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DevOpsify Your Mainframe: Continuous Improvement on Big Iron

You can bring DevOps to your mainframe. That you already know. But to make the very most of DevOps, you also need to embrace continuous improvement for your mainframe. Here’s why and how.

One of the tricky things about DevOps is that it is not something that you can just implement, then be done.

Even if you’ve adopted some DevOps principles, there is always more that you can do to get even better. The status quo should never be enough, even if your status quo is a huge improvement from your pre-DevOps existence.

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This is why an organization that has truly embraced DevOps commits to continuous improvement. Continuous improvement means constantly assessing your current operations, then finding and implementing ways to make them more efficient or agile.

Continuous Improvement for Mainframes

The continuous improvement principle extends even to mainframes.

You might already have embraced technologies like Docker and continuous delivery for your mainframe. These are good tools to help enable DevOps for mainframe applications and data.

DevOpsify Your Mainframe: Continuous Improvement on Big Iron

But you can go further. Consider these five strategies for achieving continuous improvement on a mainframe:

1. Improve data transfer speeds.

There are multiple ways to improve transfer speeds, such as increasing network bandwidth, improving data compression, and simplifying data structures. Even if you have already improved speeds somewhat, you can probably do even better.

2. Automate, automate, automate.

Manual work is the arch-enemy of DevOps. On the mainframe, you should seek every means possible to automate software and data management. Technologies like containers can be a starting point, but also consider automated data transformation and offloading tools.

3. Streamline communication.

Your ability to work efficiently with your mainframe depends on strong communication between all teams and individuals who work with mainframe software development and management, as well as mainframe data. Your team may already communicate well, but there may be more you can do. Consider taking advantage of ChatOps tools, for example.

4. Educate your organization.

Your organization will be able to leverage your mainframe more efficiently when everyone understands what the mainframe does and why it is valuable. Toward this end, consider educating your employees about the mainframe.

You don’t have to make every employee into a COBOL programming expert, of course. But just some basic education to provide familiarity with the mainframe and how your business uses it can help people who don’t work with the mainframe to coordinate better with those who do. For more here, check out these 5 talking points that demonstrate mainframe’s business value.

5. Add agility.

Agility means the ability to scale, switch between frameworks or adopt new tools whenever you wish. You may already have gained some agility for your mainframe by, for example, using Docker containers to deploy applications in a more environment-agnostic way. Look for steps to add even more agility. For instance, tools that can prepare your mainframe data for analytics on a Hadoop cluster can help you stay agile by enabling you to leverage the latest data analytics tools for your mainframe. (Also see: De-Silo Your Mainframe Data to Regain Agility)

These are just some of the ways in which you can achieve continuous improvement for your mainframe and get more out of DevOps than you already are. No matter which specific strategies you adopt, the most important thing is to recognize the value of continuous improvement itself, and design a plan for acting on it.

In addition to the need for continuous improvement, the necessity for data infrastructure optimization has not gone away. It saves time, resources and money, enabling businesses to repurpose dollars in flat budgets for desired business initiatives that require additional spend. For more information, read Syncsort’s eBook DB2 System Tuning and Optimization: Old Meets New