IBM pushes mainframe development to cut maintenance costs

Jeff Feinman
November 19, 2009 —  IBM is promoting mainframe development as a way to reduce IT maintenance costs. The company today released Rational Developer for System z (RDz) version 7.6, which will look to attract new developers to mainframe development.

Scott Searle, a marketing program director with IBM Rational, said the software offers a “really compelling economic argument” for doing more development for the mainframe. He said that such development could cut a company’s application maintenance costs by about 10%.

“Many mainframe customers today really have shackles on their IT budget because 80 to 90% of it can be focused on maintenance,” Searle said. “If we can help them cut that [cost], the resulting increase to their ability to extend applications for developing new capabilities is almost doubled.”

IBM is also promoting green-screen development among younger developers. Searle claimed that once Java developers begin working with RDz, they will see that they can work on mainframe software just as easily as they build Java applications. He added that RDz can work with the Jazz-based Rational Team Concert for System z to support agile methodologies. It also works with IBM’s change and configuration management software.

“RDz allows you to integrate teams between distributed and mainframe, and so the teams will work on an application, and everyone sees the changes in real time,” Searle said. “They can track and govern the project through a single interface.”

Separately, IBM added a common repository to version 2.0 of Rational Team Concert for System z. According to Searle, the new repository is more consolidated regardless of the platform being developed on, bringing increased collaboration and information availability to distributed teams.

Rational Team Concert now can interface with COBOL, and has much better project predictability with new planning and risk assessment dashboards, Searle added. Teams can put policies into place for working on tiered applications with the new dashboards.

Searle said that IBM plans to invest in Rational Team Concert, with a goal of making it as functional and comprehensive as the Rational ClearCase software configuration manager.

“ClearCase does a pretty good job at governance and life-cycle management, but Rational Team Concert is really the big new step forward,” he said. “Rational Team Concert has great capabilities around management and process to ensure that the management team is comfortable with the pace of a development project, to make sure that all checkpoints are met on time and projects are under control.”

Related Search Term(s): IBM, Rational

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11/20/2009 05:09:40 AM EST

"...they can work on mainframe software just as easily as they build Java applications." I think poor Mr. Searle was mis-paraphrased. Java is a programming language, and a mainframe is a server. Java applications are (also) every bit and equally mainframe applications. Every IBM mainframe built since the year 2000 can (and usually does) run the latest version of Java, and Java is included free of charge in z/OS and in Linux (the two most popular operating systems for IBM mainframes). I think the missing word is probably "other" ("other mainframe software"). Big difference. Think of it this way, to a first order approximation: IBM mainframes run a near-perfect superset of software that can run on other types of business servers. If you're writing Perl, or PHP, or Ruby, or Java, or whatever, yes, that stuff runs on a mainframe. And you can run mainframe-unique stuff, too. I assume the point IBM is trying to make is that they've got one tool, one workbench, which covers all these application development domains. And that's pretty darn cool, actually -- and yes, that would cut maintenance costs.

United StatesTimothy

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