At the Mainframe Crossroads: Viewpoints from Serena Customers

Business people standing on puzzle piecesSerena had a great turnout for the Mainframe xChange12 breakout sessions and the “xChange Again” webcast on October 4.  At xChange, our customers had many questions about the future of the mainframe.  In many respects, we are at the greatest crossroads in the history of the mainframe.  Three points were loud and clear from our customers.

1. Our customers are doing more with less.

With downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate restructuring, we have customers who now have only 2 or 3 ChangeMan ZMF administrators versus the 8 – 10 ZMF administrators in the past. Yet, the demand, commitments, and overall workload for the administrators continue to grow.  Fortunately many ZMF enhancements over the past few years have helped administrators be more productive, whether it be by streamlining the compile process, allowing for variable library types, the ability to keep core skeletons cleaner, etc.  We know that customers are looking for even more productivity enhancements along these lines and we aim to please.

2. The user community is expressing the need to facilitate off-platform development and test.

There is a shift to move development and unit test off of the higher priced general purpose MIPS to more cost-effective platforms.  Although we know that mainframes continue to process the lion’s share of the world’s computing workloads and transactions, the tools and methodologies have changed dramatically in the last several years. With new developers coming out of universities who are accustomed to working in a variety of integrated development environments and using more lean development methodologies, how can Serena, and the industry as a whole, adapt to that?

Serena’s response is to Orchestrate IT around key business processes such as Application Development Management and Application Release Management.  With our Serena Development Manager and Serena Release Manager solutions, now companies can manage the entire application development and delivery processes across all platforms in one common system.  We’ve also fitted ChangeMan ZMF to support Java code development and to work with Eclipse through our ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack.

3. Mainframes are not islands.

At least not anymore. Support for heterogeneous platforms and hybrid apps are more relevant now than ever before. With a significant amount of new MIPS-on-the-floor dedicated to zLinux, our customers are looking to us for leadership in orchestrating a unified strategy.

Let’s first talk about what was demonstrated at xChange12. During the conference, we talked about Orchestrated IT and connecting all IT processes, including those for the mainframe and those for distributed systems.  This is a tremendous change from what IT organizations have been accustomed to — a distinct chasm between the mainframe and distributed environments. Now, with zLinux running on System z, and mobile, cloud and embedded thrown into the mix, the lines that separate the platforms no longer exist, or are at least very fuzzy.  As these environments begin to move in lock-step from demand through deployment, Serena is uniquely positioned to assist in navigating every step of the way with rigor, visibility, traceability and the ability to roll back. And with ChangeMan ZMF ERO web services now available, we are able to augment our Orchestrated IT story with the intelligence that ERO brings to the table.

Serena Dashboard provides out of the box metrics, facilitates product integrations and provides ChangeMan ZMF-specific information providing complete visibility into the environment.

Beneath this, we have both our Serena Development Manager (DVM) and Serena Release Manager (RLM) solutions which fully integrate with ChangeMan ZMF and can tie mainframe  application lifecycle management (ALM) activities with the distributed applications.

ChangeMan ZMF provides the rigor, scalability, and industrial strength to your mainframe application development and release processes.  And augmenting ChangeMan ZMF are:

  • ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack: With ChangeMan ZMF for Eclipse, developers have the option of working in Eclipse and no longer need to log onto a 3270 to interact with ZMF. This is the biggest leap yet in what we are delivering for ChangeMan ZMF for Eclipse.
  • ChangeMan zDDnow sports an improved .NET interface, the ability to edit and submit raw (native) XML.  And soon we’ll deliver Windows 8 support, Extended Attribute Volume (EAV) support, a simplified installer and a significant amount of ChangeMan ZMF-centric enhancements.
  • Serena will continue to focus on, and deliver around doing more with less, support for off-platform development and Orchestrated IT.

For more on the future of the mainframe, listen to the recorded webcasts from the “xChange Again” webcast series:


Al Slovacek joined Serena in 1995 and has functioned in a variety of technical and management roles including ChangeMan ZMF development. He currently serves as Senior Director of Mainframe Products. Prior to Serena, Al was a developer of a variety of mainframe products ranging from z/OS performance management, storage management, VSAM optimization and compression. Prior to this he worked in IT as a Systems Programmer specializing in mainframe performance analysis, tuning, installation and configuration.



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[...] brings me to the main point in this blog entry. As discussed in one of my previous posts, our customers are doing more with less, and the user community is expressing the need to [...]

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