrated by the same engine resulting that you wrap your code, your libraries and your specific requirements in a single system and if it runs on environnement A it will run on environnement B.
That insures Smaller and Faster deployments ( More resources to manage but it’s OK ;) ) which will help doing Agile testing.
So what about testing ? Test agility in a mainframe world is a challenge.
You will be forced to have more reached and complex test plans because you will have multiple test points and test cases.
That’s why you should create very neatly your scenario’s steps.
You should take into consideration that Agile allows rapid changes after initial stages of the project or throughout the project phase which will oblige you to readapt your test cases :)
But don’t worry Containers ensure that new features are deployed in while minimizing the risks of failure for the core-business workloads currently executing.
You should note that containers accelerate the development and test lifecycle, increasing speed and quality altogether.
I believe that after virtual machines, the containers are the new game changers in our world.