Kevin Parker Archive


The DevOps movement evolved to allow organizations to innovate fast and reduce risk. DevOps rethinks how software development and delivery occurs and it reshapes how IT is organized and how IT delivers value to the business. However, some “pure” DevOps ideas are difficult to implement in highly regulated, large enterprises.

A question of scale

When the organization is required to meet strict government audit and compliance standards, when you have optimized IT delivery around a monolithic, centralized infrastructure and when you have specialist teams to manage discreet technologies, it is very difficult to relax those controls and remove the barriers in order to adopt a shared-ownership model called DevOps. Yet implementing DevOps is exactly what over a quarter of the largest global IT teams are doing today.

So how do highly regulated, large enterprises benefit and succeed with DevOps?

Read the full article on the Micro Focus Blog.

Registration for xChange16 is now open. The Early Bird promotions start today and go on through April 30th. If you register now you can save $600. We have an exceptional hotel rate of just $264++/night but those rooms are limited so book early.

The preliminary agenda can be found on the xChange16 site along with details on the optional training day classes we are providing this year. xChange16 runs from Sunday 18th September with our traditional welcome reception, through Wednesday September 21st. Optional training is also on Sunday, September 18th and Customer Advisory Board Meetings will be held on Thursday, September 22nd.

This year we are back in Chicago at the newly renovated Renaissance Hotel on Wacker Drive, a terrific conference location. We very much look forward to helping our customers get the most value out of their Serena investments, with presentations and workshops featuring outstanding thought leaders, technical experts, customer champions and technology partners.

As a reminder, the Call for Speakers is open through May 30th, and if selected we are waiving the conference fee! This is a great opportunity for customers to contribute to what makes the conference so special – sharing experiences with your peers and as always, the best customer presentations will be shortlisted for a Serena Innovation Award.

Announced this morning. Link to the press release can be found here.

The 2016 Federal User Group meeting will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday April 5th and 6th, 2016. Once again we will be at the wonderful Newseum on Pennsylvania Ave a few steps from the Capital Building. You can register today, there is no cost to attend this event and lunch is included.

Here’s the agenda:

Tuesday, 5th 08:00 am to 5:00 pm – innovation day

  • Keynotes – The Federal Release Management Challenge, Delivering Great Process Apps in SBM, Deploying with CI/CD, Pipelines and Containers
  • Breakouts – Better Requirements, Secure Artifact Repository, Federal Scale Releases, How to orchestrate in SBM, Agile Engineering Practices, What’s new in RLC/SDA
  • Panel – Unique Fed Tech challenges
  • Extras – AnswerZone, Partner Showcase, Solution Showcase, Executive 1:1s

Wednesday, 6th 08:00 am to 5:00 pm – free training day

  • SBM track, Form/Report Development,Exploiting the WorkCenter interface, Best Practices in Administration/Configuration,Enterprise Service Management with SBM
  • Dimensions RM/CM track, Secure Artifact Repository,Git Bridge, Command Line Interface Tips and Tricks, Continuous Inspection and Peer Programming
  • Release Mgt track, Your essential DevOps infrastructure,Getting started with CI and CD, Best Practices in Release and Deploy, High Performance Teams and Culture
  • Extras – AnswerZone, Partner Showcase, Solution Showcase, Executive 1:1s

Attendance is limited to the first 200 to register to sign up today.

DevOps bubbleDevOps is not restricted to platforms that are more modern. Many DevOps teams own the responsibility of mainframe deployments as much as they own the non-mainframe ones. Releasing software safely into production has been a critical skillset in the mainframe community for five decades. It has long had specialist teams devoted to minute analysis of the content of the release, the impact on other systems and the consequences of a failed deployment. These teams have an enviable record of operational excellence.

As Agile practices find their way into mainframe software creation, driven by the availability of more modern programming languages and development platforms, so mainframe change and release teams are experiencing the pressure of increased numbers and frequency of changes. The bar required to receive approval of a change into the production mainframe environment is very high indeed. DevOps teams turning to tools to give them the automation necessary to eliminate human interaction where possible and to give them the repeatable and predictable results needed.

Serena’s solution set provides mainframe and non-mainframe teams a comprehensive set of solutions to support both Agile and DevOps initiatives on the mainframe.

Agile Mainframe Development Teams

Serena ChangeMan ZMF has had Agile practices baked into its design since its inception more than 30 years ago. Built-in to the way ChangeMan ZMF works are:

  • Incremental Development – the package concept, developed by Serena’s founder, allows small teams to take on incremental development and to easily move they changes through the lifecycle
  • Develop Anywhere Deploy Anywhere – as more mainframe developers move to Eclipse-based IDE’s they can be assured of the lightweight repository support they need along with the automation necessary for them to develop and deploy quickly. The Client Pack gives development teams the ability to work cross-platform while sharing the same development sandbox. The team can then deploy their application to z/OS, z/Linux or USS environments as their application dictates. This means the Agile project team working in Java, COBOL and CICS web-services can build and deploy together.
  • Secure Parallel Development – uniquely Serena’s Audit capability, a built-in feature of ChangeMan ZMF, ensure that all streams of development check code back into the trunk before deployment. In this way massive and complex branching and merging is managed simply and efficiently. Serena even provides an optional tool automate merging code streams
  • Continuous Integration – whenever developers stage components they are automatically built and developers receive instant feedback if they break something
  • Shift Left – the open API allows third party and home grown tools for static code analysis to be built into the build process and ChangeMan ZMF executes these sending feedback directly to the developer is exceptions occur

Mainframe DevOps Teams

For Change and Release teams shifting to a DevOps-based culture Serena has a number of exceptional technologies designed specifically to support the unique complexity of releasing software on the mainframe.

  • Deployment Pipelines – the promotion model in ZMF defines the path to production of multiple test and production target environments. ZMF deploys the application to these environments and manages environment specific needs (such as database rebinds) automatically. Target environments can be single or multiple instances with separate deployment rules
  • Continuous Deployment – ZMF is approval based and is designed to automate actions, such as deployment, upon receipt of the appropriate approvals. ZMF fully automates this process and, optionally, allows for the deployments to occur on a scheduled basis)
  • Enterprise Release – an optional extension of ChangeMan ZMF, called Enterprise Release, gives DevOps teams the clear visibility of project, product, application, release progress from inception to safe delivery into production. Uniquely Enterprise Release enables cross application releases to be managed and upstream and downstream dependencies to be tracked. For any organization trying to streamline the flow of changes Enterprise Release is essential
  • Release Control – provides Enterprise DevOps teams with visibility across platforms, from mainframe to mobile, of development efforts moving through the lifecycle. Serena Release Control has the unique ability then enables Biz, Dev, DevOps and Ops teams to collaborate and coordinate changes across platforms and repositories. Built-in dashboards provide every stakeholder with visibility and control over deployments
  • Automated Deployment – coordinating the deployment of applications which span platforms is no longer an issue. Serena’s Deployment Automation tool retrieves code from a variety of source-code repositories, including ChangeMan ZMF, moves the application through the deployment pipeline (across platforms) and ensures all tiers of the application arrive is all the right places together. It can even automate the backout should any part of the deployment fail. Deployments can be scheduled, can be simulated and the deployment is constructed completely graphically eliminating the need for scripting

To learn more about Serena Enterprise DevOps solutions for the mainframe and for other platforms check out the product pages on


Tags: Serena

We have started the planning for xChange 2016 at last! So here’s what we know:

  • Location: Chicago IL, back to the Windy City where we were in 2007. The city skyline has changed quite a bit but still spectacular and the new River Walk is really impressive with amazing places to eat and hang out. Deep dish pizza is still the best in the world and Chicago dogs are to die for.
  • Date: 19th of September, 2016 so block off you calendar now.
  • Hotel: The newly remodeled Renaissance Hotel on Wacker Drive right on the river.
  • Agenda:
    • 3-days of conference, 1 optional training day
    • In-depth training on all the major products
    • Major product launches and deep dive demos
    • Daily stand-up meetings where you and your peers lead the discussion
    • 100 intense breakouts (40% customer led)
    • Solutions pavilion with Serena partners (for sponsorship opportunities contact me)
    • The AnswerZone: grab a geek – get answers fast
    • Executive 1:1s
    • Birds of the a Feather with industry leaders like you.
    • And, of course, a brand new Chicago xTravaganza

Registration will open February 1st 2016. We are keeping the price to $1,895 for a full conference pass. Early bird discounts will apply so make sure you have you budget lined up this year.

See you in Chicago.


Bringing customers together to share experiences and comment on the latest ideas and technologies from Serena is one of the primary ways we guide and shape product direction. If you are in the Bay Area on November 5th you should join us and be part of this informative day:

High-Level Agenda

  • Keynote presentation – Move Fast Without Breaking Things: the Dev and Ops strategy for the modern world
  • Product updates – Product Managers talk you through recent product innovations and roadmaps
  • Customer insight – learn from customers how they solve challenging Dev and Ops issues
  • Live demos – short demos of the all the new and advanced capabilities in your products
  • Free consultation and training – meet Serena experts 1:1 or join the afternoon classes

In addition to this packed agenda we’ll be hearing from Steve Young, former quarterback of the 49ers and member of the Serena Board of Directors.

We start at 9:00 am and finish at 3:00 pm and we’re providing lunch.

Why not join us at the Crowne Plaza in San Mateo on the 5th? It’ll be a great day of networking, new ideas and free training.



Tags: Serena

One repository or many … the answer is neither

One of the most commonly asked questions these days is “Should all our source code be in one repository?” This is a complex question and leads to a somewhat interesting set of answers.

Before we get to that lets try and understand the question a little more and find out why customers asking this? In IT we like to centralize and optimize. Gathering all the code in one place is seen as the next logical set of distributed data ripe for centralization and optimization. All in one place means we can manage access better, manage backup and recovery better and ensure everyone is able to maximize the reuse of code.

However this flies in the face of modern developer behavior. At large and small IT organizations we see developers downloading open source source-code management systems for themselves and their teams. Instead of having one repository in one place we are seeing repositories on every server and developer hard drive creating a vast digital archipelago of repositories where processes and standards evolve on a team by team basis mimicking the finches on Galapagos recorded by Darwin.

And this is the dilemma. Corporate responsibility drives towards a single repository strategy but developer behavior wants local control and ownership of their code.

What does corporate want?

So what does corporate really want when they say they want a single repository? Typically they are trying to address multiple concerns and typically these are they:

  • Visibility into all the artifacts in the repository
  • Central access control over the artifacts
  • Conformance to governance guidelines and audit reporting requirements
  • Segmentation of the artifacts to match separation of duties mandates
  • Support for shared code and refactoring initiatives
  • Enterprise wide impact analysis
  • Control over misuse, misappropriation and malicious activities
  • Consistent backup of the repository

None of these are architectural in nature: they are all functional requirements that are easy to satisfy with a single repository and very difficult, impossible in some cases, to achieve with team-based repositories.

What do developers want?

Developers want the least amount of technology and process in order for them to develop at speed. To, as Mark Zuckerberg described it, “move fast and break things.” This means:

  • Solutions they can obtain without budgetary permission
  • A repository that is easy to use and flexible to their needs
  • Low process, governance and control
  • Easy (or no) administration
  • Simple (or no) licensing
  • Fast checkout and checkins (especially GetLatestVersion) across the LAN and WAN

Once again, these requirements are not architectural. They too are just a list of requirements. While they seem in conflict with what corporate governance demands there is common ground and a proper technical solution that meets both sets of requirements is possible.

Missing pieces

Developers fear having their code hosted on a platform that they are not developing for. Mainframe developers would never countenance their COBOL code hosted on Windows, no Unix developer would accept their code hosted there either. Developers in Beijing find it hard to accept their code hosted in Bulgaria and managed from Boston. Add to this the numerous code pages and, perhaps, ASCII to EBCDIC conversion issues that would ensue.

Most developers these days use code analysis tools designed for the development platform they are using so this means keeping the code on that platform and that in turn means duplicating the code from the single repository back to the distributed platforms.

As I said at the beginning this question raises many interesting issues. None is more pressing than this though.

Neither of these positions, single repository versus multiple distributed repositories, takes into account is that the source code repository represents the collected intellectual property of the corporation. It is a business’ most valuable asset, far beyond the goods and services they provide, and this is why it has become the single target and focus of hostile foreign governments, unscrupulous competitors, disgruntled employees and organized crime.

Secure SDLC: the next standard in repositories.

In tomorrow’s repository the design needs to represent best practices in secure data management. Protection of the repository is of utmost importance. This means that our repository must have:

  • Single point of access control
  • Robust auditing
  • Encryption of artifacts
  • Tamper detection of artifacts, logs, audit trails, reports and the software itself

The ideal repository architecture

What makes the ideal repository architecture is neither single nor multiple repositories.

Here are the key ingredients and, as you will see, they satisfy all the corporate and all the developer needs:

  • Secure repository defended against exfiltration and infiltration of code
  • Process centric allowing enforcement of one (or many) development processes irrespective of platform and in support of all development methodologies
  • Secure, immutable logging and audit trails
  • Single point of user and tool administration
  • Artifacts stored on the platform of choice by developers
  • Artifacts backed up by native utilities optimized for that platform
  • High speed performance over LAN and WAN
  • High speed performance irrespective of the user load, irrespective of the size of the repository and irrespective volume of versions and changes being managed and tracked
  • Caching of a minimal amount of code as needed reducing duplication and limiting misuse

We call this a Single Virtual Repository.

From a management and administration point of view it appears as a single repository but, behind the scenes, the SCCM software manages all the artifacts in their respective locations on their respective platforms.

From a developer’s point of view their code is collocated with the team allowing for the fastest possible access. It also means that code analysis tools are able to execute on the code natively without duplicating the code. Each team can have their own, or a mandated process, as processes and access rules can be defined at a project or even an artifact level.

Central control but distributed data.

Why Serena

The world’s most advanced and successful Software Change and Configuration Management (SCCM) solutions are both from Serena.

For mainframe developers it is the legendary ChangeMan ZMF whose “develop anywhere – deploy anywhere” approach allows development on the mainframe or in Eclipse-based IDEs for deployment and execution on any of the mainframe platforms from z/OS to z/Linux to Unix System Services and Websphere Application Server.

In the distributed space the unrivaled technology is Dimensions CM which is used by the most advanced and technically savvy organizations in the world in defense, intelligence, finance, insurance, pharma and many more. Its exceptional abilities provide developers with sophisticated tools that drive development velocity and code quality.

Both ChangeMan ZMF and Dimensions CM are designed around the Single Virtual Repository giving developers and corporate governance teams exactly what they need.

And for enterprises whose development efforts extend across the mainframe/distributed divide Serena Release Control brings a Single Virtual repository across the platforms coordinating development and release activities with a single point of view and control into ChangeMan ZMF, Dimensions CM and some third party repositories.

Serena has, for more than three decades, led the field in SCCM. Those years of experience supporting the world’s most highly regulated large enterprises in their most complex development tasks give us a commanding lead in the design and implementation of source code repositories.

Don’t be fooled into seemingly inexpensive solutions that create sprawl and drag as performance slows over time. But also don’t be seduced by the seeming simplicity of one repository to “rule them all.”

A single virtual repository is the only solution that meets all the needs of developers and IT governance and Serena solutions are the only ones that offer that and that are ready today for a world driven towards the Secure SDLC.



In the next few weeks Serena is going to be announcing important new versions of our ALM, Release and Deploy solutions.

Ever since Serena’s CEO, Greg Hughes, introduced the concept of “Move Fast Without Breaking Things” at our User Conference in Washington DC in February, we have seen an overwhelming acknowledgement from our customers and partners that this is the perfect encapsulation of what modern application development and deployment means to them.

For Highly Regulated Large Enterprises (we call them “HRLEs”) software is developed in the most demanding environments in the world. With a myriad of technologies, a dispersed workforce, new compliance and regulatory demands every day, time-to-market time-frames often counted in hours and with every methodology possible driving velocity and every tech innovation driving disruption these organizations face a critical challenge. How exactly can you “Move Fast Without Breaking Things?”

This summer we will see how that is achieved in the “Summer of Speed” launches of four of Serena’s flagship solutions.

In June we will have the first of these launches with our Release and Deploy solutions. These solutions are anchor-technologies for your DevOps infrastructure and are essential for your Continuous Delivery initiatives. With release frequencies accelerating and deployments stacking up on the threshold of production, sophisticated IT organizations, like those you find in the HRLEs, demand exceptional solutions to meet the challenges. Come back here for more information on Serena Release Control and Serena Deployment Automation.

In July the launch of our latest ALM (Application [Development] Lifecycle Management) solutions will be revealed. HRLEs need deep visibility into the activities of the development teams and developers need advanced tools to optimize their development efforts. This summer will see the fruit of the continuous innovation from the Serena development teams that will bring to life reality of a common platform for all the developers in the organization whether they are Agile or Waterfall or anything in between, whether they are developing for mobile or mainframe, for teams of 2 to 2,000, collocated or dispersed across 6 continents. Dimensions RM for requirements management and Dimensions CM for configuration management have long set the standard in ALM. These two solutions have been updated to bring new meaning to visualization as both a way to organize and manage the software delivery process. Watch this space for more information on Dimensions RM and Dimensions CM coming this summer.

JenkinsAs the leader in deployment automation, Serena is a proud sponsor of the Jenkins User Conference 2015 World Tour. Come visit us at our booth and meet our experts in DevOps, CI/CD and enterprise release management.

Network Learn Explore @ the largest gathering of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery experts on the planet.

Want to tap the collective knowledge of a vibrant community of CI/CD practitioners? How about being able to network with other Agile and DevOps practitioners, just like yourself, looking to learn what others are doing across the software delivery process?

You can still sign up for the conference and ensure your spot.

Register for just $399 (US) / £399 (UK).

You’ll notice some exciting changes this year, including:

  • Event expands to two days* – that’s double the number of sessions, double the number of networking opportunities.
  • Opening keynote by Kohsuke Kawaguchi – Kohsuke is the original founder and creator of Jenkins.
  • Special keynote by Gene Kim at US East and US West – Gene is a multiple award-winning CTO, researcher and author of The Visible Ops Handbook and The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win.
  • Ask the Experts returns* – with expanded hours and more opportunities to ask your most pressing questions.
  • The Jenkins User Conference will run concurrently with CD Summit* in each region, giving attendees an opportunity to peek into the DevOps/IT management side of continuous delivery.
  • The two conferences will share common activities* such as an integrated partner exhibit area, meals and an evening event. Additionally, attendees for one conference can cross-attend sessions at the other conference, making JUC 2015 a two-for-one event.

* at US East, Europe and US West.

Tags: Serena