Why use IBM DevOps tools to deploy applications to the mainframe?

One of the areas in software delivery that drives the most value for your dollar is automating release deployments.  This is especially true in mainframe environments, where lengthy homegrown processes for checking in and deploying code have been used for years in order to safeguard business-critical applications.

Why would you seek out IBM for software to automate deployments to the mainframe?

Like Apple and the smartphone, IBM invented the first mainframe and proceeded to invest in, evolve and capture the market over the last five decades or so. It stands to reason that IBM’s teams have very good experience producing software specifically for the mainframe (z/OS), which is true. But are we the best?

Consider the case of UrbanCode Deploy. IBM has been using UrbanCode Deploy (acquired in 2014) to automate deployments to mainframes for about three years now. Learning from dozens of internal teams which routinely deploy to the mainframe has given UCD z/OS development a great advantage. Being close to the IBM teams who wrote DB2, CICS and MQ, to name a few, has also been a great boost to UCD for z/OS integrations.

I have heard from various IBM teams that UCD has literally improved their work life.  Deploying software is tedious at best, often nerve-racking, and sometimes even soul-destroying (not my expression – I heard it from a client).  UCD not only reduces the time it takes to deploy applications to the mainframe, but it also helps enormously with consistency, quality and troubleshooting by making it possible to track apps and configurations from one deployment to another.  For one IBM Z team, the deploy time of an application was reduced from a few hours to 3 minutes, and deployments are now auto-triggered by each build. The number of deployments increased from 1 to 7 in a day. On the mainframe!

UrbanCode Deploy has gained a leg up by being close to teams who write mainframe software and who deploy routinely to the mainframe. Other deployment automation tools can deploy applications and configurations to z/OS, but they typically rely on scripts, which, as we know, tend to be fragile and only as reliable as the person who wrote them (better hope the guy who wrote the script doesn’t get a new job!) While UCD competitors rely on scripts to deploy against CICS and DB2, UrbanCode has these integrations out of the box.

IBM UrbanCode is also in the process of embracing z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF) to assist in the discovery and provisioning of IBM z System environments. Provisioning the mainframe as part of the deployment process is a huge step forward and unique to UrbanCode Deploy for z/OS.

z/OSMF provides a web-based interface that allows you to manage various aspects of your z/OS systems through a browser at any time, from any location. Read more on z/OSMF support here.

One tool to rule them all!

In today’s multi-platform world, release managers must deliver software across many environments at the same time, with version control and the ability to push or roll back releases with the touch of a button.  Managing deployments to cloud-native platforms, to traditional data centers, to the mainframe and to public and private cloud with out-of-the-box integrations and provisioning capabilities: These are the advantages of UrbanCode Deploy.

To understand how UCD works with build tools as part of the end to end DevOps process, check out the video:

To read the latest Forrester Wave report on Continuous Deployment and Release Automation, where you can see that others support IBM’s leadership in this space, click here.

The z/OSMF plugin allows discovery and provisioning, but not configuration deployment. Configurations can be deployed for MQ (using the MQz plugin), for DB2 (using the DB2 plugin and DB2 Object Compare tool) and for CICS (using JCLs or CICS bundles.)