Feature: Page (1) of 1 - 02/10/17

Topaz for Total Test

Compuware's Next Step in the Mainframe Renaissance

By Christopher O'Malley, CEO, Compuware

When distributed computing flourished in the 1990s and mainframe system revenues declined, the mainframe was dubbed a dinosaur on the verge of being de-throned. However, large companies maintained their legacy mainframe systems because over the years, they realized the ROI for leaving the platform was simply not there. It is too difficult, expensive and risky to leave, and yields no business benefit. They found - sometimes painfully - that there are no superior alternatives for the computing power of the mainframe, which has enabled these organizations to effectively and efficiently expand their operations at a global scale.



Fast forward to 2017. As these organizations seek digital transformation, the mainframe has the power to provide much-needed reliability, performance and security for systems-of-record, while also being an agent of change. The challenge is that the mainframe has not always been the most agile development platform, preventing it from being included in broader DevOps initiatives. It has existed in a silo and, to date, has required specialized programming and platform knowledge, often repelling newer generations of IT management and developers. The resulting culture is an IT house divided against itself, unable to address today's business challenges. Consider everyday mobile transactional applications - such as, a customer making a purchase on a retail site, booking a flight, or executing a bank transaction. Ultimately, these applications will land on a back-end mainframe for transaction completion, so any endeavor to create or update cutting-edge applications inevitably requires developers to come face-to-face with the mainframe.


This unfamiliarity with the mainframe has resulted in unacceptable slowdowns and bottlenecks in a digital market where speed factors heavily in the survival of the fittest: big no longer beats small; rather, fast now beats slow. The need to bridge these separate development worlds has become undisputable and urgent.

Compuware, a leading mainframe-focused ISV, is on a quest to remake the mainframe into a first-class citizen in the Agile and DevOps world. For nine consecutive quarters, we have delivered new capabilities and enhancements to our classic offerings through innovations, integrations with both mainframe and non-mainframe DevOps leaders, and acquisitions of market-leading technology. Collectively, these deliverables are all focused on one thing - mainstreaming the mainframe -so that the new generations of IT artisans can gain mastery over mainframe code and data. This is critical as mainframe experts retire; as more applications connect back to the mainframe and as organizations look to harness the decades of intellectual property as platforms for innovation.

Most recently, Compuware announced Topaz for Total Test, which brings Java-like unit testing to the world of COBOL applications. Topaz is a comprehensive suite of mainframe development and testing tools designed to help developers, regardless of experience, understand and work on any program, no matter how old or complex.  

Topaz for Total Test builds on an extensive set of new features we have announced over the past few years, all designed to enable mainframe users to move more quickly, while making fewer mistakes. It automates unit testing, enabling even novice developers to validate and troubleshoot any changes they make to existing COBOL applications.  COBOL code can now be updated as frequently and with the same level of confidence as other types of applications. The result aligns with Compuware's vision of helping mainframe users increase their digital agility while reducing dependency on the specialized knowledge of mainframe veterans aging out of the workforce. 

Addressing the ops side of the DevOps equation, we also announced the acquisition of MVS Solutions and its popular ThruPut Manager mainframe batch automation technology.  Batch processing accounts for most mainframe workloads at large enterprises. The ThruPut Manager solution automatically and intelligently optimizes the efficiency and minimizes the cost of batch jobs, making them easier for non-mainframe experts to manage.

The MVS Solutions acquisition validates Compuware's commitment to serving as a home, not a hospice, for mainframe software. This is our fourth acquisition in a year, following earlier acquisitions of ISPW, a leading provider of agile source code management (SCM) and release automation solutions for cross-platform development; Itegration's SCM migration practice and methodology; and Standardware COPE, a leading IMS (a foundational database and transaction management technology) virtualization solution. 

Through our new product announcements, integrations and acquisitions, Compuware is strengthening our leadership in the mainframe renaissance. By fully leveraging the strengths of their mainframe systems and including them in broader DevOps efforts, mainframe organizations will enjoy the distinct advantages of being both big and fast - better competing in fast-moving digital markets where disruption through software innovation is the norm.

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