Adopting a new development approach and set of tools, especially one involving modifying existing systems, is often associated with long evaluation cycles and prototyping exercises, lengthy developer ramp-up times and difficulties around how to set up and configure test environment — which often consumes IT resources that could be better leveraged elsewhere. The latest version of the Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for System z and Power® systems solutions is a cloud offering that provides a dedicated, hosted environment, configured with the IBM company's latest software for extending the value of existing applications and building, testing and deploying new applications on an IBM z10 Enterprise Class server or the IBM Power system environment. These Enterprise Modernization sandboxes are specifically designed for enterprise architects, business analysts, application developers, web developers, test engineers and deployment architects, but are available to everyone. Via these online trial sandboxes, the IBM company provides a mix of full-version software trials and "try-online" hosted environments, where you can explore tutorials and get process guidance. You also find links to online demos, best-practice documentation and quick-start guides — all designed to help provide practical applications of Enterprise Modernization solutions and accelerate learning.
Figure 1: The Enterprise Modernization Sandboxes provide users with a cloud-based solution offering a mix of full version software trials and "try-online" hosted environments
Introduction to the Sandbox
Enterprise Modernization Sandboxes for System z and Power toolsets are free, web-based, hands-on environments that help enable you to work with and deploy applications using a guided "tinker, test, and try" approach. No downloading, configuration, or installation is required. You can quickly experience and evaluate IBM's latest modernization solutions by simply logging in and getting connected to a live environment.
Your company can achieve powerful benefits from working in the Sandbox, helping your development team achieve productivity and efficiency goals. Your organization can increase flexibility by revitalizing your existing application portfolio, and boost productivity and accelerate innovation by leveraging modern skills. In addition, you can maximize business agility by bridging organizational silos, and improve system utilization by optimizing your application infrastructure.
Here are a few examples of the several solution scenarios available online, but you are free build your own and try something new. You can:
- Discover, analyze and document business rules from existing applications.
- Transform green-screen applications to modern web, portal or mobile interfaces.
- Create components or service enable existing applications.
- Rapidly develop multiplatform applications with EGL.
- Access CICS or IMS applications from an Apple iPhone.
- Leverage a collaborative Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution.
There are four key areas in your organization that can benefit from working in an Enterprise Modernization Sandbox. These include applications, people, teams and infrastructure. First, the applications entry point offers solutions for understanding, architecting, evaluating, managing, modernizing and extending enterprise applications that run your business. Second, the people entry point offers solutions for improving productivity of existing and new developers with modern integrated design and development tools. Third, the team entry point offers solutions for improving the productivity and efficiency of teams by deploying a common team infrastructure for managing requirements, projects, quality, and collaboration across the application development lifecycle. Last, the infrastructure entry point offers solutions for improving system utilization, scalability and performance by exploiting latest advancements in hardware, middleware software and compilation technologies.
Figure 2: Four key areas in your organization that can benefit from working in an Enterprise Modernization Sandbox.
How to use the Sandbox
There are different paths to getting started working in an Enterprise Modernization Sandbox. You can play in the sandbox in the way that works best for you:
- Learn by following the scripted, self-paced exercises.
- Leave the scripts (at any point) and play on your own, venturing into areas of the System z or Power systems development environment you want to explore and learn about.
Once you register, you will have four hours per session. Use the tools in the Sandbox to explore what's available, without the fear of breaking something you are working on. To get started, follow these steps:
- Download and print the scripted lab materials for the scenarios you wish to follow. These materials help you get started and provide a roadmap for trying out the products in the Sandbox.
- Register for and login to the enterprise modernization sandbox, a remote, virtual desktop, with all of the IBM Enterprise Modernization tools installed. At this point you are ready to follow the scripts or play with the software if you already understand how to use the tools.
- Use the resources for each exercise to try each scenario.
- If you'd like, contact IBM for additional information on any of the enterprise modernization approaches you've worked with to get additional information, to comment on your experience, or to sign up for free remote education classes.
To get started, visit the IBM Enterprise Modernization Sandbox area of the developerWorks website.
Enterprise Modernization Sandbox features
Working in an Enterprise Modernization Sandbox offers your organization numerous features that, when properly exploited, can help make your development team more agile and productive. These organizational features include these capabilities and benefits:
- The Sandbox extends continuous updates to your team, enabling products and tutorials to be continually updated, providing an up-to-date view of what is going on in your environment.
- Essential documentation is accessible via a click of your mouse, enabling you to view items ranging from tips and hints to essential architectural guidance.
- Exploration is encouraged, allowing your team to freely explore and assess capabilities as they wish — with each hosted environment providing fully functional software. The Sandbox is time-boxed, but there is no limit to how much you can use it. All users are allocated four hours per each active session, with no limits on registration. You are able to constantly move forward, with the hosting model architected to help ensure a fast recovery.
- Finally, the Sandbox is a risk-free, no cost opportunity for your team to gain skill, productivity and efficiency. Each exercise is designed to show how IBM products can be used to solve complex business problems, quickly and efficiently; just use your web browser to install a free Citrix client, with no other installations required.
In addition to the publicly available version of the sandbox, IBM is also offering an extended trial offer for customers and business partners who need more time to explore IBM solutions in a controlled environment. Qualified users can access the hosted software trials for up to 30 days without charge. For more information please visit the sandbox.
Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for System z features
The Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for the System z solution offers several powerful features, containing a large subset of the System z software to help drive your development goals. The Sandbox contains software to help you with business planning and alignment, project and portfolio management, design and development, collaborative ALM, the System z environment itself, and local runtimes. This Sandbox provides you with capabilities from a host of IBM Rational® products, including Rational System Architect®, Rational Focal Point, Rational Asset Analyzer, Rational Developer for System z, Rational Team Concert for System z, Rational Host Access Transformation Services, Rational Business Developer and Rational Application Developer, to name but a few. In addition, the local runtimes include IMS Enterprise Suite SOAP Gateway, CICS Transaction Gateway, DB2 Enterprise Server Edition, IMS Mashup Center, TX Series for Multiplatforms, Apache Tomcat and PostgreSQL.
Figure 3: The Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for System z contains a large subset of System z software to help drive your development goals.
The benefit to a developer using the Sandbox for System z is that you are able to leverage an entire scope of industry-leading solutions to help you innovate and optimize your software. Not only does your product benefit, but your process can as well, using a low risk, cost free environment to improve the way your organization develops products.
To help boost your skills in the System z solution, the Sandbox contains a series of exercises. These exercises range from predefined solution scenarios, or you can create your own. The Sandbox comes equipped with these exercises:
- Discover and Understand your Mainframe applications
- Wrap existing COBOL programs as Web Services
- Transform green screens to Web applications
- Transform green screens to Web services
- Generating an IMS application feed using IMS Web 2.0 Solution
- Creating a J2C application for an IMS MFS-based transaction
- Creating a J2C application for an IMS Phonebook transaction
- Enabling an IMS application as a Web service
- System z application Testing and Debugging with Problem Determination Tools
- Remote IBM z/OS application development
- Local IBM z/OS application development
- Accessing Mainframe applications from iPhone
- Invoking a third party Web service with EGL and Web 2.0
- Build Web 2.0 applications using EGL
- Using EGL wizards to create a Web application
- Creating Web Services with EGL wizards
- Core Banking Transformation with Rational Software
- Explore XML processing capabilities with IBM Enterprise COBOL
Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for Power systems features
Like the Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for System z, the Power systems product Sandbox also integrates powerful development tools to help you increase your efficiency and productivity. These features include design and development, collaborative ALM, Power systems environment tools, and runtimes. This subset of the IBM Enterprise Modernization for Power systems software includes IBM Rational solutions like Rational Developer for Power systems, Rational Host Access Transformation Services, Rational Business Developer, Rational Software Architect for WebSphere, and Rational Team Concert among others. The Power systems environment includes the Test Power System Server (iseriesd.demos.ibm.com), Rational Team Concert for Power Systems Server, IBM XL C/C++, IBM XL Fortran and IBM XL COBOL. The runtimes are included in the WebSphere application server.
Figure 4: The Power systems product Sandbox also integrates powerful development tools to help you increase your efficiency and productivity.
To assist your team's efforts to become expert with the Power systems solution, the Sandbox includes exercises that help your organization boost their skills. The exercises are available from predefined solutions scenarios or you can create your own. The exercises include:
- Discover and understand RPG applications
- Building a web service from an RPG program
- Service enabling IBM i data
- Consuming service in browser based web apps
- Transform 5250 green screens to Web apps
- Transform 5250 green screens to Web services
- Maintain an IBM i application
- Build Web 2.0 applications using EGL
- Creating and consuming Web services
- Call Power Systems programs from EGL
- Manage Application Lifecycle
- Explore IBM XL C/C++ Compilers for AIX Optimization Options
- Explore IBM XL C/C++ Compilers for AIX Optimization Options Level 2
- Discover uninitialized floating point and integer variables with IBM XL Fortran for AIX
- Interoperability of IBM XL Fortran, IBM XL C/C++ and Java
- Integrating IBM COBOL for AIX with Java
Using an Enterprise Modernization Sandbox may at first appear daunting, but the easy adoption, small footprint, low risk and cost-free point of entry quickly dispel this stereotype. Using the IBM Corporation's data centers via a web browser, you can see how IBM Power or System z toolsets help your organization by optimizing the value of your assets, skills and infrastructure investments. Moreover, by assisting your organization's efforts to revitalize applications, empower people, unify teams and leverage existing infrastructure based on your knowledge and experiences, you can efficiencies and innovative engineering approaches that position your company for success.
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