Building a unified developer experience for z/OS and cloud applications with the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack

Emerging cloud-based technology trends like artificial intelligence (AI), the Metaverse, the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing are evolving at a rapid pace, seemingly adding new capabilities every few months to fundamentally transform how people and organizations interact with them. For enterprises to match scale and speed, it is critical to modernize their core business applications to accelerate innovation.

However, for many, there are perceived challenges as they start their journey.

Modernization is not a new term. Most executives have it as a key priority. In a recent IBM IBV study, 83% of executives surveyed stated modernizing their applications and data was a business priority but only 27% admitted to having started their modernization efforts. And those who do get started often focus on operational objectives like operating expenses and labor spend instead of more strategic priorities. Only 45% of respondents prioritize growth from improving existing products or services and building new capabilities.

Application modernization is at the core of  a hybrid cloud-enabled transformation that can deliver up to 13 times higher revenue impact of cloud investments when orchestrated as an end-to-end reinvention of the enterprise.

A unified approach is critical in a hybrid multicloud world

In a 2021 IBM IBV study, executives who were surveyed expected the use of both mainframe and cloud-based applications to grow with a fit-for-purpose digital strategy, pointing to the need for enterprise-wide transformation that facilitates integration and optimization of both environments. 70% of the surveyed mainframe customers planned to leverage hybrid cloud to improve the integration and effectiveness of core business applications and intended to use a cloud orchestrator/management platform to coordinate workloads in multiple environments. Yet, 82% of executives agreed that their teams lacked the necessary skills for managing these cloud- and legacy-based applications collectively.

It is not surprising then that organizations sometimes face unforeseen challenges as they try to accelerate their cloud adoption. Enabling the right tools, skills and an enhanced developer experience can balance productivity and smooth delivery across the legacy and modernized environments without disruption of business processes.

Today’s typical full-stack development environment may need the front-end application developers on multiple distributed platforms to interact with the back-end teams using z/OS-based development environments.

New additions to the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack

The IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack can provide a unified full-stack experience for developers working on hybrid cloud applications, regardless of whether it’s a front-end application that will run in a private/public cloud environment or a back-end application running on z/OS (or both). This consistent enterprise development approach allows for all application developers to share the same industry-standard open tools across the end-to-end breadth of the application(s). This is achieved by being built on and optimized for the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, providing clients the option to exploit a cloud-native experience.

Today we’re announcing new additions to the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack capabilities, including the following:

The z/OS PaaS experience: Deliver a self-service experience to developers to provision the environments and software they need for development, right into their personal sandbox. A custom z/OS development environment can be established via an automated, cloud-native approach. Use the IBM-provided capabilities to rapidly recreate complex z/OS environments for development. Newly available is the facility to extend these capabilities with your own automation using the published open-source Operator Collection SDK and specification, which provide the resources and tools to build your own operators connecting Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and z/OS.

Create secured open standard-based APIs: Efficiently provide secure access to IBM zSystems applications and data through industry-standard APIs using the Open API specification on IBM Cloud or any cloud of choice with IBM industry partners. Provide a comprehensive and agile development environment for creating and consuming APIs in minutes. Based on the z/OS Connect offering, you can scale business-critical APIs and leverage the strengths of the IBM zSystems platform while providing integration with enterprise API management solutions like the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration.

Cloud-native experience for developing and deploying applications: Provide a cloud-native approach to developing and modernizing z/OS applications, designed to increase speed and agility for greater developer productivity. Efficiently modify existing COBOL, PL/I, Java or Assembler programs, but also take advantage of new programming languages, including Python, Node.js and Go. Seamlessly integrate with standard (Git) enterprise-wide CI/CD toolchains or with DevOps platforms of our partners. Using the new IBM Wazi Deploy, deploy modified applications using Ansible or Python scripts into the Sandbox test environment created as part of the z/OS PaaS experience. Then, when they are ready, deploy them into production.

Rapid application analysis: Mitigate the risk of application changes by rapidly analyzing code changes to help ensure clients know the dependencies before getting started. Leverage visualization features to help make the dependencies easy to share and understand.

Learn more

To maximize the benefits of application modernization across hybrid cloud, it is critical to achieve the highest levels of productivity for your developers. Your most important challenge is providing a unified development experience (from mobile front-ends to secure, scalable back-ends) and the skills required to help ensure speed and consistency.

The IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack provides the unified developer experience you need for z/OS and cloud applications, helping you to maximize developer productivity and agility for all your application needs.

To find out more about the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack’s updated capabilities, see the following: 

Read the new “Accelerate Mainframe Application Modernization with Hybrid Cloud” Redbook. 

Check out the new updated content solutions site, where you can learn how to use the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack to enable your full-stack developers

Learn more about the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack

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