Guest blog from Kun LU, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director of Innovation Practice Center, School of Software Technology – Dalian University of Technology – China
When it comes to the Best DevOps Open Source Project, do you think it has anything to do with the IBM mainframe? Well, it does. Open Mainframe Project’s Zowe, the first open source project based on z/OS, was named as a one of the finalists for the “Best DevOps Open Source Project” category by Devops.com. Zowe is an open source software framework that provides solutions that allow development and operations teams to securely, manage, control, script and develop on the Mainframe like any other cloud platform. Leveraging the Zowe framework, we (DLUT) plan to develop and contribute a few tools to Zowe to help developers be more efficient, productive and agile in their daily work on z/OS.
We will work closely with IBM CSL CICS team and expect to deliver the following tools as Zowe plugins for CICS customers, first for the China market, in 3Q/4Q this year.
CICS Statistics Visualizer plugin
In the past, CICS health status check needs to be done manually by CICS experts who have profound CICS skills and experience. The workflow includes understanding the system design, configuring CICS statistics programs and collecting CICS statistics data from CICS sample region at service peak time by uploading statistics data and analyzing the data, and finally generating reports and diagrams. With CICS Statistics Visualizer plugin on Zowe Web UI, all the work can be done automatically. The plugin also supports statistics data comparison of a single region at different time intervals, which can largely simplify the work the customer used to do before to monitor and analyze the system, like CICS health status change after CICS upgrade or configuration change, the trend of system resource utilization over time etc. Furthermore, key CICS health indicators can also be queried by a simple shell command line through Zowe Command Line Interface (CLI).
CICS Liberty Debugging Assistant plugin
In the past, the customer needs to collect and store a list of debugging information from different storages and locations to troubleshoot a CICS Liberty problem. This includes CICS Job log from mainframe JES, JVM profile and Liberty configuration files, STDERR/STDOUT/JVMTRACE files and Liberty output files like messages.log, trace.log and ffdc from zFS, MVS system dump accompanying with JAVADUMP, SYSDUMP and CEEDUMP dumps depending on the problem. In addition, CICS trace level needs to be configured and Interactive Problem Control System (IPCS) must be used to format the unformatted dumps. With CICS Liberty Debugging Assistant plugin, all the debugging related configuration, debugging information collection and dump formatting can be done conveniently by one-click operation.
CICS Application CI/CD plugin
Nowadays, CI/CD is widely used in software development. More and more customers have increased demand on the z/OS development CI/CD to modernize the mainframe development, integrate with the distributed platform development, and assist the full stack developer to work with the mainframe services. Zowe acts a good platform to eliminate the operation gaps to enable the z/OS development CI/CD, which provides some plugins like CICS and DB2 plugins to help simplify the application development. As Git is widely being used for the distributed development, to centralize the code management, Zowe plugins (or cli) can be built for mainframe DevOps, like:
- Trigger the build automation and end to end test automation (e.g. online COBOL or batch COBOL)
- Trigger the env update when there is a CICS or DB2 configuration update
- Deploy update into the multiple environments